Roma refugee from dangerous Kosovo writes book

Nizaqete Bislimi (Source: DuMont Verlag / Franz Brück)

By Elisabeth Zimmermann in Germany:

From Roma refugee to attorney in Germany: Nizaqete Bislimi’s Durch die Wand (“Through the Wall”)

18 November 2015

In her book Durch die Wand (“Through the Wall”), Roma author Nizaqete Bislimi describes her difficult flight from Kosovo, the hardship and insecurity of life as a refugee in Germany, the harassment by authorities and the readiness to help of private volunteers and initiatives. Despite numerous obstacles, Bislimi, now 36, successfully completed school, studied law and now works as an attorney in Essen, Germany specializing in immigration law.

For the past two years, Bislimi has served as chair of the Federal Association of Roma. In light of the continuous attacks on refugees and the right to asylum, her book is highly relevant.

Nizaqete was 14 years old when she fled the village of Hallaç i Vogël south of Pristina, Kosovo with her mother, two sisters and two brothers in 1993. Her father’s family had lived there for several generations. She left behind the safety and security of a large family with its own house and garden where she spent a happy childhood.

They left because of the “increasingly heated tensions between the Albanian and the Serbian population in Kosovo.” Bislimi writes, “We fled from the spectre of a looming war which, though we could not exactly imagine it, we knew would affect us first.”

Her father could not accompany the family. He had just been drafted into the Serbian army and was forced to surrender his papers.

Bislimi describes in detail her experiences with the German authorities: the endless waiting in offices, the constant fear of rejection and deportation, the inhumane housing conditions and the bureaucratic and financial hurdles that stood in the way of her education.

She writes about the sentiments behind the slogan “the boat is full,” which characterized the official debates on the right to asylum in Germany in 1993 and, in the same year, led to a drastic tightening of asylum laws. Relatives advised the family not to apply for asylum as Roma or Ashkali (another ethnic cultural minority in [Kosovo and] Albania). They only stood a chance if they identified themselves as Albanians fleeing from Serb violence.

At first, the six-person family was housed in a cramped cabin without locks on a ship in the … Rhine. To secure the door at night, they pushed one of their bunks in front of it before going to sleep.

Food rationing presented another problem. “One of the first difficult experiences for us was the unusual German food,” writes Bislimi. “The pre-cooked food was delivered and handed out in metal containers and almost all of it hurt our stomachs and made us sick.”

The asylum process was an inhumane procedure. Again and again, Bislimi’s mother and all her children boarded the morning bus to their local branch of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees where they spent the entire day waiting on cold chairs to be interrogated, have their fingerprints taken and have their applications processed.

“At the agency, there was no room set aside for children and we couldn’t go outside to play. There was nothing left for us to do but sit there and watch the clock while its hands went in circles. It was a scenario that would be repeated again and again for the next fourteen years of my life: waiting for someone to make a decision about my life without the possibility of influencing him or her myself.”

The Bislimi family’s next accommodations were former army barracks where entire families were assigned to one room. Despite the difficult conditions, friendships were forged. Families helped each other as much as they could.

Eventually, the family moved into refugee housing on the outskirts of Oberhausen in the Ruhr area in western Germany. They lived for months in this shanty town in a room no bigger than two by four meters, equipped with three sets of bunk beds, metal lockers and a small table with two chairs. Six single men lived in the room across from them. The few showers and toilets were run down and no amount of cleaning would solve the problem of burnt-on or dried dirt, mold and cockroaches.

After the initial shock, the Bislimis tried to make the best of their situation. During the day, they dismantled the bed frames and combined the mattresses to make seating areas. A curtain on the door protected them from all too prying eyes. With the junk on hand and gifts from fellow housemates, their room was somehow made livable.

Three months after submitting their asylum application, the family was notified that they were temporarily approved and would not be deported, but would still be obliged to leave the country. Bislimi writes: “This document meant that on any day we could be deported without warning. Our resident status in Germany was also highly uncertain and every evening before going to sleep we asked ourselves if this would be our last night.”

These uncertain conditions would continue for 13 years.

Nizaqete and her sister, who had been good students in Kosovo, were sent to secondary school in Oberhausen. Thanks to their own efforts and the energetic help of supporters who looked after refugees in the barracks, they finally succeeded in overcoming all the obstacles that lay before them.

