anettes blog – on the road

refugees and migrants telling their stories


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Fra Libyen til Italien – hvor er biblioteket?

 

Migrantlejren på den italienske ø Sicilien

Det første Adane spørger efter, da han lander på Italiens kyst efter tre døgns livsfarlig sejlads i en overfyldt båd er et bibliotek. Adane er ung og migrant/flygtning fra Etiopien. Adane er forfatter og har fået udgivet to bøger i sit hjemland med digte og prosa, hans store interesse filosofi, og så er han ung og flygtning fra Etiopien.

Han satte ud fra Libyen sammen med 180 andre. I tre døgn sejlede de rundt på må og få, indtil et redningsskib samlede dem op. Først sagde Malta nej til at skibet måtte lande sin last af mennesker på øen. Senere fik det tilladelse af de italienske myndigheder til at sætte dem i land på øen Lampedusa. Derfra blev de bragt videre til Sicilien og overflyttet til en lejr i en mindre by på øen. Det havde været tre sande rædselsdøgn i en større træbåd på det vinterkolde hav. På et tidspunkt gik motoren i stå, men det lykkedes at få gang i den igen. Lettelsen var enorm, da redningsskibet endelig samlede dem op. Da er det mere end en uge siden, de satte ud fra Libyens kyst.

Han har selv mærket, hvordan

libyske fangevogtere og

kriminelle bander begår

overgreb.

Jeg får beskeden på Messenger fra Adane en morgen i starten af november:

-Miss. Nu er jeg i Italien.

Sidst jeg hørte fra ham, sad han et sted i Libyens hovedstad Tripoli. Adane var blot en blandt mange strandet under forfærdelige forhold i Libyen. Han har siddet i flere detentionscentre. Han har set og selv mærket, hvordan libyske fangevogtere og kriminelle bander og smuglere begår overgreb mod flygtningene. En gang imellem skriver han og spørger, om jeg har nogen nyheder fra havet. Jeg kan forstå på ham, at han sidder i venteposition til at komme med et smuglerskib over Middelhavet til Europa.

Et par dage efter at han er kommet til lejren på Sicilien, skriver han igen:

-Jeg kan ikke blive her. Det er langt ude på landet. Når jeg går på biblioteket, er der ingen bøger på engelsk. Alle bøgerne er på italiensk. Jeg er forvirret med al ting.

Vi diskuterer lidt hans muligheder. Jeg kender ikke meget til forholdene for migranter i Italien. Adane begynder at lære italiensk efter en app på sin telefon.

Så hører jeg ikke fra ham et stykke tid. Som med alle mine kontakter blandt flygtninge I Libyen tjekker jeg indimellem, om de har været online. At de stadig er i live for det er bestemt ikke sikkert i et land som Libyen. Forleden morgen lå en ny besked fra Adane.

-Jeg er kommet til Frankrig, skriver han. -Jeg er så glad. Nu har jeg gode muligheder for at læse franske filosoffer som Victor Hugo, Albert Camus, Rene Descartes, Roussos og alle de store russiske forfattere.

Adane er også uddannet elektriker og først og fremmest vil han bare gerne have et arbejde og asyl i Europa.

-Frankrig er et godt land. Selv her i Grenoble er der fire universiteter og store industriområder.
-Jeg er sikker på, jeg vil nå mine mål og få succes, skriver han.

En afrikaner samlede Adane op I sin bil, da han gik på landevejen. Manden bor i Grenoble, og Adane bor i øjeblikket hos ham.

Morgenen efter har Adane skrevet igen. Han kunne ikke blive boende hos sin afrikanske ven, så nu bor han på gaden.

Et par timer senere har han fundet ud af, hvor der serveres gratis mad, og hvor han kan få et bad og vasket sit tøj. Og han finder også et sted, hvor han kan bo nogen dage. Selvom han ikke kan lide tanken om ikke at kunne klare sig selv:

-Nu mangler jeg bare et sikkert sted at sove, skriver han. Bare jeg kan få asyl her i Frankrig, så kan jeg arbejde, studere og sove et sikkert sted. Det er kun lige nu, jeg er afhængig af hjælp. Så kan jeg skabe mit liv på min egen måde, skriver han.

 

 


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Where is the library – from Libya to Italy

 

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Migrantlejren på den italienske ø Sicilien

After his arrival from Libya to the Italian coast the first thing Adane asks for is a library. Adane is young and a migrant/refugee from Etiopia. He is a writer and he has had two books published in his homeland. Poems and short stories. And then Adane has one big passion: Philosophy.

Adane is a writer and the first thing he asks for when arrived to Italy is a library

A rescueship recently picked up him and 180 other refugees and migrants from the sea. Malta said no when the ship asked to go into the harbour. Italy agreed that the ship could land the many people on Lampedusa. From there they were taken to Sicily which brought Adane and the other rescued to a migrantcamp in a smaller village on Sicily.

-It was awful three days onboard the woddenboat in the icy cold Mediterranean, Adane writes. Suddenly the motor broke down, but luckily they succeeded in making it work again. When they spotted the rescue ship the 180 people on board the wooden boat was so relieved.

One morning in the beginning of November I get this message from Adane:

-Miss. Now I am in Italy.

It is about two weeks since I have heard from Adane. At that time I understood he was in Tripoli waiting for his turn to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. Adane is just one out of many who have been stranded under awful and inhuman conditions in Libya. He has been there for one and a half year, locked up in several detentions centers and he has experienced how the Libyan police and human smugglers are insulting the refugees with rape, torture and even murder. Once in a while he writes and asks if I have any news from the sea.

A couple of days after his arrival to the camp on Sicily he is writing again.

-I can not stay here. It is far out in the country and this willage only have a small library and there are no books in English. Only in Italian. I am confused about everything.

We discuss his possibilities. I do not know much about the conditions for migrants in Italy. Adane starts learning Italian from an app on his telephone.

