I am basically reposting on article from the news site Deutsche Welle, I have simply changed the title because it struck me every single one of these stories is about people, we should remember who they are, people who suffer and have suffered, not just a news article or statistic.
Author Kim Traill (Vienna)
Along with the link I have reposted the article here, as a few people in other countries where blocked from DW site and thus couldn't read the story.
I often browse the Deutsche Welle web site because I find their reporting often unique, informative opinion pieces and human stories such as this.
Austria forces Afghan refugees back to face war and terror
When Ali Rahimi arrived in Austria in September 2015, he was full of hope. Hope that he would be able to live in peace and learn to read and write. Since his deportation, he lives in constant fear for his life.
Until the moment he made it to Austria at the age of 16, Ali's short life had been filled with fear and struggle. He grew up afraid not only of the brutal Taliban in his hometown of Ghazni, south-west of Kabul, but also of violence at the hands of his own father, of beatings which had left him unable to concentrate and learn at school.
When Ali was just 11, his father dragged away him from his mother and siblings to Iran, where he was forced to work laying tiles. His father kept all his earnings. Living illegally in Iran, Ali — an ethnic Hazara — was a prisoner, "locked up like an animal." When he turned 16, his father took their money and returned to Afghanistan. Ali was left alone in Iran. It was 2015. Then he saw a glimpse of hope. Europe was opening its borders.
It took Ali a month to reach Austria. He applied for asylum at the Traiskirchen refugee reception center south of Vienna and immediately set about learning German. For the first time in his life, with "his head free from fear," Ali "realized he was not stupid" and began to read and write. He made friends. From Traiskirchen he was moved to a home for youths in Graz, where he was given art materials. He taught himself to draw and paint by watching YouTube videos.
Two of his works were hung in the manager's office.
A first setback
Ali's first big blow came in 2016, when his asylum application was rejected. But he "stayed strong" and continued to study German and draw. He joined a football team, learned to swim, dance, ski and ice skate, and was "certain he would be allowed to stay in Austria." He had an Austrian girlfriend, Anna, and they planned to marry. In March 2016, Ali held an exhibition of his artworks in Graz and by 2017 he had illustrated and published his first book: a children's story called "Vaiana und Maui — a small story about a great love."
Read more: Austria persists with relentless hard line on asylum-seekers
"I had so many plans for my book, and for more books," writes Ali in fluent German from Kabul. But in 2018, he received his second rejection. "My heart broke. I could no longer smile. I had no more chances. I had to leave Austria."
On the advice of a lawyer, Ali went to Germany and applied again for asylum in Munich. But there he was told he had to return to Austria. "I cried and begged them to give me a chance to stay and be an artist. But they put me into Schubhaft (detention pending deportation)." After one month incarcerated in Germany, Ali was sent back to Austria. Again he was locked up, this time near Graz. Each week, representatives from the organization Menschenrechte Österreich (Human Rights Austria) visited him. And each week they told him to sign a document agreeing to his return to Afghanistan. "They said that if I didn't, the police would deport me by force, and it would be better for me if I went voluntarily."
One week after signing, Ali was sent back to Afghanistan: from Graz, to Vienna, to Istanbul, to Kabul. It was July 2018. A representative from the International Organization for Migration told him he would receive €2,800 ($3,175) to help him settle and start a business. He got €500. At first he was sent to a hotel in Kabul, so dismal he contemplated killing himself. Then he managed to contact his mother, for the first time since he was 11. He could hear the fear in her voice when he said he would come to Ghazni, which had recently been taken over by the Taliban.
Pariahs in their own country
There was no way to see his mother and siblings without his father knowing. Ali was terrified, and with good reason. His father was beyond furious to find his son back in Afghanistan.
Afghan society for the most part believes that "only criminals are sent back from Europe." Those who return are seen as failures who have brought disgrace upon their families. "They think we are drinking alcohol, smoking, doing drugs," writes Ali. And to the fundamentalist Taliban, returnees from the decadent West are "infidels" and "enemies of Islam," who deserve nothing less than death.
For the first days Ali's father refused to say a single word to him. When Ali called him "Papa," his father beat him. "He said to me: 'I am not your father, you asshole, get out of my life you animal.'"
