Sunday, August 1

450 dying on hunger strike

You have to understand that no one puts their children on a boat unless the water is safer than the land.

Poem “Home” by Warsan Shire.

This July 24 years have passed since a tragedy that marked a before and after in our society: the murder by ETA of Michelangelo White. All the attacks were terrible, but here the terrorists activated a cruel countdown on the life of the young councilor of the PP of Ermua that none of us who lived will ever forget. I connect with the painful memory when I find out now that Almost 500 people have been on hunger strike in Brussels for almost two months to demand that they legalize their situation after decades of work without rights in the heart of Europe. And every minute that passes without regularizing them brings closer the fatal moment.

They are men and women distributed between the church of San Juan Bautista and two premises in the Free University of Brussels and its Flemish namesake who have, since May 23, 53 days, without eating food when, according to experts, the 60th is the threshold beyond which the consequences are irreversible until death.

It is a very serious case, it affects a huge number of people and it happens right here, on our continent. Why then does it occupy so little media, political and social attention? Some of the strikers even sewed their lips together. They have taken a needle and thread and stitch by stitch they have sewn their mouths together to get our attention. Imagine it. If you can take it see here lacerated Hasni Abderrazzek already Sofiane. Not because of those they managed to get us to react. At last they agreed to cut the strings. Drinking is the fine thread that leaves them alive. But it is not enough. It is not final.

Dr. Alain Devaux, from Doctors without Borders, warns that the strikers are entering a critical zone this week, with irreversible damage to the heart, kidneys and brain, and after this threshold, there will be deaths.

The powerful chronicle from Guillermo April for El País collects the on-site opinion of the doctor Alain Devaux, of the NGO Doctors of the World who already last week said: “We are entering a critical zone.” As he explained, after burning fat reserves, the body damages proteins and “irreversible destruction of organs such as the heart, kidneys and brain occurs.” “If they go further, there will be deaths.” He warned him a week ago, just before running to put strikers in ambulances heading to the emergency room because of how bad they were already.

But we do our thing: passing, desensitized. Will we attend undaunted to the deaths that are coming if the authorities do not apply the law and human rights?

The strikers are citizens, between 30 and 40 years old, who have been in Belgium on average for 7 years, there are more than 20 years. People who work and who, in fact, have placed at the head of the bunk beds where they agonize posters of: “I am a delivery man”, “I am a cleaner”, “I am a truck driver”, “I am a caregiver”. Jobs are not lacking, their hands are necessary. But as clandestines they suffer exploitation, neo-slavery, lack of rights.

The undocumented are making their hunger strike half an hour walk from the European Parliament and from a European Commission blind to the reality that these people have jobs but, without rights, they are masses of exploited neo-slaves on the continent.

Is this drama just a Belgian problem? The horror that has lasted for years in refugee camps and migrant detention centers on the EU borders in Greece, Italy and Spain can now be seen within half an hour’s walk from Parliament and the European Commission. It is not an isolated case, but the tip of the iceberg of a system that relies on the exploitation of those it considers sub-citizens. More serious still, sub-humans.

Arianne shahvisi, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex (UK), warned this week in a revealing article in the London Reviews Book that the new Borders Act that the British Government has brought to Parliament makes even the most altruistic aid to migrants a crime, even rescuing them from the sea “with penalties that increase from 14 years to perpetual” and warns that if citizens do not stop or we even disobey these laws we will have to admit that we would not have prevented the Holocaust. Britain follows the path of Denmark, which is a full member of the EU, in sending asylum seekers to so-called “safe” countries like Rwanda.

Does the European Commission envisage legal actions against Denmark for anti-migrant racism equivalent to those it now promotes against Hungary and Poland for their homophobic laws? It does not seem then, as denounced by the MEP of Anticapitalistas Miguel Urban in an act of support for the strikers in front of his church in Brussels, the Immigration and Asylum Pact 2020 “It does not favor regularization and removal from hiding, but rather to expel. “

The Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Immigration, Sammy mahdi, a Christian Democrat and today the executing arm of the system but himself the son of an Iraqi refugee, he never stops saying: “There will be no massive regularization”, “Continuing with the strike is useless”, “No one should give them false hope.” And then? Let them die? Will we do nothing to prevent it? Will their lives, salvageable, weigh on our consciences?

“Sans papiers lives matters” (The life of the undocumented matters), cries a huge banner in the transept of the church of the s. XVII, which hosted similar protests in 1998, 2008 and 2009. But, as evidenced by the express regularization this week in Spain of the two Senegalese who helped Samuel LuizThey only matter in cases of extreme heroism. Preferably if they benefit a target.

Media and citizens from all over the world pointed accusers at the Brussels neighborhoods with a migrant population after the attacks in Paris 2015 and Brussels 2016 because some of their perpetrators lived there, but now that half a thousand worthy and hard-working people, heroes and heroines of everyday life They implore that they be regularized in accordance with the law and human rights, going on a hunger strike and even licking their lips, we ignore them. Blind to the danger to all that comes with allowing the hunt against our sisters and brothers.

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