And then I do not hear from Adane for a while. Like with all my contacts in Libya I sometimes look at Messenger to see if they have been online – if they have they must be alive a fact you can never be sure of in Libya. One morning there is a new message from Adane:

I am now in France, he writes. I am just so happy. Now I can read all the big French philosophers and writers like Camus, Victor Hugo, Sartre, Rene Descartes, Roussos and all the big Russian writers.

Adane is also an electrician and first of all he hopes for asyleum in France and a job. At the moment he is staying in an African friends house in Grenoble, but the next day, he writes that now he is living in the street. He could not stay on a in this friends house, whom he just met on his way from the French-Italian border to Grenoble. A few hours later he write that now he has found a house for refugees, where he can stay. At least for some days.

-France is a good country. Even here in Grenoble there are four universities and big industries. I am sure I will succeed and reach my goal, he writes.

-It is just now I need some help. A safe place to sleep, something to eat, a bath and a place to wash my clothes. Soon I will be able to manage on my own and I will create my life in my own way.

I have more with Adane about his life in Libya and his dreams for the future, written by himself.

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LEFT TO DEATH IN LIBYAS PRISON?

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FRAGMENT OF LIVES

This article is based on almost one year of chats, telephone calls and messages on WhatsApp and Messenger with refugees detained in Libyan prisons and detention centers.

Last summer I got to know David from Eritrea through a good friend in Athen and since then, we have had almost daily contact. David spent the last two years in different detention centers in Libya, not knowing when – if ever – he will get out again. Since autumn he has been in Zintan prison, as it seems, the worst of them all, located in the small town Zintan in the Libyan mountains, 150 km from Tripoli.

Apart from David there are 800 other refugees and migrants from Eritrea and Somalia in Zintan. Forgotten and desperate, always locked up behind thick walls without access to fresh air and sunshine and very little to eat. Within the last four month thirteen people have died in Zintan Prison, mainly because of tuberculosis. The sick are just left on their own, with no medical help. Left to die among the people still alive. TB is easily spread in the overcrowded prisons and detention center in Libya, and nobody knows, how many are infected.

Because of security all names and places have been changed

_____________________

 

One morning a message ticks in on WhatsApp. It is David, a refugee from Eritrea – the East African country, perhaps better known as Africa’s North Korea. The message is from Zintan prison, and it says:
-Today we are out in the sun. We are sitting outside. I did not get any sunshine or fresh air since 15/10 2017.

The date 15. of October 2017 David has mentioned for me a thousand times. That was the day when the dream of reaching safety in Europe forever ended. The day, when the soldiers captured him and brought him to one of the many detention centers in Libya. Centers placed in old prisons or big hangars with hundreds of refugees and migrants locked up, mainly due to EUs strict border policy. With hardly any or no access to fresh air, poor food, abuses from brutal Libyan police and guards and left with very little hope ever to get out again. The Libyan police accused David of entering the country illegally. In Eritrea he was working in the airport, until he escaped. His goal was Europe, where most Eritrean refugees obtain asylum because of the inhuman regime in Eritrea.

I got in contact with David through a good friend from Eritrea. One day I got a desperate message from Athen, where she and her three children have asylum. Her brother was trapped in a detention center in Libya. Sick and lonely. What can I do, she asked.

-All of us are ill, David writes:
-We never ever get any sunshine or fresh air and proteins. Only spaghetti cooked in salted water. Always spaghetti. We are hungry. We are freezing. We are suffering. Help us.
The messages are often and many, but today David and his inmates have been allowed to go outside. I ask him, if it means that they can go outside every day now?
-I don’t know, he replies.
After a few days I ask him again. If they are still allowed to go and enjoy the sun?
-Ha, ha, no, It was only one day. Now we are locked up in prison again, he writes, followed by a crying emoji.

A FAILED STATE

Being a citizen from Eritrea David is registered with UNHCR and officially under their protection. According to international laws he has the right to seek asylum in a safe country, but there is no such procedure in Libya. The country is a so-called failed state, lead by a weak government and different militias, among them ISIS. EU and Italy have made agreements with the Libyan government and the Libyan Coast Guard – and they pay lots of Euro — to keep refugees and migrants away from Europe.
The European countries have trained people from the Libyan Coast Guard and paid different equipment so that they will be able to stop more boats reaching Europe.

As a result of this policy David is on his second year in Libya. He is one of the few lucky ones, who still has his telephone and is able to communicate with the outside world. Normally the Libyans take peoples money and their telephone, when they arrest them. Up to now David has been able to hide the telephone, but he is terrified, if the guards discover it:
-If they find mine phone, they will arrest me, beat me and sell me for money, David tells me. He is very scared of being sold. CNN has documented, how migrants and refugees are sold on big markets for slaves in Libya.

Human Right Watch and Amnesty International have just documented in two reports, how human rights are constantly being violated in the detention centers in Libya. Centers managed by the Libyans, but financed by EU.
The 10. Juli 2018 Elijah, 26 years and from Sierra Leone tells Human Right Watch:
-This place is hell. They seem to be nice people, but they burn you with electricity. Three times they have beaten me, when they handed out food. They forced us to sit or stand up and look directly into the sun. When we protested, they beat us. They bring people to a particular room and beat them, they took me there, they tied my hands and then they beat me on the soles. A friend of mine got struck the face during beating.
Human Right Watch also writes, how the four detentions centers, they are allowed to visit are overcrowded, dirty and without sufficient medical assistance.
-We heard about bad and too little food and water in all the centers, it says in the rapport.

HELL ON EARTH

From friends on Facebook in Libya I hear desperate cry-outs.
-Help us.
-We die here.
-Libya is hell on earth.

Diseases are in the overcrowded and unhygienic centers: Scabies and tuberculosis.
-When people are going to die of TB, they are moved to another room, and we never see them again, David is writing on WhatsApp, his favorite app to write from as it is encrypted and should be secure.
-I am also afraid of getting it. People are spitting blood.

