Joke Kaviaar, 31 juli 2013
Imagine.. You went through a lot of trouble getting here. Here.. in Europe. Imagine.. you had to buy a false passport and then you had to throw it away. Imagine, you lost not only your home, your family and friends, and all the documents to prove that you were being prosecuted, tortured, threatened, beaten up, bombed, almost killed. You even lost the papers to prove who you are, where you were born and raised, from which part of the planet you came. Imagine that. You are lost. You are non existent.
And imagine, you lost all your money that once you had saved and had to spend on yet another profiteer of your misery, just to buy your way out of fear, to buy your way through and across barbed wire, border patrol, electric fences, bodies of water, search lights, dogs, walls and watch towers, obstacles between life and death, just to buy your way into freedom, or so it seemed.
Imagine, you thought you had made it. You thought you were safe. Away from gun shots, bombs blasting, away from rape and electrocution, away from cells and dungeons. Imagine such relief!
It all seemed okay at first. The repeated questions, the waiting. Even though days, weeks and months were passing by, forsaken in barren rooms, years passing by waiting. But they are all nice people, you tell yourself, they are doing the best they can. They are only doing their job. They nod. They understand. They listen. They type everything down and their machine, it remembers everything, it knows everything. Except how you feel. Afraid. Going mad. Nervous. Insecure. Hurting inside. Sick. Image the happiness as the decision comes in sight! Imagine a life granted to be lived.
Imagine, looking into the face of an official, in a neat little office like so many others, with a high tech computer system, with high tech fingerprinting scanners so you don't have to get your hands dirty with ink, the high tech facial recognition scanners and high tech whatever equipment, the high tech words meaning: “You have to go back.”
“Go back.” Not one time, not two times, not three times it is said. It is said and written in digitalized repetition, spoken by lipstick lips with a toothpaste smile, printed and copied and handed over again and again. “You have to go back.” All for nothing. Imagine that.
Imagine yet another official, a servant, telling you that your past, your story, your ordeal does not matter. That the decision has been made and now it has to be executed. That it's just the way the policy is. That the servants do not want to know about you, because that would make their job difficult. That would remind them of the cruelty that goes with their job. That would remind those officials in that office behind that desk of your fear. The servant cannot even look you in the eye for fear of fear. For fear of feeling the urge to refuse to follow orders. Orders are orders and any person paid to execute them cannot be held accountable, not feel responsible. It is the way the system works. The only way.
The official points out to you the way up the ladder. There, you will find another official that also points up the ladder. And then another one. And another. And somewhere way up there, there is a politician, a minister, a state secretary, saying: “It is the will of the people. It was the voters, they chose this policy.”
Imagine.. nobody is responsible. You are left with a uniformed shoulder shrugging two faced bastard that is only doing the job for a living, to pay the mortgage, to send his children to school, to pay their way through college. You can see the pictures of children standing on the desk. His children. Her children. Smiling. Happy. Blissfully unaware.
Imagine the face of this servant that is their father or mother. That servant does not look like a monster. Murderers never look like it. Their face can smile and talk quietly and patiently and use soothing words. It does not yell, scream, or shout. It is really friendly, it wants to greet you with a handshake. It's face smells like after shave. The scent is so strong it will cover the smell of your cold sweat. It wears a suit and a tie and shiny shoes. Dressed to kill. Just another day at the office. It is suited to appear on television, explaining the job it does, and to tell the viewer that it does not mean to hurt anyone, just to do the job.
Someone has to do it, right? The job called repatriation. It sounds like suitcases and tax free shopping. It sounds like a lot of help. It sounds like an adventure. A travel agency. You should be glad you don't have to pay for your airline ticket! It's all being done for free! The official will thank you kindly for your cooperation, which is assumed beforehand.
There you go, with no shoelaces in your worn down sneakers. Flip flap through the hallway, back to a cell that is called a waiting room. “Have a safe trip, take care and good luck.” They can actually say that. As if the suggestion of force to be used is not there. “You have to go back.” The easy way, or the hard way, but always with a smile on their face. The face of the official.