One night Ali's father tried to force him to take up a weapon against the Taliban, who, as Sunni Muslims despise the Shiite Hazara majority in Ghazni. Ali refused, and his father beat him again. When Ali fled to Kabul, his father beat his mother so badly she was hospitalized. And when Ali tried to return to bring his mother and siblings to safety, he was stopped outside Ghazni by a group of heavily armed Taliban. One Talib took his phone and discovered messages in German to Ali's friends in Austria. Again Ali was beaten and whipped with a belt, and his phone smashed. When he finally got home to rescue his mother, his father discovered him, beat him again and locked him up with their animals.
By November 2018, Ali knew he would not survive if he stayed in Afghanistan. He made his way to Nimroz province, in the south, and paid a smuggler to take him back to Iran where he found work laying tiles, again illegally. He worked 12 hours days, living in hiding, in fear. But still he drew and dreamed of Europe. For five months he saved, and made it as far as Istanbul. There he was imprisoned with 2,000 other young Afghans. Every day they were beaten by Turkish guards and after three months Ali was sent back to Afghanistan. He was now 21, and exhausted.
Read more: Refugees face cold wait in Austria
Ali is one of around 20,000 Afghans who have been sent back — either "voluntarily" or forcibly — to Afghanistan from the EU since 2015. Refugee rights activist Doro Blancke of Fairness Asyl says hundreds more young Afghans like Ali in Austria are now living in fear of deportation. Many are in hiding, traumatized and depressed.
"Europe says Afghanistan is safe," says Zaman Sultani from Amnesty International. "But ask if they would travel without an armored vehicle from their own embassy within Kabul, let alone in the provinces." Sultani says deportees cannot return to their home villages because of extreme levels of insecurity and fighting between Taliban, "Islamic State" forces and corrupt local commanders. The danger has escalated even further since the signing of the US-Taliban peace treaty in February, after which more than 5,000 Taliban prisoners were released.
Since his second return to Kabul in mid-2019, Ali has been accepted into an art school established by Robaba Mohammadi, a teenage girl who paints and draws using her mouth. He's learned to read and write in his native Dari, and has written his second book in German. But the anxiety never stops. In March, Robaba's studio and school were hit by a bomb. Two of his colleagues were seriously injured. "If the Taliban find out I am an artist," he writes, "they will cut off my head."
Austria forces Afghan refugees back to face war and terror
The devastation and now Genocide of the Kurd's in Syria
The devastation and now the attempted genocide of the Kurd's and Christians in Syria is indeed horrible, In all of this the world turns its back on innocent people but more importantly the children.
When is enough death enough?
The Kurd's have an expression
"no friend but the mountains"
Again and again tossed aside by their allies.
Click link above to read poem
Since the tragic news of the attack on Malala I have followed her from her recovery, to her outspoken passion for education and women’s rights especially in very repressive Countries. From the very first time I was able to listen to her, I said that this is a very special woman, yes it was intuition, but there you have it.
One can feel the sincerity in her voice, and she took hold of a personal tragic event and transformed into such a positive force to be reckoned with.
I have posted her recent speech in the Canadian Parliament, and one thing I noticed, in the audience, the pride of her parents seeing their daughter as a beacon of hope for all of humanity. They have every reason to be proud.
She is now an honorary citizen of Canada, only the sixth one to awarded this honor, and I am proud as a Canadian, she has been chosen.
I have posted a poem dedicated to her visit here in Canada this month as well as an old poem I had written in 2013.
You are Malala
You have no more reason for fear
For the world now holds you dear
Your humble voice, speaking of others
You too a pearl, adored by worldly mothers
Touching the spirit of kindred souls
You have shown our senior leaders
A child can lead even the elders
You have paved that way
Humble of heart
Joyous towards mankind
Your smile is infectious
I, a simple poet, applause you
You have infected me too!
You are Malala
I am Malala
From a small village
She wore a pink dress to look pretty
While she studied, the passion of knowledge
Her heart shines in her quest of learning
This child has the wisdom
Of eleven kingdoms
For this, they seek to destroy her
Talibani bombs to most seem strong
Only evil, attempts a child’s life
Only Angels saved her very soul
As she becomes a soldier
Of learning, a burning light
Is there a man to stand up to evil?
To shine a light upon heinous crimes?
Who of us has this will?
I ask you fourteen times, who will save us?
From a small village
They tried to send her to heaven
God sent us one angel back
So that may we learn yet again
The innocence of love
She has become the soul
She has become the princess
Of knowledge seekers
In candle light we may prey
That her heart shall remain and stay
So that we may learn and grow
And fight evil, by simply saying NO
They shot a child in the head
For going to school you should be dead
The world wept at this cowardly act
Who would save us from such evil deeds?