 

Noa is a trained veterinarian from Eritrea. He has been detained for nine month in a detention center in Tripoli. He is a calm guy with an overview, and he is the one, I am asking, if I need certain facts. He posts all the articles he can find on Facebook about the conditions for him and all the others in the detention centers of Libya. He just hope that one day the world and its citizens and politicians will open their eyes and release them. Six months ago he wrote on Messenger:
-Hi Madam, I am from Libya. I am living as a refugee in detention center. What we want from you is to expose the hidden and harsh life, we are passing, always we are locked up, like a prison.
Worried I ask him, if it won’t be dangerous for him to inform me about the life in the detention centers.
-Do not worry. I will send secretly. The only thing, they can do, is to jail me, and if most of the suffering people get freedom in sacrificing of me, it is a good luck for me, he responds.

Noa tells me about the many people infected with TB.
-And we all live together. The very sick and the ones who does not know, they are infected and the ones, who are not yet ill.

According to my sources only very few get treatment and medicine. And if they do get some medicine it is not followed up, when they run out of the pills.

I JUST RAN

Hassan from Somalia is a detainee in Zintan prison too:
-Everybody is sick here. I want to get away. I will escape as soon as possible, Hassan writes one night in January.
When I first got in contact with Hassan, he was hiding somewhere in Tripoli. Now and then he had a job loading cardboard on a truck. The small salary he spend on food. For a while I hear no words from him. Then one day he send me a message from Zintan prison. He has been caught by police, and he too is now in Zintan prison.

I do not know how he was caught. There are so many terribly stories. I do not get them all.

KIDNAPPED BY ISIS

During the two years David has stayed in Libya, he has been detained in several detention centers, but Zintan is the far worst. According to Noa, UNHCR or other NGO organizations rarely go to Zintan in the mountains, 150 kilometers from Tripoli. The ride is too dangerous. David is very angry with UNHCR. All the registered refugees in Libya feel that UNHCR are letting them down.
Where is the UNHCR? They are supposed to protect the refugees, he keeps asking me on Messenger.
David’s first detention center was out in the desert. One night ISIS came with a big truck and kidnapped 60 of the detainees, including David and his friends. The ISIS people ordered them on the truck, and when the local Libyan militia arrived, the ISIS people quickly drove into the desert with their load of human beings. While they were driving, three people fell off the truck and were killed.
Later a lot of tumultuous happened, and the prisoners succeeded in escaping. After walking for 150 kilometers in the desert they finally ended up in Tripoli.
In Tripoli they were arrested by the police and placed in a large hangar along with 1400 other refugees and migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. I met David first time, when he is in the hangar in Tripoli. The hangar was placed at the airport, and in autumn 2018 a fight broke out between different Libyan militias.

David tells me about the shootings round the hangar:
-This is dangerous. I am scared. We are all scared. We might die.
And he send me photos of bullet holes in the roof of the hangar. Finally they are evacuated. On big trucks they are taken the 150 kilometers from Tripoli to Zintan prison in the mountains.
-Now we are in a real prison, David tells me on WhatsApp after several days of silence.

WATER THREE TIMES A DAY

Noa sends me videos from the toilets in the detention center, where he is. I feel like vomiting. These are not toilets for human beings. There are six of them for 500 people.
-Now we tap our drinking water from a pipe at the toilet. There was another one, but it is broken, and nobody repairs it.
There is only running water three hours a day, and I figure out that the lavatories are only washed during these three hours. According to Noa FN’s migrations organization IOM and other ngo’s pay the Libyans money, so that they can fill the tanks with clean water.
-But those who receive the money, they only give us water three hours a day. There is nothing we can do. It will not be good to say anything to them. That is the way corruption is, he writes abandoned.

One day in December David tells me, how they are freezing. They have no blankets and is still wearing their summer clothes. I ask Noah if they have blankets, where he is.
-We have blankets….. Now……We did not have any, but we knew, UNHCR had been there with some. But the guards took them and locked them up in a depot for the purpose of taking them with home. When the war came in August, our guards disappeared, and we broke into the room and took the blankets. This is what happens, when UNHCR does not give the things to us, but to the Libyans. They steel it, he writes.

FAMILIES PAY
FOR FOOD

Noah produces another video showing, how they cook. I get it on WhatsApp. A young man is making bread on a pan using a gas burner. In some detention centers the detainees are served one or two spartan meals a day, a piece of bread in the morning and spaghetti in the evening. In other detention centers like where Noa is, the prisoners must pay the food themselves with the help from their families at home to send money.
-We have asked, if we can get food, but until now, they say that we have to pay ourselves, he tells me.

The boss of the detention center has a small shop, where they can buy flour – to very high prices, but the shop was closed immediately the day, when UNHCR came on one of their rare visits.
-Before they arrived, our boss told us, we were just to say positive things. But we were not allowed to say anything at all. During the visit he walked closely to them, and he closed his shop immediately, when they arrived, Noah write on Messenger.

According to the report of Human Right Watch EU is paying different NGO organizations in Libya money so that they can improve conditions in the camps. But the organizations are often ineffective and there are a lot of disagreements, even within the UN, the report says.

PLENTY OF EU-MONEY

By paying huge amount of euros to Libya EU and Italy have managed to stop most of the human traffic from Libya towards Europe. People though are still fleeing cruel dictators, wars, torture, hunger and no futures, so the number of refugees and migrants in the Libyan detention centers have increased according to Human Right Watch. In July 2018 there were between 8.000 and 10.000 detainees. In April the same year the amount was 5.200. Added to these numbers are the hundreds of thousands who live illegally in Libya, many in the hands of different militias or smuggler groups.

EU policy is to send everybody back home to their own countries. From January 2017 until November 2018 IOM, the UN organization of migration assisted more than 30,000 in returning back during the program “The volunteering humanitarian program.” But people who fled their countries because of politics can not just return home, where they risk prison and torture. Noa tells me:
-I left Eritrea in 2014. If they send me back to my country, they will put me into prison because of missing. And then they will send me to the military, and I will never get out again.
In 2014 he finished as a veterinary, but the regime forced him to work as a school teacher.
– I could not accept that. The salary of a teacher in Eritrea is very low. You can not live on these money. One months salary is what a pair of trousers costs. I decided to leave the country, first to Ethiopia, then Sudan and Libya.
What do you hope for the future?
-I hope to be evacuated. If I can’t, I will have to return to Ethiopia.

