European Union Brexit negotiations parody song


This 12 February 2018 parody music video from Britain is called Barnier the Dinosaur – “I Love EU”.

“The European Union‘s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier now comes as a purple dinosaur.”

It is a parody of a song from the United States children’s TV show Barney & Friends. The original song is ‘I love you’, sung by the title character Barney, a purple Tyrannosaurus rex.

The lyrics are:

I love EU, EU love me
We’re the best economy
With a single market and customs union
We won’t miss Britain when they’re gone

I love EU, EU love me
We’re the biggest trade bloc, see
We’re a neoliberal Eurodisney park
Great Britain can get to fuck

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How European Union xenophobia kills Africans


This video says about itself:

The EU Silently Welcomes Slavery In Libya

1 December 2017

The European Union was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize “for over six decades [having] contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.”

At the same time, EU officials know that once refugees can’t make it to Europe—whether because they become enslaved in Libya or are too fearful to make the trip—they are no longer a problem for the Union.

Translated from Bram Vermeulen, Dutch NOS TV correspondent in Africa:

“You must forgive me”, words to never forget

Today, 09:36

The story of 2017 that stays with me the most was told to us on the floor of one of the ghettos in the caravan city of Agadez in Niger.

Thermo Amadou from Guinea and Diallo Mamdou Djulde told about the day when the Toyota Hilux left them and 23 others in the vast desert near the border between Niger and Libya. The driver had deviated from the route that smugglers have been using for decades between Agadez and the Libyan border.

On that route, since the beginning of the year, there are roadblocks and policemen trained by the European agency Eucap, which settled in Agadez to stop the migration to Europe. The consequence of this pressure from Brussels is that the smugglers now prefer the unpaved roads through the Sahara.

The driver of Amadou and his travel companion after a day of driving lacked petrol. In order to refuel he would drive back to the official route, but with 25 migrants in the trunk, he would certainly be arrested. So you wait here, he said. “I’ll be right back.”

Most of them got out of the trunk. Thermo Amadou remained seated. Until Pappi, the muscular Congolese persuaded him to trust the driver. “Otherwise we will all die here.” The driver never came back. They waited for him a full day.

Then they started walking. With two jerry cans containing 5 liters of water, connected to a rope that he had wrapped around his neck. Back to Agadez. Following the tracks of the Toyota Hilux. On the seventh day the Senegalese Pap Djah gave up. “Leave me behind here”, he begged the others. They had already carried him forward on his shoulders for a day. “Il faut me pardonner”, he said. “You must forgive me.”

Thermo Amadou had never forgotten those words. “Il faut me pardonner”. He sat on a stone in Agadez’s ghetto, and Diallo sat next to him with hollow eyes. They were crying. They walked nine days to tell this story. Two others did not survive the journey on foot. They buried them in the Sahara sand.

While I listened to their story together with colleague and cameraman Sven Torfinn, I told myself to never forget those words of the Senegalese Pap Djah. Every time migration from Africa to Europe is discussed again by policymakers, angry tweeps, and opinion makers at the talk show tables far from Agadez. Those apologetic words from the Senegalese minutes before his death. “Il faut me pardonner”.

European Union helps torturing refugees in Libya


This video says about itself:

Libya’s slave trade – ‘They sell Africans over there’

28 November 2017

The world’s most vulnerable, fleeing war and poverty back home, are being abused and auctioned off as slaves – a shocking danger facing migrants and refugees in Libya.

It has been reported that hundreds of people are being auctioned in modern day slave markets in Libya for as little as $400.

Libya is the main transit hub for refugees and migrants attempting to reach southern Europe by sea. They are coming from countries like Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Senegal, Sudan and Somalia.

The power vacuum in Libya after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi has made human trafficking and people smuggling a booming trade.

And the European Union’s renewed strategy to stop migrants and refugees travelling across the Mediterranean has led to more people being stuck in the north African country without money or food.