In the summer of 1994, her living situation also improved. A separate housing unit of 24 square meters, with its own bath and kitchen, in a container village near the noisy A3 highway was now considered “lovely.” At a welcoming party in the new accommodations, Nizaqete met a German couple who would be an indispensable help to her in the coming years of harassment from immigration authorities and in her fight for a secure resident status.

As she dealt with the constant threat of deportation, Nizaqete decided she wanted to become an attorney. Almost insurmountable obstacles were placed in her way.

A Unicef study from 2010 is cited in the book, which indicates that access to education and social participation for the children of refugee families in Germany is severely limited. For decades, children of Roma and Sinti families were almost automatically referred to special education schools. In eight out of 16 German states at the beginning of 2005, compulsory education did not apply to children who were the subject of asylum proceedings or who had been authorized to live in Germany. Only in 2010 did schooling become obligatory for them in all of Germany.

Adding to their problems in Germany and their fears of deportation, Bislimi’s family worried about their father and other relatives in Kosovo. Her mother, most of all, lived in constant fear. “Refugee policy in Germany makes people sick in body and soul,” writes Bislimi. “I once heard the expression ‘death on the installment plan’ and found it very fitting.”

The family had to extend their short-term permits in a nerve-racking procedure every three months, sometimes every month. Vocational counsellors and public officials told Nizaqete that according to her permit, she could neither train nor study. She should just marry. There was no other chance for her. Finally, she simply enrolled at the Ruhr University in Bochum and completed her studies successfully. However, she did not receive support under the Federal Training Assistance Act or any other state funding. She paid for her studies with part-time jobs.

Following the successful completion of her first state examinations, Bislimi began work as a junior lawyer in the Higher Regional Court in Hamm. After 13 years, immigration authorities finally granted her a residence permit in June 2006.

Bislimi’s book is also critical of Nato’s military interventions in Kosovo, in which Germany also took part. Nato air strikes on Serbian positions in Kosovo triggered the humanitarian catastrophe, she writes. And after the war, when Kosovo was effectively partitioned off from Serbia, the problems facing ethnic minorities increased. “We heard terrifying stories from home. There was talk of pogroms that took place before the eyes of Nato soldiers, and talk of rapes and forced evictions.” Many of Bislimi’s relatives were killed.

In the last chapter of her book, Bislimi describes how Germany and the European Union pressure the Balkan states to take in refugees. Countries like Serbia, Macedonia and other states would only be granted visa facilitation if they would commit to repatriation agreements.

The living conditions of Roma are devastating. Close to a third of the 600 Roma settlements in Serbia have no water supply and 70 percent are not connected to a sewage system. The infant mortality rate among the Roma is four times higher than the national average. The average life expectancy of Roma women is 48 years.

Bislimi’s Durch die Wand provides numerous facts about the brutality of German asylum and immigration policies that have recently shown their ugly face again. With the tightening of asylum laws and the classification of Kosovo as a “secure third country,” people like Bislimi will no longer have the chance to stay in Germany.

The account of her family’s painful experiences is moving. It deserves a large readership.

British racists abuse Paris murders for violent crimes

This 16 November 2015 video from Scotland is called Attack on Methil takeaway workers caught on CCTV.

By Will Stone in Britain:

Arrests follow Paris ‘revenge‘ attacks

Tuesday 17th November 2015

COPPERS have made a string of arrests following a spate of racist incidents sparked by the Paris terror attacks.

Takeaway owners in Scotland were violently attacked by a 15-strong mob in the early hours of Sunday.

Mohammed Khalid, 53, and his wife, who own the Caspian Fast Food outlet in Methil, Fife, were set upon by vengeful yobs as they were shutting shop.

The couple say they were subjected to racist abuse and their attackers repeatedly referenced the Paris shootings and Islamic State (Isis) terrorism as they carried out the attack.

Mr Khalid needed hospital treatment for a serious eye injury while his wife suffered minor injuries.

Their daughter Shama Khalid posted CCTV footage of the attack on Facebook, saying: “This is so upsetting.

“I hope no-one has to witness anything like this ever. My poor parents. They spent all their lives trying to protect us from things like this, only to become victims themselves.”

She said her dad had spent more than 12 hours in hospital.

Police Scotland have charged two men, aged 35 and 17, over the incident.