STRESS AND DESPERATION

The messages from Zintan get more and more confused and desperate. I can feel how Davids nerves slowly gets more strained:
-We are not OK, Madam. We are hungry. What are we going to do? We can evacuate to Eritrea, but we cannot go back to Eritrea, he writes.

Meanwhile Hassan succeeds in fleeing from the prison in Zintan.
-When I jumped the wall, the guards discovered me. I ran. They were not able to catch up with me. Then they sent their dogs after me. But even the dogs did not catch me. I am a very fast runner. If the soldiers would catch me…..if you saw, how they beat people. It is better to die. I ran towards a nearby forest. Then I walked for six hours, until I came to a small village, where I found a taxi. And now I am in Tripoli. I am very tired now and will just take a rest.

One night in January, a message arrives on my phone from a young girl from Somalia, too young to be in a place like Libya. I know her a little. We have been chatting before, and she is a bit shy. She wants to go to Europe. Her dream is to go to school, learn more, be educated, perhaps become a journalist one day. She left Somalia with some friends, and some of them are now in Europe. But tonight her message is not about sweet dreams for the future:

 

SUICIDE

-Three young men from Sudan have set themselves on fire. Here in the detention center where I am. Did you see the video, I posted today on Facebook? Nobody helps them. May Jesus help them, sister. They really need help.
On a video posted on her Facebook and recorded after the attempted suicide a man – badly injured and in great pain says:
-I want to commit suicide. There are no human rights in Libya. I just want to go to a free country and work, but the Libyans have taken my phone and my money.
I ask the next day, if the three men got medical help:
-I don’t know. They have disappeared. Police have arrested a lot of people, she replies.

Today early in the morning, at seven o’clock a message on my WhatsApp. From David, written in capital letters: WHERE IS UNHCR? WHERE IS UN? WHERE ARE HUMAN RIGHTS? REFUGEES ARE GOING TO DIE. OPEN YOUR EYES ALL OF YOU. THANKS FOR YOUR SLEEPING.

And another post the same day from an Eritrean humans right activist, who has gained asylum in Italy:
– 800 refugees from Eritrea and Somalia in Zintan are forgotten. They now die of various diseases, most of TB. Right now there are nine dead bodies in the same room as the living people. They ask for an immediate visit from UNHCR and evacuation.
David confirms that the nine dead corpses are still there. Within the last four months thirteen people have died.
Noah tells me, it is the usual thing with the Libyans just leaving the dead people.
-One of my classmates from Eritrea has just died in the prison of Zintan. Of TB. He has been sick for a long time and did not get any medication. I am very angry.
-Here in Tripoli we have ambulances. However if you do not go to a hospital, they just leave you to die. The Libyans do not care.

In 2018, the number of migrants arriving in Europe fell to 113.482 against 172,301 in 2017.


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I YEMENS HEMMELIGE FÆNGSLER

Alle billeder i artiklen har jeg fået lov at låne af Mona Relief Yemen. Website: monareliefye.org., hvor der også står, hvor eventuelle donationer kan sendes til.

 

Ibrahim smøger det ene bukseben op. Under knæet har han en bule på størrelse med et fugleæg. På venstre overarm er et stort rødt mærke. Ibrahim er torturoffer fra Yemen. Hele hans krop bærer mærker efter den tortur, han var udsat i fire måneder.

Det er ikke mere end fire uger siden, hans asylbegæring blev godkendt i Grækenland, og nu deler han og fem andre yeminitter en kælderlejlighed i det indre Athen.
Lige nu er Ibrahim mest optaget af, hvornår han får sit EU-pas, så han kan komme ud af Grækenland. Officielt giver det blå pas ham lov til at forlade asyllandet i fire måneder ad gangen. Drømmen er Tyskland, Sverige, et hvilket som helst land i EU, hvor han kan få sig et arbejde. Det frustrerer ham frygteligt at gå rundt her i Athen til ingen nytte. Hjemme i Yemen har hans familie ingenting, og allermest mangler de penge til at købe mad for. Oveni det hele har houthierne så også taget hans bror, og familien aner ikke, hvor han er. Formentlig som han selv: Forsvundet i et af deres hemmelige fængsler.

Bekymringerne står i kø i Ibrahims hoved under det tæt krøllede sorte hår. Vi har sat os på en bænk på Victoria Square midt i Athen. Ahmet sidder med på bænken. Han er også fra Yemen og vil oversætte fra arabisk til engelsk. Vi sidder lidt i tavshed. Der er en masse afghanere her. Victoria Square er deres samlingssted. Det har pladsen været siden mange hundreder strandede afghanere i marts 2016 slog sig ned her, da Makedonien pludselig lukkede sin grænse, og det ikke længere var muligt at rejse videre op gennem Europa.

