‘The NGO-ization of politics threatens to turn resistance into a well-mannered, reasonable, salaried, 9-to-5 job. With a few perks thrown in. Real resistance has real consequences. And no salary.’ – Arundhati Roy
These days, the old practice of illegalising the handing out of food continues. An “open letter” of the working group for solving migration issues of the Republic of Serbia (see below) shows that the general politics in Serbia aims to make undocumented people disappear from public space, to make their stay and free movement impossible.
NGOs of course have accepted that they are no longer allowed to hand out food to people.
Nevertheless, there are still some attempts by (self-organised) groups and individuals to distribute food, which means a lot to people who are stuck in Serbia, left without money. Here we again see how the border regime includes humanitarian organisations, who stuff their pockets with funds, donations (by various religious and political organisations, capitalist bigshots), and who want to mediate between migrants and the state, while actually enabling a system of control, repression and criminalisation. At the end of the day, NGOs work for philanthropists, for donations/donators, but not for the people. They cooperate with the police (coordination police action) and with the Commissariat (against refugees, the so-called KIRS), referring to them as ‘colleagues’ in public speeches but ‘fascists’ in private talks. They completely ignore the everyday violence and racism of those same ‘colleagues’.
These days we’ve heard a lot of talk about (illegal) deportations (back) to Macedonia or Bulgaria. What we know for sure is that in mid-October, 5 buses with people from (improvised, ghettoised) camps in the surroundings of Subotica and Šid were deported.
These people didn’t know that the buses were taking them to the southern border. Some of them were arrested in Macedonia after deportation and (once more without any legal basis whatsoever) deported (back) to Greece, where illegalisation and prison again threaten them. Several people were deported in the same way from the very camp that, in the words of an employee of the Commisariat is “in the best interest of the migrants”. The camp in fact is a danger zone, and Belgrade a place where cold, lack of food, accommodation, medical help and the difficulty of getting a legal status (only for 72 hours) makes it impossible for travellers to stay in each and every way.
The camp was never a place in which people were ‘safe’, but especially when the authorities deport people directly from the camps, we don’t need to wonder why people don’t want to go to those places. The authorities have successfully created a climate of fear.
Fear is also heaped upon the local population, through newspaper talk that presents travellers who are stuck as a ‘threat’ – a politics of fear is successfully introduced. We worriedly listen to the comments of passers-by and neighbours of the park next to the bus station, who repeat the same meaningless words about “those people” – that we hear on all TV channels and in the media.
We need more courage for a human approach in this city. Those who are against racist laws, hate talk and nationalism are called provokers, traitors, fascists, infiltrators sponsored by the West.
We hope there will be more encounters, solidarity, open support and reactions to everything that’s happening – that’s our only force in a world of state violence and repression.