In a separate incident, a woman was arrested on Sunday after she said those from the “Islamic faith” were no longer welcome at her salon in Bicester, Oxfordshire.

A post on Blinks of Bicester’s Facebook account said the salon is “no longer taking bookings from anyone from the Islamic faith whether you are UK granted with passport or not.

“Sorry but time to put my country first.”

The 43-year-old was cuffed by Thames Valley police following complaints about the “racially offensive” comments.

By Sabby Dhalu in Britain:

A-knee-jerk response is the last thing we need

Tuesday 17th November 2015

In the wake of the abhorrent Paris terror attacks we must guard against the stoking of hatred against those seeking refuge from war and destruction, writes SABBY DHALU

THE terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut were chilling, and the first response of the anti-racist movement is solidarity and sympathy with all those affected.

However, the anti-racist movement is now sadly accustomed to the other responses that come fast in the wake of every terrorist attack.

Usually this is two-fold — a clampdown on civil liberties by the state particularly targeting Muslim communities, and a rise in anti-Muslim hate crime on the streets.

In this case, it is threefold: also moves by governments to make still more wars (which, by the way, make still more refugees and cause still more terrorism).

The Paris attacks have added a new dimension to this. Even though some of those responsible for the attack have been identified as French nationals, stories spread like wildfire that the perpetrators of the attack had entered France as refugees.

This prompted a knee-jerk response by politicians to “close or strengthen the borders.”

This year Europe has experienced the biggest migration of refugees since the second world war.

That said, less than one million refugees are expected to arrive in the whole of the EU by the end of this year.

Turkey has taken two million refugees, and Lebanon — a country approximately the size of Cornwall — has taken over one million refugees.

Less than one million across 28 of the world’s richest countries in the EU is not a lot by comparison.

What is described as a “crisis” is only a crisis because of the refusal by the majority of EU countries to take a fair proportion of refugees.

Instead we see an inhumane approach to people fleeing war, terrorism, climate change and poverty — refugees are left without proper shelter, warmth, sanitation and food.

“Fortress Europe” has emerged, with barbed wire fences erected, a breakdown of the Schengen agreement (which brought in passport-free movement across most of the EU’s internal borders) and often bare-faced racism and Islamophobia — for example Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban saying Muslim refugees threaten Christian Europe.

After the second world war and the horrors of the Holocaust, the whole world said: “Never again.”

Yet today European governments are busy conceding to far-right and fascist parties on refugee policy and the response to terrorism.

France itself is one of the most notable examples, with support for the Front National topping the polls this year at 30 per cent.

The Paris attacks now give European politicians a convenient excuse to pursue the course they were already taking regarding refugees, but one which will do nothing to combat terrorism.

Austerity and the resulting fall in living standards not seen since the 19th century means that refugees are the latest scapegoats and distraction.

False arguments counterposing investment in social housing and reducing homelessness with providing help for refugees have already been advanced over the last few months. Now the threat of terrorism has been added to this anti-refugee narrative.

This ignores the fact that the refugees arriving in Europe are fleeing the same terrorists that carried out the Paris attacks.

At the same time all Muslims are scapegoated for the actions of a tiny number who kill and murder in the name of Islam, despite the overwhelming condemnation of such attacks by Muslims in general.

Muslims are always portrayed as the perpetrators of terrorism, despite the fact that globally they are the main victims of Islamic State (Isis) and al-Qaida terrorists.

This Islamophobic narrative leads directly to an increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes.

According to the West London Muslim Cultural Centre, just the day after the Paris attacks a Muslim woman was attacked with a glass bottle.

Blaming all white people for Anders Breivik’s 2011 attacks in Norway would seem ridiculous, but this is exactly what happens when terrorist attacks occur in the name of Islam.

Indeed, terrorist attacks committed by white racists are often played down, treated as “lone wolf” attacks and not a widespread phenomenon.

For example, in April 2013, one month before Lee Rigby was murdered, 82-year-old pensioner Mohammed Saleem was murdered by a Ukrainian fascist.

This fascist went on to bomb mosques in the West Midlands and became known as “The Tipton Bomber.”

The victims were Muslim. The perpetrator was white. However these incidents did not receive anywhere near the level of coverage as Rigby’s murder.

The media fails to make the link between Breivik and other European fascist groups, despite their high levels of electoral support across Europe, whereas correctly Isis or al-Qaida attacks are always linked to one another.