Kvinder med løstsiddende tørklæder sidder og snakker på bænkene rundt om os. Mænd står i grupper under de forlængst afblomstrede japanske kirsebærtræer og børn leger, de heldigste på et løbehjul.
Ibrahim vil gerne fortælle sin historie. Af hensyn til familien hjemme i Yemen under anonymitet. Som yeminitterne er flest, er Ibrahim smilende og venlig.
DEN GLEMTE KRIG
-I thank you from the bottom of my heart, siger han og lægger højre hånd over hjertet for at vise sin taknemmelighed over, at jeg vil skrive om hans folks lidelser. Den glemte krig er krigen i Yemen blevet kaldt. Det er svært at få informationer ud af det lukkede land. Kun få journalister får lov at komme ind, og det lykkes ikke mange yeminitter at flygte ud.
Hvis krigen fortsætter, er 13 millioner mennesker i fare for at dø af sult inden for de kommende måneder, advarede FNs landekoordinator i Yemen, Lise Grande fornylig. Den største sultkatastrofe i verden i hundrede år lurer lige om hjørnet, ifølge FN.
En koalition af arabiske lande med Saudi Arabien i spidsen og USA, Storbritannien og Frankrig med på sidelinien begyndte i foråret 2015 massivt at bombe Yemen. Samtidig blokerede de landets lufthavne, havne og grænser, så hverken fødevarer, nødhjælp eller medicin kunne komme ind. Formålet var at bringe Yemens internationalt accepterede præsident, Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi tilbage til magten. Hadi har, siden han blev fordrevet fra Yemen af den anden part i krigen Houthierne, været i eksil i Saudi Arabien.
Houthierne kontrollerer hovedstaden Sana og de rigt befolkede provinser i nord og vest og er støttet af Iran. Krigen i Yemen er blevet et betændt stormagtsspil, der mest går ud over civilbefolkningen. Ind til nu har krigen kostet mindst 10.000 menneskeliv, måske langt flere. Fornylig bombede Saudi Arabien en bus fyldt med skolebørn. 25 børn blev dræbt. USA og Storbritannien sælger våben til Saudi Arabien. Senest har den amerikanske præsident Trump med henvisning til USA’s handel med saudierne for 1,9 mia dollar af blandt andet militært udstyr kviet sig ved at fordømme Saudi Arabiens drab på den saudiske journalist Jamal Khashoggi på landets konsulat i Istanbul. Og Saudi Arabien, Israel og USA med præsident Trump i spidsen vil gøre alt for at forpurre Irans stormagtsdrømme i Mellemøsten.

 

Imens forværres situationen dag for dag for civilbefolkningen i det i forvejen fattige Yemen. Intellektuelle yeminitter bosiddende i landet beretter på Facebook, hvordan landets valuta totalt er brudt sammen, og hvordan ingen har råd til at købe den mad, der trods alt er på markederne, fordi priserne bare stiger og stiger. I nogle landsbyer har folk ikke andet at spise end blade, forlyder det.

HOUTIERNE HENTER HAM

Mens skyggerne bliver lange i den lune oktoberaften og Victoria Square fyldes med flere og flere afghanere, fortæller Ibrahim om en anden aften, den 11. Juni 2016 i Yemens hovedstad Sana.
Han sidder med sin far, en onkel og sin fem år yngre bror i gården i familiens hus. Det er khadtid. Solen er ved at gå ned, og mændenes venstre kind buler ud af de eufrariserende blade. Jasmintræet sender sin vidunderlige duft ud i natten, og i køkkenet har kvinderne travlt. Deres latter høres ud i gården.
Pludselig bliver der hamret hårdt på porten, og der lyder høje råb udenfor. Mændene kikker på hinanden. De frygter det værste. En houti har den sidste tid ringet flere gange til Ibrahims far. Hvis ikke han hver måned betaler en løn til en af deres soldater, vil de komme og hente hans søn. Faren har været henholdende. Ibrahim har sagt nej. De skal ikke lade sig true af de forhadte houtier, mener han.
Porten bliver skubbet op, og ind træder fem houtikrigere.
-Hvem er Ibrahim? Hvor er Ibrahim, råber den forreste mand aggressivt, mens han løfter sit gevær og skyder op i luften. Tavst rejser Ibrahim sig og går hen mod mændene.
-Det er mig. Hvad vil I, spørger han.
Mændene griber ham og skubber ham brutalt foran sig ud gennem porten. I køkkenet har kvinderne hørt de høje råb fra gården. De skynder sig at tildække sig og løber ud i gården. Ibrahims mor når lige at få et sidste glimt af sin søn, før porten smækker i bag ham. Så kaster hun sig ned på gårdspladsen og jamrer højt.

 

 

Ude på vejen venter en bil. En houthikriger sidder ved rattet. Mændene binder Ibrahim for øjnene. Og de binder hans hænder på ryggen og skubber ham op på ladet af bilen. Han kan høre, hvordan flere mænd springer op ved siden af ham. Bilen sætter af med et drøn. De kører længe. Rebene snærer om hans håndled, og det varer ikke længe, før det gør forbandet ondt. Hver gang bilen bremser, bliver han forsvarsløst kastet rundt på ladet, fordi han intet kan se.
Efter et par timers kørsel bremser de pludseligt voldsomt op, og Ibrahim tager endnu en rutschetur. Krigerne skubber ham ned fra ladet, og med et hårdt greb fører de ham afsted. Først da de er i et stort rum, fjerner houthierne bindet for Ibrahims øjne. De kaster ham ned på gulvet. Det første han sanser er en masse øjne, der stirrer på ham. Mænd som han selv, hundreder af dem, fanger, liggende og siddende på det hårde stengulv. Væggene i det store rum er nøgne.
-Hver gang de torturerede mig, fik jeg bind for øjnene, fortæller han. Det foregik altid i et lille rum ved siden af det store. Hele tiden kunne vi høre skrig fra rummet. De ville have, jeg skulle sige ja til at kæmpe for dem, men det ville jeg ikke. De brugte elektricitet, og de kørte en barberkniv over min krop, og de slog med jernstænger og geværkolber.
Både Human Right Watch og Amnesty International har dokumenteret, hvordan begge sidder i krigen i Yemen torturerer deres fanger i hemmelige fængsler. Journalister, læger, advokater, aktivister, studenter og medlemmer af det religiøse Baha’i samfund fængsles vilkårligt, forsvinder og tortureres. Ifølge Human Right Watch har tidligere fængslede berettet om, hvordan Houthi officerer slog dem med jernstænger og trækøller. Og hvordan vagter piskede de fængslede, smed dem mod væggen og truede med at voldtage adem og deres familie. Den amerikanske TV station CNN har dokumenteret, at houthierne bruger børnesoldater, og ifølge nyhedsbureauet AP er amerikanske soldater involveret på regeringens side i afhøringer af fanger i Yemens hemmelige fængsler, hvor tortur også er ganske almindeligt.

