The speech by Doorbraak-activist Abdulrazik Khamis at the Refugee Lives Matter-solidarity protest in Amsterdam last saturday, June 20th.
Thank you so much for the people who organized this event and thank you everybody for joining us. First, we need thirty seconds of commemoration for people who got killed. For the people who were sleeping in their homes and got bombed. Thank you for your silence.
Black Lives Matter. Refugee Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter is me. Refugee Lives Matter is me. Muslim Lives Matter is me. Every live that matters is black people, because of the colour of their skin.
Today is the 20th of June 2020, and slavery is still ingrained into the Dutch culture. Think of Black Pete.
I’m so proud that I’m black. Black is beautiful and I’m so happy I’m not white. Not because of the colour of the skin, but because of the bloody history that I would have. I can’t resist that bloody history.
Refugee lives matter. As all of us know the most famous history of Europe. The Irish people and the Italian people immigrating to the American paradise in waves. Also, during the Second World War queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands went to the UK when Germany occupied the Netherlands, because she did not feel save. And even prior to that, in the First World War the Belgian people fled to the Netherlands and some of them crossed the sea to reach the UK for their safety. Jesus was an immigrant. He migrated to Egypt as well.
So refugee means human being. And human being means refugee. If you didn’t migrate yourself, then your forefathers did. We are just in the situation of your forefathers. Your forefathers came and took the countries from the native people.
I want to say to the people who shout: “Refugees, go back to your country!”, that they should first remember where they come from. If the indigenous people say “Go back to your country”, refugees can go back to their country. But why would they go? Of course somebody like me, or other refugees, we have a place to go back to if the indigenous people say “Go back”.
I just want to illuminate that it is a shame to stand here and to talk about refugees. There are almost no refugees in Europe, because sixty percent of the world’s refugee population are in ten poor countries, the most difficult countries like Kenya, Chad and Lebanon. One out of three people of their population is a refugee. Ten countries, although 150 countries have signed the Refugee Convention of 1951.
People who flee from the wars, they track through the Sahara desert, they are enslaved in Libya, they cross the Mediterranean Sea. Yet you call them “illegals”. Illegal means you are not white and European. Illegal means that your country is destabilized. Illegal means you are resilient and black or brown. Illegal means that you have done everything to survive. Illegal means that you have been deprived of your human rights. Illegal means that your family got killed and/or raped in front of your eyes. You watched the stomaches of your sisters, your mothers and your wives being pulled out there. The bellies slit with children inside of them. What world are we living in?
As I was saying sixty percent of the refugees are in ten countries. Only a minority of us came to Europe. We had two possibilities: death or life. Half of us are living on the streets. Some of us are deported. Some of us are in detention camps. Some of us are awaiting our asylum procedures for twenty five years. Some of us are in the process of being deported.
I just want to mention one thing that the Dutch government did. The Covid-19 is not a problem for refugees, because we have been living in lockdown for all of our lives. Think of genocide, or a travel ban, or starvation. Our lockdown is much harsher than the one here. Here you can go grocery shopping and Skype with your friends.
The municipality of Leiden is currently evicting refugees. It’s gruesome and frustrating for refugees to tell you their horrible stories and no action is taken yet. For how long do we need to continue begging to be considered as human beings like you and have the same rights as you? Live and let live.
During the lockdown the xenophobic haters bought all the toilet paper and food, because they were scared of starvation and death. So their lives matter, while our lives don’t.
The IND decided to reassess the asylum permits of the Sudanese people. People who ran away from war. People who have been learning the Dutch language for five years. And people who think they’ve got a dream to accomplish. Ultimately they will be deported within six months.
In spite of the Refugee Convention of 1951 and the principle of non-refoulment. Individuals have the right to not be returned to a place where their lives are threatened by killings, the death penalty, torture, degrading punishment and cruel inhumane treatment.
How do they define refugees? The basic definition of refugee by the UN is a person who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for one of the five reasons, which are race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion. You have to be outside of your country or you would die. The problem is that people think of refugee rights as a sort of charitable wish list, rather than allowing them for self-empowerment. We live in a world where wealth is more valuable than human beings.
Stop killing people because of profitability. Stop killing people because of money. EU must stop meddling into the African continent. Europe is the only reason refugees today are here in Europe. You can call us illegals and deport us if you take your troops out of Africa, recompensate Africa for Europe’s barbarianism and rebuild our country, withdraw your military industrial complex, pay reparations for slavery and colonialism, decolonize and discontinue modern imperialism, send all your money back from your banks to Africa, remove your CFA and ECO currencies from Africa, stop sending EU representatives to the African Union Treasure Meetings, stop pointing your fingers at African leaders on what to do and what not to do, stop telling African leaders: “Just give me your money or I will kill you”, stop sponsoring terrorist organisations like Boko Haram, stop killing Africans through climate change, take your Bible away from Africa, stop your media from enforcing stereotypes.
Don’t talk as if you own Africa. EU, get out of Africa. There is unlimited things that you can pay back to Africa. If you can pay back all the things you have stolen, you will have no Europe, no countries. You would come to us as a refugee in Africa, and we will take care of you. Africa has been victimized by the West and we are here because of the West. We come to Europe to re-appropriate our money that was stolen from our ancestors. Once more: Black lives matter, refugee lives matter, white history is blood, stop killing people because of money.
Here’s the video of the speech. The spoken word is at some points different from the written text.