From a small village
With the wisdom of many Kings
A Princess with a heart of gold
Who has blessed us all
From velvet skies
A smile to behold
Please look at these numbers and think twice before you refuse Migrants a safe refuge. With all the fear mongering of politicians, you should be more afraid of your furniture than terrorists, however you should really fear your fellow Americans! Migrants are escaping from the real terrorists, if you are so kind as to accept them, we can only pray some American with a gun doesn't shoot them.
This my first blog post here, and as a poet I think I will touch on a few sensitive issues, however speaking out against what is so inherently wrong, for me, is what more of us should be doing. Its ok to have divergent opinions and different views, what is not ok is hate, fascism and fear mongering. It is this very thing that leads people to extremism. Ironic that people thinking using this tactic in the fight against Daesh will work. Hate is hate, not matter the side you think you are on. ( this is based on a poem by the same name.)
I am astounded at the rhetoric and vitriol expressions of hate and narrowed mindedness toward refugees and migrants of today. I am hearing this from people in positions of power as well as the average guy in the street. Migrants are Muslim Terrorists, Mexicans are all criminals, Africans are all thieves and on and on the diatribes go.
Yes, it seems Donald Trump has taken the banner of leadership for all the uneducated narrow minded fascists out there. He is promoting hatred and racism for his own benefit, and doing so by making blatant statements that are factually untrue. One should be truly ashamed of such actions although I am sure he is not. It’s of course not only Trump. Due to the USA election debates, we are seeing the true colors of a few contenders
(CNN)Chris Christie says the U.S. should not accept any new Syrian refugees, not even young orphans.
Christie on refugees: Not even 5-year-old orphans
So, I see, its five year olds we have to be worried about now? Well maybe Trump as plans to give them all a Gun for Christmas if they come here. Really? Is this compassion? People escaping the horrors of War, and to some extent one in which you play a role, and therefore have a responsibility too. This isn’t sad, this is sick. Creating fear amongst the population at the expense of orphaned children.
Now we also have the genius Scot Walker, the governor of Wisconsin. His idea? He stated, if we can build a wall along the Mexican border, we should consider building one along the Canadian border as well. Really Scot Walker? Ya think? I mean have you been having issues with drunk Canadian beavers sneaking over the borders at night? Are Canadian Moose crossing the border to live high off the hog? Are maybe a few leaves blowing over on to your side? If so we are truly sorry.
Now you would think a Governor of a Northern State would have a little more common sense on the issues but apparently not. He was jumping on the Trump wagon, fear fear fear!
I am not picking political sides, as it seems it’s the in thing in the western world for all parties to instill fear and dire warnings of doom and gloom, and yes all because of Migrants.
Hilary Clinton, now she said all the terrorists of 911 came from Canada. Really? Well ah no, wrong again. To this day she has never apologized for that. Some Migrants by the way are coming from Libya, you remember that country? Hilary ensured utter chaos there. When there was little need at the moment to interfere there, other than it was good “Optics” for an Arab Spring. I am not singling out the USA, all western nations play a role in bringing compassion and aide to people in need, Now usually for most of us, we close our eyes, well folks they be knocking on your doors now.
Now back to the big cheese, Donald Trumpet. He wants to deport all the illegal Mexicans and not let in any Syrian refugees. Such a softie with a kind heart that guy.
Plus a wall, to keep the rest out! Well I have some news for you Donald Trumpet.
More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S.Net Loss of 140,000 from 2009 to 2014; Family Reunification Top Reason for Return
Yes sir, maybe he should focus on truly making America great again, and well maybe, one does that by bringing in skilled people and people willing to work, not kicking them out.
Now, I am not saying open borders and just let everyone in. I think we have the resources to screen, and that we can certainly take up a share of the people so desperate to simply be able to work and live in peace. Surely, even we have so many issues at home, we can still lend a hand to those in far dire needs than our own?
I will close saying this, remember this, one day it could be you. How would you like to be treated?
Saudi Arabia Bans the adoption of Syrian Orphans, Do we wish to follow in their path?
We are all humans; do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Hi there, the blog has been running for almost a year, and as you can see I try to keep up a few posts a month. More about poetry and fellow poets, but also about current events, social issues as well as art and music. I look forward to any suggestions from readers and fellow poets!