ET BRÆKKET BEN

Ibrahim har ingen fornemmelse af, hvor ofte hans bødler kom og hentede ham. Timerne og dagene flød i et. Det han husker mest var smerten og frygten. Foruden arrene på kroppen er der depressionen og de humørsvingninger, jeg mærker efterhånden, som jeg lærer ham bedre at kende.
-De tog alle, der ikke ville slåes for dem. De tager drenge helt ned til tretten år, fortæller Ibrahim. Da jeg sidst snakkede med min far over Skype, havde de lige været i vores hus og hentet min bror. Han er kun atten år.
Vendepunktet for Ibrahim kom den dag under torturen, hvor bødlerne brækkede hans ben med en jernstang. Da kunne han ikke længere modstå smerten, og han sagde ja til at kæmpe for dem.
-Jeg sagde mest ja for at komme ud af fængslet, forklarer han og ser ned.
-Jeg tænkte, at det var min eneste chance for at slippe væk at sige ja. Vi blev kørt ud til en militærlejr i bjergene. De tog mig med, selv om jeg havde brækket benet. Houthierne er ligeglade med alt. Det eneste, de tænker på, er at have deres hænder på et gevær.
Kort tid efter de var ankommet til lejren, lykkedes det Ibrahim og et par andre at stikke af. De var heldige. De var velkendte med bjergene. Flugten foregik til fods, men på grund af det brækkede ben måtte hans venner bære ham det meste af vejen. Da de kom ned til en landevej, fik de stoppet en bil, og chaufføren gav dem et lift til byen Ibb et par hundrede kilometer væk.
Hele tiden døjede Ibrahim med frygtelige smerter i det brækkede ben, men han turde ikke opsøge et hospital, da houthierne kontrollerede hospitalerne i det område, hvor han var. En dag smed Saudi Arabien så en bombe fra et fly i byen Ibb, tæt på hvor Ibrahim befandt sig. En splint fra bomben borede sig ind i det brækkede ben tæt på bruddet.
Nu blev smerterne helt uudholdelige, og hans venner fik ham bragt til en hospitalsklinik i en mindre by.
To stykker træ
-De healede mig på den gammeldags måde med to stykker træ, som de surrede fast på benet med et reb, fortæller Ibrahim.
Saudi Arabiens blokade betyder blandt andet, at det er tæt på umuligt at skaffe medicin i visse dele af Yemen.
-Men for første gang fik jeg noget smertestillende, siger Ibrahim og bliver tavs, mens livet passerer forbi rundt om os. Det er også her på Victoria Square, at der handles falske pas. Og det er her unge afghanske drenge tilbyder deres krop for at tjene lidt penge. Selve tjenesteydelsen foregår i en nærliggende park. Ibrahim fortsætter:
Træstykkerne måtte han have på i halvanden måned. I al den tid kunne han ikke bevæge benet overhovedet.
-Jeg havde to beslutninger. Hvis jeg blev i Yemen, ville jeg dø. Houthierne ville finde mig og dræbe mig, fordi jeg var stukket af. Og jeg ville ikke dø. Hvis jeg gik med dem og sloges med dem, ville jeg være kriminel, så jeg havde ikke andet valg end at flygte ud af Yemen, siger Ibrahim om den flugt, der nu fulgte.

Det er meget svært for yeminitterne at komme ud af landet, fordi koalitionen med Saudi Arabien i spidsen har blokeret Yemens lufthavne, havne og grænser.
-Min eneste mulighed var at komme til Oman og så derfra til Iran, men vi kan ikke få et visa til Oman, og vi må derfor kun være i landet i tolv timer, fortæller Ibrahim om den nu forestående besværlige og farlig flugt.
Ibrahim er stadig sammen med de venner, han flygtede med fra houthierne militærlejr oppe i bjergene. De skal også ud af Yemen. Sammen finder de en taxa, der vil køre dem de små tredive kilometer tæt på grænsen til Oman.
-Der boede vi i et telt ude i ørkenen hos en kameldriver i fire måneder. Jeg havde stadig kæppene på det brækkede ben, og det gjorde stadig frygtelig ondt.
Imens de boede i ørkenen, fik Ibrahims far skaffet 3000 dollars til flybilletten til Iran, og så han kunne betale menneskesmuglerne videre til Europa. Så snart Ibrahim havde pengene, fløj han til Iran.
-Det var dårligt, fordi det er iran, der ødelægger mit land. Og så tager jeg bare til deres land, mener han.
Ibrahim havde ikke lyst til at blive i Iran, og efter en måned fortsatte han mod Tyrkiet, da han havde fundet nogen menneskesmuglere. Grænsen mellem Iran og Tyrkiet skulle de passere til fods. Det var over bjerge, men heldigvis var hans ben i mellemtiden blevet bedre. De var en stor gruppe på 50-60 flygtninge og migranter, som fulgtes ad over grænsen. De tyrkiske grænsevagter blev ved med at opdage dem og skyde efter dem:
-Det tog en måned at komme over, fordi vi måtte prøve mange gange. Hver gang der blev skudt efter os, måtte vi tilbage til smuglernes hus, fortæller Ibrahim.
Et arbejde
Den nat det endelig lykkedes, vandrede de i bjerge i femten timer, før de endelig var i Tyrkiet. Fra Tyrkiet tog han en smuglerbåd til den græske ø Lesbos, og nu er han så her i Athen.
-Jeg troede virkelig, at når jeg kom til Europa, ville jeg få et normalt liv og et arbejde, siger Ibrahim skuffet.
Indimellem er Ibrahim så deprimeret, at han bare vil tage tilbage til Yemen, også selv om han ved, det vil være lig med den visse død.
-Jeg vil bare gerne have et arbejde, men der er ikke noget arbejde at få her i Grækenland, gentager han. Inden vi skilles takker han mig igen “from the bottum of my heart.”


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In a Libya detentionscenter: Are we going to die here?