The government will use the Paris attacks to justify the forthcoming Extremism Bill. A draft Bill has not yet been published, but we can expect the biggest clampdown on civil liberties we have ever seen, mainly directed at the Muslim communities for whom David Cameron has already said obeying the law will not be taken as proof of rejection of “extremism.”

Moreover, the loose definition of “extremism,” which the government itself struggles to define, means all those on the centre-left and left who disagree with government policy could be targeted.

This is on top of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act which includes measures such as imposing a legal duty on schools and other education institutions to implement Prevent, to “stop youngsters being drawn into extremism,” but which in reality will leave innocent young children and their families feeling persecuted.

An objective assessment of Prevent and various legislation must consider that such measures, compounded by a rise in Islamophobic attacks — the majority of which are on Muslim women — are actually counter-productive in eradicating extremism and instead contribute to a sense of isolation and the feeling that Western liberal democracies do not care for their Muslim citizens.

Instead, the response should be to take on the concerns of the Muslim population, act against hate crime, recognise Muslims themselves are the main victims of terrorism and take our fair share of the refugees fleeing the sort of attacks we saw in Paris and Beirut last week. This would challenge the narrative used by those like Isis and al-Qaida rather than feed it.

Sabby Dhalu is Stand up to Racism organiser and Unite Against Fascism joint secretary.

Stand up to Racism has organised a public meeting in Parliament in response to the Paris attacks and to discuss the implications of the Extremism Bill on Thursday November 26 at 7pm, Committee Room 10, Parliament.

Syria: If Cameron wanted to fight the terrorists he wouldn’t be worried about a Russian veto — after all, Russia is now working with France. His aims are more sinister: here.

Cameron decides UN can’t stop his lust for destruction. BRITAIN could begin bombing Syria without the support of the UN security council, David Cameron declared yesterday. In a statement to Parliament about the Paris terror attacks, the Prime Minister signalled his intention to call a second vote on RAF air strikes in Syria after MPs scuppered his drive to war last August: here.

President Barack Obama is accusing Republicans who oppose allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. of being scared of widows and orphans. He says the political posturing “needs to stop.” … He says rhetoric like that is a potential recruitment tool for the Islamic State group. “I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate,” he said: here.

Don’t abuse ISIS terror for xenophobia against refugees from ISIS

This video from the USA says about itself:

Over Twenty Governors Reject Syrian Refugees Fleeing ISIS

16 November 2015

Here in the United States our reactions to terrorism are oftentimes unfortunate. Several states are closing themselves to Syrian refugees out of fear of ISIS. The sad thing is that ISIS is the very group the refugees are fleeing. Cenk Uygur, host of the The Young Turks, breaks it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“As of Monday afternoon, 23 governors had issued statements saying they would bar Syrian refugees from settling in their states, citing fears that violent extremists will masquerade as refugees in order to gain entry to the United States.

Legally, these proclamations have little effect; states don’t have the authority to bar refugees from settling within their borders. But that hasn’t stopped governors from issuing statements. The growing list of states that will not accept Syrian refugees currently includes Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Twenty-two of those states are led by Republican governors. Just one, New Hampshire, has a Democratic governor, Maggie Hassan.”*

Read more here.

Islamophobia seen as US states shun Syrian refugees: here.

Paris attacks: United Nations urges states not to demonise refugees. “We are deeply disturbed by language that demonises refugees as a group. This is dangerous as it will contribute to xenophobia and fear”: here.

Paris attacks: Isis responsible for more Muslim victims than western deaths. International organisations have documented multiple instances of Isis killing Muslims: here.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Amnesty: Refugees no threat to the European Union

Tuesday 17th November 2015

Labour: We must stand with both French and Syrian victims of Isis

CAMPAIGNERS and politicians warned Europe’s leaders yesterday against knee-jerk, anti-refugee reactions to the Paris massacre after France demanded an end to the EU’s open internal borders.

Labour refugee policy spokeswoman Yvette Cooper told Parliament that Britain must “continue to give sanctuary to those fleeing barbarism.”

But France confirmed early yesterday that, following the Islamic State (Isis) attacks in its capital, it would call for border controls to be reinstated across the European Union at a summit this Friday.

“Europe faces two urgent challenges. The first … is terrorism. The second … is an increased number of refugees and asylum-seekers on its borders,” said Amnesty International Europe director John Dalhuisen.