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith reports.

By Alex Lantier:

Amnesty International report exposes EU role in mass torture of refugees in Libya

13 December 2017

In order to keep masses of refugees from reaching Europe, the European Union (EU) is helping build, fund and equip a vast network of prison camps in which refugees are arbitrarily detained, beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted, sold into slavery and murdered. This is the conclusion of a harrowing Amnesty International (AI) report published yesterday, titled “Libya’s Dark Web of Collusion.”

The horrific abuses detailed in the AI report are already well known. Protests erupted in North Africa, France and worldwide last month, after CNN broadcast videos of human traffickers selling refugees into slavery in Libya. However, AI’s extensively documented report, based on government documents and dozens of interviews with refugees, underscores not only the vast scope of this barbaric prison system, but the key role of EU technical and financial support.

Moreover, while the AI report says very little about NATO’s 2011 war in Libya, it makes clear that the origins of this prison system lie in the wave of imperialist wars across the Middle East and Africa and the ensuing global refugee crisis. The people-smugglers that operate prison camps in Libya are mostly militias that NATO backed against Gaddafi during the war, and that took power after NATO destroyed the Gaddafi regime.

This is a devastating indictment of the pundits, academics and pseudo left parties like France’s New Anti-capitalist Party or the International Socialist Organization in the United States that hailed the war in Libya as a humanitarian intervention to aid a democratic revolution. While they claimed that imperialist war would bring democracy and freedom to Libya, it brought slavery, rape and murder.

According to International Organization on Migration (IOM) statistics cited by AI, at least 416,556 refugees were trapped in Libya in September 2017. Of these, over 60 percent are from sub-Saharan Africa, 32 percent are from North Africa, and 7 percent from Asia and the Middle East. The EU is working with militias and criminal gangs to keep them in Libya.

The strategy was codified in the February 2017 Malta Declaration, in which the EU endorsed and vowed to support Italian cooperation with Libyan authorities against refugees. This involved funding, training and arming border guards and the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) to block refugee departures, and “upgrading and financing” so-called “reception centres” where refugees captured by the LCG are detained. Also, AI notes, the EU has “struck deals with Libyan local authorities and the leaders of tribes and armed groups—to encourage them to stop the smuggling of people.”

As a result, AI notes, refugee departures from Libya are collapsing: “In the first semester of 2017 a total of 83,754 people had reached Italy by sea, a significant increase over the same period in 2016, when 70,222 arrivals were recorded. However, the trend then changed dramatically: between July and November 2017 a total of 33,288 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy, 67 percent fewer than in the same period of 2016, when 102,786 arrived.”

With EU assistance, tens of thousands of refugees are being thrown into prison camps where they are subjected to beatings, torture and murder. Currently, AI writes, “about 20,000 refugees and migrants are detained in centres normally managed by the General Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM)”, an EU-funded branch of the Libyan Interior Ministry. As Libya does not have a functioning judicial system since Gaddafi’s overthrow, AI adds, refugees are “deprived of any formal administrative or judicial means of challenging their detention.”

AI cites testimony from many refugees who escaped to Italy from camps in Libya. Mariam from Eritrea said the guards “were hard; they were drunk all the time. Then one day there were four Somalis who tried to escape. The Eritrean smugglers told us they killed them, three of them; the fourth [was] in the hospital.

“Then they beat the rest of the Somalis. [They were] getting tortured; you could hear the screaming. They used electricity and beat them with Kalashnikov [rifles].”

Samir from Sudan described how he escaped from the DCIM’s Nasser detention center, but his friends did not and were sold into debt bondage: “The electricity was out and there was no water, so they took us outside to gather water. Me and two other friends—we ran; they shot after us but we were fast. … The other three were bailed out by the Sudanese man and they have to work to pay off 4,500 Libyan dinars to the factory owner.”

