Per la libertà di movimento, per i diritti di cittadinanza

Leaving, again. Towards the bulgarian-turkish border

The new solidarity and monitoring project of the Collective Rotte Balcaniche Alto Vicentino

PH: Simone Zito

In a few days Collettivo Rotte Balcaniche Alto Vicentino will start a new three-month project of active solidarity and monitoring along the borders of Europe. “It’s time to leave again, once again, for freedom of movement, moving with people: to walk together along the tracks that lead to a dignified life, against and beyond the barbed wires of Fortress Europe,” says the Collective, which has now crossed the province of Vicenza and sees the participation of a lot of activists from all over northern Italy.

This summer it will go farther and farther, “following ‘the receding of frontiers“. “The new frontier to be reached will be the outermost border of the European Union, on the Bulgarian-Turkish border, which is referred to as “one of the key points in the European strategy of body control and border closure.”

After an initial voyage of exploration, the Collective writes that “the Bulgarian one is right now perhaps the toughest, most violent stretch of the European land route, a stretch that in the last year has returned to being crossed in a way not seen since 2015. In fact, it was the stories of people on the road, heard in Serbia and Bosnia, that led us into this territory: stories of push-backs, of cages, of dog bites, of shooting deaths. Moving us is a political tension to be present in contexts of increased repression and invisibilization, where formal organizations cannot act, where police violence continues unabated. A tension that drives us to chase an increasingly violent, sophisticated and distant frontier.”

At the Bulgarian-Turkish border, the activists will carry out practices and activities that are the result of field experience gained in previous solidarity initiatives in Bosnia at the border with Croatia and in Serbia at the border with Hungary: an action of concrete help to people who decide to continue the journey to Europe, providing the necessary materials to continue the “game” and the hygiene products that will be needed. The presence will also be aimed to collect testimonies and information on border violence and response to emergency situations.

“Until today,” they stress, “on the Bulgarian-Turkish border there has been a lack of structured monitoring of violence, analysis of police behavior and of the articulation of the border device. Over time, we have seen how this kind of work, carried out directly on the ground, can be useful – though certainly not sufficient – to ‘annoy’ the authorities and produce small achievements. So we will try, trying to give people the tools to self-report, with the support of some local associations and the network of activists and collectives that have been monitoring the other Balkan borders for years. And it is to pursue these projects that we need the help – including financial – of those who feel they share this collective path”.

Melting Pot Europe will be available to the Collective to publish news, first-hand accounts and reports on all that will be collected and documented. The appeal is to support this new summer initiative and to share what will be reported.

“Experience has taught us how much it is the solidarity relationships built along the routes that are themselves that trans-confined and anti-racist alliance, that fleeting world without borders that we struggle to affirm. But it also taught us how essential it is to mobilize the society, building communities of solidarity, to oppose a regime that makes the hierarchizing logic of the border its instrument of reproduction everywhere, from cities to factories, from the countryside to CPRs.

In the knowledge that we are doing a very small part, however, we feel the need to leave again, to bring our physical – “bodily” – presence to that point of conflict and condensation of contradictions that is the EU’s external border. To make visible what they want invisible, to listen to the voice of those they want silent. A presence in solidarity but determined and disobedient, unafraid to put at stake the privilege of which we are carriers, to continue to be seeds of another world and grains of sand in the gears of this system of death, even there, in the “red zones” of the border.

We believe it is important to remain on this front, even and especially when media attention is focused on something else, when “political cycles” would suggest “investing” elsewhere – ready then to weave lines of continuity and convergence between movements, bringing the point of view of the frontier.

We recognize, in fact, the value of staying and returning, over the years, of being consistent and patient in building widespread resistance, practices of solidarity and conflict; convinced that migration is one of the structural issues of our time, and the struggle for freedom of movement is today – and the chronicle proves it – a struggle for life that affects everyone.

For this – and everything else – we will continue to conspire to break down inescapable borders and to change irreversible histories. We will continue to open glimpses of opposition and possibility in the barbed wires of borders and normality”.

For information, please contact the Collective on its facebook page or by email at: [email protected]