Short summary of the outcomes of the workshop and events organized by
THE VOICE Refugee FORUM
in Jena between October 4 to 7, 2018
From the 4th to 7th of October 2018 workshops, discussions, theatre performances, and a parade was initiated and organized by THE VOICE Refugee Forum in Jena, Thuringia, Germany.
The manifestation with the focus on the Refugee Black Box was at the same time the celebration of the 24th anniversary of THE VOICE Refugee Forum (formerly THE VOICE African Forum) that started in 1994 in the Isolation Lagers for refugees in Thuringia. People from the various corners of the republic came to Jena to further develop and manifest the idea of the Refugee Black Box. The entire activity was documented by two activists and will be published successively through the various internet channels listed at the end of this summary.
Refugee Black Box
The Refugee Black Box is a process to enable refugee communication, resistance, and at the same time an archive of the experiences and the lessons of the past with all its weak and strong moments. The name is derived from the blackboxes used in the aviation to record all the relevant data during a flight but it is more than that because it is about people and humanity. Therefore, the process is made by people communicating with each other and hence, it can unfold their creativity and enhance their collective consciousness. The aim of the Refugee Black Box initiative is to establish a continuous process to strengthen the communities and their cohesion through international solidarity.
Documenting and exposing the truth and empower the refugee struggles and solidarity
Through the Refugee Black Box the truth about the daily crimes imposed on refugees can be documented and messages of solidarity and empowerment from the local struggles sent to other communities as has already been done in the recent month. Through the use of a black box with a message written on it connections are easily made between refugee communities from the various points of Germany and elsewhere. Paintings, photos, videos, audios and texts can be distributed using various channels in the internet or by installations and performances on the street. All depends on the quality of how the process is documented and distributed to build bridges between people and communities.
Refugee Black Boxes can be installed in isolation camps and lagers to gather the complaints by the refugees of those camps. In regular meetings the complaints can be discussed by the same people and possible solutions discussed. The documentation of the entire process can be published. By doing this the situation behind the fences of the European lager system and thus the crimes exercised there become public. Such Refugee Black Boxes for collection of complaints can of course be put everywhere people think it is efficient to collect the concerns of the community and discuss them collectively, at the refugee and migrant associations, at the Ausländerbehörde, on the street, or anywhere else… There is no limit and it must not only be a complaint box.
Refugee Black Box as a continuous process
Basically every refugee, migrant and everyone else can create her or his own Refugee Black Box and make the process of its generation and use transparent. The participants in Jena from Apolda, Berlin, Bielefeld, Hamburg, and Wuppertal are committed to organize local workshops and gatherings within their local communities to further spread the Refugee Black Box. Because it is itself the empowerment and engagement of refugees and migrants. It is the demonstration of their solidarity and transparency.
The members of the network CARAVAN for the rights of refugees and migrants will have a special Refugee Black Box session during their next nation-wide meeting. THE VOICE Refugee Forum is planning to have an annual meeting at the beginning of October to manifest a long term process. Everyone is invited to actively enrich the process.
24 slogans for 24 years of unbroken and ceaseless resistance
In preparation of the parade held on Saturday, October 6, 2018 24 slogans were selected and painted on boxes as a tribute to 24 years of continuous struggle and solidarity exercised by THE VOICE Refugee Forum. In the beginning of the parade the refugee and migrant issue was explained and celebrated by referring to the 24 Refugee Black Boxes with the following messages:
Stop deportation ⏐ We are here, because you destroyed our countries! ⏐ Stop Exploitation
Solidarity ⏐ Human right is not a privilege ⏐ Freedom of movement is everybod’s right ⏐
Abolish Lagers ⏐ Break the silence ⏐ Rest in Power Oury Jalloh
Fight-back whiteness supremacy ⏐ Dignity First ⏐ Stop criminalization
Stop police brutality ⏐ We have no vote but a voice ⏐ Abolish colonial Residenzpflicht | Break isolation ⏐ Stop the terror and war ⏐ Unite against social exclusion | Women unite against colonial injustice ⏐ Stop making refugees | Integrity instead of Integration |
Stop the separation of our families ⏐ Abolish special laws for foreigners |
Reclaim your (our) political autonomy
The finale of the Refugee Black Box in Jena was a parade in the city center. Installations with the 24 boxes were made at the Faulloch where the activities took place and in front of the Ausländerbehörde. A theatre performance was carried out processing the experiences of the artists as refugees. Based on the theatre of the oppressed the spectators could intervene and change story.
During the parade it was stated that the Refugee Black Box goes beyond demonstrations and actions. It is a continuous engagement and a process to involve more people into the solidarity and truth initiative. Participate in the next Refugee Black Box activities in your areas or make your own.
"Our demands may be challenging but so are our challenges demanding!!!"