Ousman from Gambia described a DCIM detention center in Tripoli: “I saw many people dying in prison, either because they fell sick or were beaten … Guards were Libyan—they used to beat everybody, without a reason. Before entering the prison, police search you and take away all money, phone, everything.” He added, “I saw one boy in the prison—they gave him a phone to call his family, and they beat him with a metal stick while [he was] on the phone, on arms and everywhere…after five months I escaped with other people, but the guards started shooting and many were killed. I don’t now how many were killed, but I saw some falling and screaming.”

Mohamed, a Bangladeshi steelworker living in Libya, said: “A group of Libyans came in the shop one day and said they had work for us. Three of us went with them. There were three of them. We got in the car with them. They told me to put my head down, and not look; they became aggressive. They took us to a place, next to a factory. When they took us inside, there were about 500 people, it was one big place filled with people. … They beat me with a metal rod; it broke my fingers [he showed deformed fingers on his right hand]. I have problems with my right leg also and my shoulder because of the beating. One guy was beaten to death in front of my eyes. I stayed there for 20 days. I then paid 2,000 US dollars to get out; my friends managed to collect the money.”

The NATO war in Libya and the country’s ensuing collapse into a bloody civil war are searing lessons in the reactionary role of imperialism. The EU’s foreign policy has emerged from the Libyan war completely criminalized, using the most barbaric methods to deny refugees’ right to asylum. The EU is complicit in the torture of refugees not only in that it provides support to DCIM to operate its semi-official prison camps in Libya; EU naval aid to train and arm the LCG, as well as deals cut with various regional or local militias that control prison facilities, also play a key role.

AI explains, “The LCG’s increased capacity, due to support from EU member states, has led to an increasing number of such pull-back operations. So far in 2017, 19,452 people have been intercepted by LCG and taken back to Libya. When the LCG intercept boats at sea, they bring refugees and migrants back to Libyan shores and routinely transfer them to DCIM detention centres.”

AI singled out a particular deal between Italy, the former colonial power, and influential warlord Khalifa Haftar: “Italian government representatives also discussed measures to reduce irregular migratory movements with Khalifa Haftar, the head of the self-styled Libyan National Army, which controls the east of the country. Haftar visited Italy on 26 September 2017 to meet with the Italian Ministers of Interior and Defence.”

Militarism and crackdown on refugees dominate EU summit: here.

Libyan slavery and the European Union


This video says about itself:

The EU Silently Welcomes Slavery In Libya

1 December 2017

The European Union was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize “for over six decades [having] contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.”

At the same time, EU officials know that once refugees can’t make it to Europe—whether because they become enslaved in Libya or are too fearful to make the trip—they are no longer a problem for the Union.

The European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) held a joint summit November 29-30 in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. The meeting was overshadowed by the unfolding disaster caused by imperialist wars in Libya and the Sahel region, and escalating neo-colonial interventions of the EU powers, particularly France. It brought together leaders of 50 African and European countries to concentrate on EU plans to block immigration from Africa and, without saying it openly, to undermine China’s growing influence in the continent. In the lead-up to the summit, protests erupted across Africa and in France against the barbaric treatment of African refugees by the Islamist militias controlling Libya, where CNN filmed the operations of slave markets that have re-appeared since the 2011 NATO war. After these protests, African regimes withdrew their diplomats from Tripoli. The reappearance of slavery expresses the political essence of European imperialism’s neo-colonial intervention in Africa: here.

33,000 refugees, killed by ‘fortress Europe’, named


This video from Germany says about itself:

30 June 2016

The artist Banu Cennetoğlu explores the political, social and cultural dimension of the production, representation and distribution of knowledge and asks how it feeds into a society’s collective thought and becomes part of its ideology. Cennetoğlu has participated in major international exhibitions such as the 10th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea; at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009) she and Ahmet Öğüt represented Turkey.

She is represented at the 13th Fellbach Triennial of Small-Scale Sculpture (2016) and currently guest of the DAAD artist programme in Berlin.