Desperate messages on Messenger and WhatsApp.
-Help us. Help us. What will happen to us?
The messages are from one of Libya’s many overcrowded detention centres in Tripoli. A couple of month ago a friend of mine in Athen contacted me. She was very worried, because it had come to her knowledge that her brother was in a Libyan detentioncenter, and thet he was seriously ill. I got into contact with some of his inmates, who spoke English. Because of security I can not bring any names or pictures, but this is some of our conversation. 
1400 people stopped into a large hangar. Only light they have seen for month is the artificial from neon tube in the hangars roof. Never any sun or a bit of fresh air.
-We are all sick. We lack the sun and air, one message says on my phone.
The food is poor and very little in the detentioncentre in Libya. There are days when they get nothing. On lucky days they get a bowl of beans for sharing between six men, in the morning maybe a loaf of bread. Drinking water is dirty. According to an article in the Irish Times, families have to send money for food for the intern, otherwise they will have nothing.

TUBERKOLOSIS 

The few toilets and showers in the hangar are filthy. Toilets often stopped. Tuberculosis spreads rapidly in the overcrowded hangar, but there is no medical treatment.
-We cannot deal with that here in Libya, the doctor says according to my source. The very sick are moved to another room to die.
Pictures on my WhatsApp: A lot of people lie or sit in a big room. They have to sleep in shifts because of lack of space. Photos of such thin people that it evokes reminiscences of images from the concentration camps during the Second World War. Pictures of injured people. Large open wounds and filthy home-cooked dressings.
I am thinking of the kind of untreated inflammation that I once experienced during a journey far out in the bush in Africa. Inflammation so bad that you die.
There are pictures of stopped toilets and flooded showers. And a video of Libyan guards throwing tear gas into the hangar against the many people, who are unable to get away. I also hear the shots.
One day the fans in the ceiling do not work. Outside there are almost forty degrees.
You want to see how hot here is? On my phones video camera I see a lot of sweaty brown bodies.
Sometimes there are battles around the hangar. Libyan militias fighting against each other.
-It is fierce war here. We are afraid. Long break, then a new message.
-Constantly shooting and there are big tanks with petrol right next to our hangar. I receive pictures of bullet holes in the ceiling of the hangar.
And then they are moved. To a village far away out in the desert. The messages are fewer.
-We are in prison now, one of my sources tells me and the connection is interrupted.

FORGOTTEN IN THE DESERT

I am thinking how a lot of people just might be forgotten there out in the wilderness. It is EU policy. They can just quietly die out there in the desert of Libya. People who have fleed war and cruel dictaktors. Fleed prison and torture in their own country. They are not criminals. In Europe refugees from Eritrea get asyleum – if they manage to get to Europe. Now they can die in a prison in Libya.
Thousands has been sitting for many months in various prisons and detention centres in Libya. The hope of ever being evacuated out of the so-called failed state dies slowly. Therefore they cry for help. Do not forget us. We are human beings too. They shout out. Every day I can hear it. When the messages arrive.
It is all EU policy. To prevent refugees and migrants from setting out against Europe in rickety boats, we made an agreement with Libya. We pay lots of money to the deeply corrupt Libyan coast guard so that they hold back Africans. I think European officials have been in Libya to show them how to catch desperate Africans. Instead they are put in Libyan detention centres. Without the prospect of ever escaping. If they are not sold on a Libyan slave market as documented by the American tv station CNN, and as my sources in the detention centre fear most. They even know what the price of a slave like themselves are sold for on the slavemarket there.
Many of the financial migrants are returned to the country from which they came. But these who fled of political reasons, they can not just go back to their country. The Eritrean refugees are under protection of UNHCR. As evidence of UNHCR protection, I see images of paper patches with an UNHCR number quickly written with ballpoint pen.
Now you are a protected refugee. You are under our protection, the number says.
-But where are UNHCR? We never see them, a message says.

SUICIDE

UNHCR’s work in Libya IS difficult.
One morning the Libyan guards leaves the hangar with 140 of the interned. They are put on a truck, and driven away. In the evening they are back in the hangar, a source write in a message.
A UNHCR staff working in Copenhagen tells me that it is almost impossible to evacuate people, even the most vulnerable, women and children. At the airport, the Libyans says that the plane will not depart today. Maybe tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.
Recently a 28-year-old man from Somalia committed suicide in one of the detention centers. He had just been told by UNHCR, that he had very few chances to be evacuated to a safe country, The Irish Times newspaper writes on the 25. October.
On the 17th October the UNHCR send a Tweet saying that 135 particularly vulnerable refugees were evacuated from one of Libya detention centres to a camp in Niger. The evacuees had spent many months in Libya’s Detention centres and was on arrival in Niger malnourished and sick.
Yesterday UNHCR in Libya send a Tweet saying that the Libyan coast guard had rescued 100 refugees and migrants of different nationalities from the Mediterranean Sea.
UNHCR was in place with food, water, dry clothes and medical care, the Tweet said. And the people were brought to one of the detentionscenters in Tripoli.
When will they get out again? Will they ever get out? The political situation does not seem to change – neither in Europe nor in Libya.
On the contrary, we are working in Europe and in Denmark for more numbers of such camps.


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Libyens detentionscentre: SKAL VI DØ HER – GLEMT I EN HANGAR I LIBYEN