“They are not the same challenge and only one of them is a threat.

“European leaders must be careful to distinguish between them and be clear that Europe’s security is not best served by turning its back on a global refugee crisis, but by ensuring the orderly, organised and humane admission of those fleeing similar horrors.”

Diplomats have confirmed to the press that France will demand a suspension of the Schengen agreement, which allows people to travel across European countries without identity checks.

The measure will be proposed at an emergency summit of European Union interior ministers in Brussels.

During Home Office questions in Westminster, Ms Cooper told Home Secretary Theresa May that “many of the Syrian refugees that Britain expects to help over the coming months are fleeing exactly the same Isis brutality that we saw so terribly on the streets of Paris this weekend.

“Would she agree with me that as we stand in solidarity with Paris it’s important both that we strengthen our security against such barbarism, but also that we continue to give sanctuary to those fleeing that barbarism, so that we ensure that those terrorists cannot win?”

Her concerns were echoed by some Conservative MPs. Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew asked Ms May for assurance that the government would take steps to guard against Islamophobic reactions to the Paris killings.

His request came after Ukip deputy chair for welfare Suzanne Evans implied on Twitter that the Paris attack had been a by-product of the migrant crisis.

She faced a backlash on social media, with users accusing her of “making capital about tragedy.”

Mr Dalhuisen said: “Now is also the time for world leaders to show true statesmanship and refuse to bow to the conflated anti-refugee rhetoric which is already emanating from some quarters.

“We have to remember that many of those trying to gain sanctuary have fled violence, fear and conflict, and indeed often by the very same group known as the Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq.”

Paris attacks: Hating refugees is exactly what Isis wants you to do. Perhaps one of the most persuasive arguments against equating refugees with terrorists is simple: It’s exactly what Isis wants: here.

This November 2015 video from Arnhem in the Netherlands is about Syrian refugee musicians, who had to leave their instruments behind, playing a benefit concert for other refugees with new instruments they received in Arnhem.

Europe anti-refugee rhetoric swells after Paris attacks: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Refugees are human too

Tuesday 17th November 2015

Those seeking safety in Europe are fleeing the same terrorists who struck in Paris on Friday. We must not turn our backs on them

A FEW short days after the horrific scenes in Paris the risk is growing that this atrocity will claim more innocent victims.

But it carries a heavy cost for the families forced to flee Syria. Isis is their enemy too.

We know with chilling certainty what they are trying to escape, because it visited itself upon Paris so savagely last week. Then the killers targeted football fans, people enjoying a night out, people at a rock concert.

At the weekend more evidence of Isis cruelty emerged, as Kurdish forces uncovered mass graves in recently liberated Sinjar. One contained the bodies of 78 elderly women. The other was the last resting place of over 50 men, women and children.

We don’t know what these people were doing when they were killed, but like the victims in Paris we can be sure these were not fighters on a battlefield.

Most probably they were slaughtered for who they were: Sinjar is a predominantly Yazidi city. We know from Isis’s conquest of Mosul and other Iraqi cities that hundreds of Shia prisoners were tied up and murdered, that massacring the innocent is standard practice for the terror group.

This is what has been unleashed in Syria and Iraq, with the assistance of Turkey and Saudi Arabia and the connivance of Western governments so determined on regime change that they ignore the nature of the rebel armies doing their dirty work.

That millions then flee for their lives is natural.

The desperate bids to keep refugees out of Europe have lethal consequences, whether that means the drowned children washed up on beaches or the families who, unable to get out, are left at the mercy of groups like Isis.

It would be heartless to close our doors to people who need for our help to save their lives and those of their children, whatever the danger they were fleeing.

But in the case of refugees from the Middle East, where country after country has been torn apart as a result of decisions made in Western capitals, it would also be a failure to take responsibility for a crisis of our own making.

Already at the weekend the governors of Alabama and Michigan in the United States declared that in the wake of the Paris killings their states would not allow any Syrian refugees in.

The stance is being echoed by senior figures in the Republican Party over there, although Barack Obama is resisting the trend.

It seems almost pointless to call on Britain’s government to do the decent thing here, since David Cameron’s response to the refugee crisis so far has been pitiful in any case: 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years is the token effort of a man who does not care.