The free-lance critic and curator Vasif Kortun is known as one of the most important critical voices in the discourse on Turkey’s radically changing cultural politics. He has organized numerous international exhibitions focussing on art production in Turkey, for example the 3rd and 9th international Istanbul Biennale (1992 and 2005) as well as the Turkish pavilions at the São Paulo Biennale (1994 and 1998) and at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007).

By Dietmar Henning in Germany:

Artist lists names of fortress Europe’s 33,000 refugee victims

18 November 2017

Artist Banu Cennetoğlu has published a list with the names of 33,293 asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who have died since 1993 while fleeing to Europe or in connection with Europe’s refugee policies.

The 48-page list was enclosed in the November 9 edition of the Berlin-based newspaper Tagesspiegel. As part of Berlin’s autumn salon at the Maxim Gorky Theatre, pages from the list will be posted on advertising pillars in the centre of the city.

Cennetoğlu said the list exposes only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, many more people have died while fleeing, including those who drowned in the Mediterranean. “The List” documents what could be compiled from available data, wrote Tagesspiegel. The data is based on work by the European network United for Intercultural Action.

November 9 was deliberately chosen as the publication date, Tagesspiegel explained in a comment, because in Germany it is a day laden with history. This date is connected with the 1918 revolution, which was suppressed by the Social Democratic Party, the failed putsch by Hitler and Ludendorff in Munich in 1923, the Nazis’ pogrom against the Jews in 1938, known as Kristallnacht, and the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Born in Ankara in 1970, Banu Cennetoğlu is an internationally successful artist. Her work concentrates mainly on the collection, archiving and publishing of books and newspapers. Giving a place for and names to the countless victims of Europe’s refugee policy has been a part of her work for several years.

In cooperation with Cennetoğlu, the Greek newspaper Ta Nea published in 2007 a list of 8,855 deaths. In 2010, a poster campaign for “The List” organized by the Kunsthalle Basel included the names of 13,284 victims.

Cennetoğlu emphasised that this is not about her or the names. This list is not a work of art, and the publication is not an artistic act, she said. “It is what it is,” she added. She insisted on only one condition: the list cannot be published in part, but only as a whole.

Behind every name there is a human tragedy. Most have drowned in the Mediterranean. Others died in refugee camps, including by committing suicide “with a few shoelaces out of fear of being rejected and sent back home” (Mikhail Bognarchuk from Ukraine in deportation detention). The scale of hopelessness outmatches all power of imagination, added Cennetoğlu.

Tribute is also paid to the 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who drowned in the Mediterranean near the Turkish city of Bodrum while fleeing Syria on September 2, 2015. The heart-wrenching pictures of the dead boy lying face down in the sand on a beach shocked people around the world. They cast a grim light on the desperate dramas playing out on Europe’s borders.

“It is horrifying how the refugee catastrophe meets with general acceptance,” said the artist. It is not a major priority on the political agenda, she added. If it were a natural disaster, things would be different.

Behind each name on the list there is therefore also an indictment: an indictment of the wars waged by the US and its allies, which are the main reason why millions have been forced to flee their homes.

The decades-long wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Mali, Somalia and Syria, to name only the most important, transformed these countries into a hell on earth. More than 65 million people have been forced to flee from wars and unbearable living conditions.

The European Union member states have responded and continue to respond to the wave of refugees exclusively with suppression and deterrence. They erect barbed wire fences, build mass camps and mobilize police to keep the desperate people away, and in so doing condemn thousands to certain death.

Every name on the list is also an indictment of the “Fortress Europe” established by Europe’s governments.

Only a tiny minority of the world’s 65 million refugees have sought to reach Europe. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 153,355 people have reached Europe across the Mediterranean so far this year, and almost 3,000 have drowned in the process or are missing.