Der tikker desperate beskeder ind på min Messenger og WhatsApp.
-Help us. Please help us. Hvad skal der ske med os?
Beskederne er fra et af Libyens mange overfyldte detentionscentre eller fængsler i Tripoli. En god ven i Athen har skrevet til mig, at hun har en bror i et af Libyens detentionscentre. Broren er syg, og hun er rigtig bekymret. Jeg får kontakt til nogen af hans medindsatte, som kan engelsk. Her er noget af en mere end to måneders korrespondance. Opdager de libyske vagter i centeret det, vil mine kilder være i stor fare. Hvilket jeg her er nød til at tage hensyn til. De fortæller bl.a.:
1400 mennesker stoppet ind i en stor hangar. Eneste lys, de har set i måneder, er det kunstige fra neonrørene i hangarens tag. Aldrig nogen sol eller en smule frisk luft.
-Vi er alle syge. Vi mangler sol og luft, lyder en besked.
Maden er sparsom. Der er dage, hvor de intet får. På heldige dage får de en skål bønner til deling mellem seks mand, om morgenen måske et brød. Drikkevandet er snavset. Ifølge en artikel i The Irish Times må familie sende penge til mad til deres pårørende i Libyens interneringslejre, ellers vil de intet få.
Hangarens få toiletter og brusebade er uhumske. Toiletterne ofte stoppede. Tuberkulose spreder sig hurtigt i de overfyldte centre, men der er ingen lægebehandling.
-Det kan vi ikke behandle her i Libyen, siger lægen blot ifølge min kilde. Når folk er syge nok, flyttes de til et nærliggende rum for at dø.
Der tikker billeder ind på WhatsApp: En masse mennesker ligger og sidder oven i hinanden i et stort rum. Hangaren. De sover på skift. Fotos af så tynde mennesker at det vækker mindelser om billeder fra koncentrationslejrene under anden verdenskrig. Billeder af sårede mennesker. Store åbne sår og beskidte hjemmelavede forbindinger.
Jeg tænker på den slags ubehandlet betændelse, som jeg engang så under en rejse langt ude i bushen i Afrika. Betændelse så slem at man dør.
Der kommer også billeder af stoppede toiletter og oversvømmede baderum. Og en video af libyske vagter, der smider tåregas ind i hangaren mod de mange mennesker, som ingen mulighed har for at komme væk. Jeg kan også høre skud på videoen.
En dag virker vifterne i loftet ikke. Uden for er der næsten fyrre grader. -Vil du se, hvor varmt her er? På telefonens videokamera ser jeg en masse svedige brune kroppe.
Indimellem er der kampe omkring hangaren. Libyske militser, der kæmper mod hinanden.
-Det er hård krig det her. Vi er bange. Lang pause. Så ny besked.
-De skyder hele tiden, og der står store benzintanke lige ved siden af hangaren – og jeg får tilsendt billeder af skudhuller i hangarens loft.
Og så bliver de flyttet. Til en landsby, 130 km fra Tripoli, langt ude i ørkenen. Beskederne bliver færre.
-Vi er i fængsel nu, lyder det og så afbrydes forbindelsen.
Jeg tænker på, hvordan en hel masse mennesker stille og roligt vil blive glemt derude i ørkenen. Det er EU politik. De kan få lov at dø i fængslet i landsbyen et sted i Libyens ørken. Mennesker, som blot er flygtet fra et land og et styre, der sætter folk i fængsel og torturerer dem. De har intet kriminelt gjort. I Europa får flygtninge fra Eritrea – de heldige, som når så langt – asyl.
Nu er de blot overladt til at dø i et andet fængsel.

 

EU politik

Tusinder har siddet mange måneder i forskellige fængsler og detentionscentre i Libyen. Håbet om nogensinde at blive evakueret ud af den såkaldt fejlslagne stat dør langsomt for mange. Derfor råber de om hjælp. Glem os ikke, råber de. Hver dag kan jeg høre det. Når beskederne kommer.
Det hele er EU politik. For at forhindre flygtninge og migranter i at sætte ud mod Europa i vakkelvorne både har vi indgået en aftale med Libyen. Vi betaler masser af penge til en dybt korrupt libysk kystvagt mod at den til gengæld holder afrikanerne tilbage. Vi har vist endda også været nede og uddanne dem i at fange desperate afrikanere. Istedet sættes de i libyske detentionscentre. Uden udsigt til nogen sinde at slippe ud igen. Hvis de altså ikke sælges på et libysk slavemarked som dokumenteret af den amerikanske tv station CNN, og som mine kilder I detentionscenteret frygter allermest. De ved endda, hvad prisen på et slavemarked er for sådan nogen som dem. Den største fare er, hvis de libyske vagter opdager, at de har en telefon. Kontakten til omverdenen.
Mange af de økonomiske migranter kan sendes tilbage til det land, de kom fra. Det kan de, som er flygtet af politiske grunde bare ikke. De, som kommer fra Eritrea, er under beskyttelse af UNHCR. Som bevis på UNHCRs beskyttelse kommer der billeder af papirlapper med UNHCR nummeret hurtigt nedskrevet med kuglepen.
Så er du sikret, flygtning. Så er du under vores beskyttelse, siger nummeret.
-Men hvor er UNHCR? Vi ser dem aldrig, står der i en besked.
UNHCR’s arbejde i Libyen ER svært. En morgen forlader de libyske vagter hangaren med 140 af de internerede. De bliver gennet op på ladet af en lastbil, og kørt væk. Om aftenen vender de tilbage.
En UNHCR medarbejder i København fortæller mig, at det næsten er umuligt at evakuere folk, selv de mest sårbare, kvinder og børn, som der satses mest på. I lufthavnen siger libyerne, at flyet alligevel ikke afgår i dag. Måske i morgen eller i overmorgen.

SELVMORD

Fornylig begik en 28-årig mand fra Somalia selvmord i et af detentionscentrene. Han havde netop fået at vide af UNHCR, at han havde meget få chancer for at blive evakueret til et sikkert land, skrev avisen The Irish Times den 25. oktober i år.
En solstrålehistorie: Den 17. oktober kan UNHCR på Twitter fortælle, at 135 særligt sårbare flygtninge er evakueret fra et af Libyens detentionscentre til en lejr i Niger. De evakuerede havde tilbragt mange måneder i Libyens detentionscentre og var ved ankomsten til Niger underernærede og syge.
Igår skrev UNHCR i Libyen på Twitter, at den libyske kystvagt havde reddet 100 flygtninge og migranter af forskellige nationaliteter ude på Middelhavet.
UNHCR var på plads med mad, vand, tørt tøj og lægehjælp, lød det i tweetet, – hvorefter de reddede formodentlig er bragt til et af detentionscentrene i Tripoli.
Om de nogensinde kommer ud igen, er der ingen, som ved. Den politiske situation ser ikke ud til at ændre sig – hverken i Europa eller Libyen.
Tværtimod arbejder vi i Europa og i Danmark for oprettelse af flere lejre I Nordafrika.