But we should remind MPs that slamming the door shut doesn’t help. As President Francois Hollande said yesterday: “We know it is cruel but French people killed other French people on Friday.” Just as eight years ago when terror struck London three of the four perpetrators were British-born.

Hollande’s stated priority of working together with Russia and the United States on a joint strategy to crush Isis is welcome and overdue. In the meantime we should extend our solidarity to those forced to flee and welcome them with open arms.

DAVID CAMERON admitted yesterday that British bombs won’t bring peace to Syria: here.

Paris attacks: Video showing ‘London Muslims celebrating terror attacks’ is fake. The footage actually shows British Pakistanis celebrating a cricket victory in 2009: here.

Syrian passport found near dead Paris bomber almost certainly fake: here.

Egyptian police kill Sudanese refugees

This video says about itself:

Police forces break up a demonstration against austerity measures in Sudan

7 July 2012

Hundreds of Sudanese protesters have been forced to abandon demonstrations against the President Omar al-Bashir and the government’s tough austerity measures, as police fired volleys of teargas at them in Khartoum.

After killing refugees in Turkey … after refugee killing in Bulgaria … after Egyptian police killed terrorists … whoops-a-daisy, tourists

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Police kill 15 trying to cross border into Israel

Monday 16th November 2015

EGYPTIAN police killed 15 Sudanese refugees trying to cross the border into Israel yesterday and wounded eight more.

Police opened fire on the migrants after they ignored warning shots and sprinted toward the border fence in the north of the Sinai Peninsula.

Most of the wounded were in serious condition after they suffered wounds to the chest and stomach.

The incident took place at a crossing about 12 miles south of Rafah on the border with the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.

It was also the deadliest incident involving Sudanese citizens since the 2005 clearance of a Cairo refugee camp.

There are more than 45,000 African refugees in Israel, including many from Sudan.

The government claims they are economic migrants whose growing numbers threaten the country’s Jewish character.

Refugee children losing their families

This video says about itself:

The little flutist, Syrian refugee boy

21 November 2014

CNN photojournalist Joe Duran follows a young Syrian refugee boy trying to survive in the bustling city of Istanbul.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Oxfam‘s plea for lone children

Monday 16th November 2015

OXFAM made urgent appeals today for stronger efforts between agencies reuniting child refugees and their families on their journey into Europe.

The British aid charity called for measures to be put into place immediately after official figures showed the number of minors travelling alone had increased.

Oxfam humanitarian programme manager in Serbia Anna Sambo said: “We urgently need better co-operation between various agencies working with refugees so that when a family loses a child on the road the alarm can be raised and the child found as quickly as possible.

“At the moment we are seeing increasing numbers of children travelling alone.

“The dangerous situation can be a trauma for the vulnerable children.

“We want to ensure a presence to support families, women and children because we don’t want them to be alone on their journey.”

The group found that several children were separated from their families while queuing to cross the border into the country or in refugee processing camps.

While no child-trafficking cases were reported in the area, many refugees complained that they were left to wait for half a day in a queue.

According to reports, two small boys were left alone in the middle of a busy street as their parents searched for another child who had disappeared.

Syrian machine worker Zachariah Kwirah, who travelled to Europe with his two sisters, mother-in-law and three babies said he had to beg to be let into Serbia.

He added: “It was very tough, you say you are not an animal, why were they doing this to us? It gave us the feeling of being animals.”

Thousands of refugees crammed into airport hangars in Berlin, Germany: here.

Syrian refugees in the Netherlands demonstrate against ISIS terrorism

As this video shows, today hundreds of Syrian refugees in Arnhem city in the Netherlands have demonstrated against ISIS terrorism in Paris and in their homeland. They stated they wanted peace all over the world, not terrorism.

Their signs said things like: ‘I am Kurdish, I am against terrorism’ and pointed out that they fled Syria because of ISIS violence.

Syrian demonstrators in Arnhem today

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière declared this week that refugees arriving on the German border will be deported back to the first European Union country they entered, in a reversal of policies that have been in place since August: here.

Britain: Hilary Benn: Shadow Foreign Secretary says Labour won’t back air strikes on Syria. The shadow Foreign Secretary says that, after Paris, the emphasis must be on peace talks and helping refugees: here. Good news, and a bit surprising, as Hilary Benn is a right-winger within Labour; closer to Tony Blair than to his father Tony Benn.