The Mediterranean remains a mass grave for refugees. Supported by the EU, Italy has concluded a similar deal with the various warlords and rulers in Libya as the EU did with the authoritarian regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Refugees are thus prevented from traveling to Europe.

Italy has supplied the Libyan coastguard with patrol boats, helicopters, specialized vehicles, communications gear and other equipment with which they will attempt to prevent boats carrying refugees from leaving Libyan territorial waters. The coastguard has murdered refugees on the high seas and attacked human rights organizations because they wanted to assist refugees.

Since this past summer, hardly any private sea rescue services are operating. Italy forced human rights organizations to sign a code of conduct that included the acceptance of armed police and Frontex officers on their ships. Many organizations, including “Doctors Without Borders” and “Save the Children,” refused and suspended their sea rescue services. Other aid organizations were taken to court on the basis of accusations of assisting smugglers.

The EU boasts that it has destroyed smuggler networks in Libya. Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti claimed in May, “The people who arrive in Italy have put themselves in the hands of brutal human traffickers. We are merely saving them from this fate.”

… In reality, the former smuggler groups are earning more money by preventing refugees from traveling than they did from organizing flight. Italy and the EU pay more than the desperate refugees.

The refugees being held back from traveling to Europe live under inhumane conditions. In Libya alone some 700,000 people are being detained. They are systematically abused, raped and executed at random. Those who cannot pay their guards are often killed or starved to death. Others are sold at modern slave markets in Tripoli—women as sex slaves and men as slave labor.

Joanne Liu, the president of Doctors without Borders, who was in Libya in the late summer, described in an open letter the way refugees are dealt with there. She wrote of a “flourishing business of kidnappings, torture and blackmail,” and accused the EU of being jointly responsible for this. The price for declining numbers of arrivals in Europe is “rapes, torture and enslavement by criminals,” she declared.

The thousands who die in Africa on the way to the Mediterranean coast or in Libya itself are not included in the list collated by Banu Cennetoğlu. They remain nameless.

European President Donald Tusk against refugees in eastern Europe: here.

Don’t send refugees to Libyan torture jails, United Nations says


This Doctors Without Borders video says about itself:

5 Reasons Not to Trap Migrants & Refugees in Libya

13 September 2017

People who’ve left their homes searching for safety and a better life are being detained, imprisoned, tortured, raped, starved, and sold into slavery in Libya.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 14 November 2017:

UN: sending refugees back to Libya is inhuman

The United Nations refugee organization UNHCR has strongly criticized the European Union policy to assist the Libyan Coast Guard in intercepting boats with refugees.

There is not one Libyan Coast Guard, as there is not one Libyan government. There are at least three governments, each with their own armed gangs, killing each other’s gangsters and civilians. Some of them call themselves ‘the coast guard’. Some are paid by European Union taxpayers’ money, some by Italian taxpayers’ money, some by British taxpayers’ money, etc.

Human rights chief Zeid calls the way in which the refugees are detained in Libyan prisons inhuman and an insult to the conscience of humanity. He says that the situation has deteriorated considerably in recent times. “It was bad, but now it is catastrophic.”

In February, the EU signed an agreement with the government in Libya.

In exchange for around € 200 million, the Libyan Coast Guard must intercept ships in the Mediterranean and return them to land. The fact that the agreement does not contribute to the well-being of refugees has already been concluded by aid organizations, including Médecins Sans Frontières.

Emaciated

Employees of the UNHCR were in Libya last week. They spoke to people who were detained in Tripoli. “They were shocked by what they saw,” said Zeid. “Thousands of emaciated and traumatized men, women and children piled up on each other, trapped in hangars without access to the most basic provisions and stripped of their human dignity.”

According to the Libyan authorities, almost 20,000 refugees are now in prison. The UNHCR points out that they have no possibility to challenge their imprisonment and say they do not receive legal assistance. “Everything the EU has done so far has not helped to reduce abuses.”

This June 2017 video is called Rescued African migrants say they are fleeing slavery.