Imagine that official. That civil servant in the line of duty. This man or woman, it is someone's father or mother who does not talk about work at home, because work and private life need to be separated. You do not take your work home! That is how professionals work. Don't ask, don't tell.
It is the face of deportation but it hugs its own children, it kisses its spouse. It is the face of cuffs and violence, but it caresses its cat and walk its dog. It is the face of momentarily self-inflicted deafness and blindness of cops and pencil pushers performing their daily routine, their robotic behavior, their automated law abiding steps forward that can never be stopped.
The face of deportation, well organized in schedules on the wall that meticulously prepare the job of the day, so no mistake will be made. Who is to be deported today and where and how? A list of names and numbers and timetables. In that same office, computer screens show the cells where you, after your life has been rejected like so many others, will await proceedings to come. More proceedings after years of procedures. The final process. Computer screens show the prisoner pacing up and down. Computer screens show the prisoner crying. Computer screens show the prisoner screaming, the gestures of the prisoner at the observation camera. Someone must be watching, but nobody cares to respond. It is all pretended safety. Safety is hollow, an echo of a dream from the past. All the safety you get is security to protect the guards from your despair, from the blood that might pour out of your veins onto the tiled floor, from the sight of your suicide, the final escape into oblivion.
The face of deportation is the face of closed doors and closed minds.
Faces of deportation. Another life is lost. Lost in the hands of paper producing assassins. It adds a different meaning to the word 'paper cut'. Murder by paper. A throat slashed. A mind slaughtered. A life cut short by paper. Faces of deportation. They wear decent suits and carry sturdy bags with torture instruments invisible to fellow travelers that are going on vacation. They will tie you up, if they deem it necessary. They will shut you up. They will hold you down. They will bury your face in their lap. You cannot scream. You cannot spit. You cannot bite. You cannot sigh. You cannot breath. Nobody can see you die. You're on a plane. On your way back. “You have to go back.” “You have to go back.” Alive, preferably, so no-one is to be held accountable. But if needed, in a body bag. And still, nobody would be accountable. You did it to yourself. It is all the same to the faces of deportation. They will keep smiling, as you plea for mercy. Still, they keep smiling, as you choke. Still they keep smiling, as you break. Still they keep smiling, as they say:
“Be good, or we'll beat the shit out of you, you will never see your children again. Alright?”
Faces of deportation. Another lift off. The plane hits the sky for a summer holiday. Its passengers unaware: that is the way it's supposed to work out. It's pilot doesn't care, as long as the damn thing doesn't crash. It's crew is serving food and drinks and once again you meet smiling people. They know. And they beleive their smile makes everything alright. “How are you?” “Oh, I am sorry to hear that. Take care. Do not forget to buckle up.” Vacation, deportation, it is all the same to them.
Faces of deportation. Have we seen them all? Hell no. They hide in buildings, in offices. They hide in vans, buses and cars. They hide behind the law, a decision, a pay check. They hide behind the newspaper headlines. Just every once in a while, to tell us all how righteous they are, they come forward. They do look good on TV. They have an almost hundred percent success rate. They are satisfied, proud even. Nothing will stand in their way. Imagine that. Is that acceptable?
It is not acceptable. It is a guillotine in a gift rap. It's a noose hidden in garlands. It's a gag made out of lies. It's a blindfold for glasses. A chain made out of documents. A prison cage with bars of silence. It's a road full of visible booby traps that cannot be evaded. It's a one way ticket for a one way life and a one way death. It's a manhunt using heat seeking missiles. It's a witch hunt that would make the inquisition proud. So no, this is not acceptable.
It is time that the faces of deportation face their own invasion. If they think they can invade peoples lives in order to end those lives, one way or the other, visibly or invisibly, bloody or neatly, but always inevitably, and keep up appearances, be respected members of a society that sees, hears and speaks no evil, if they think so, they are sadly mistaken. Let's show their faces for what they really are!
Faces of deportation, they are among us.
Faces of deportation, clinical separation, fascist orientation, domestic alienation.
Faces of deportation, they want to be control.
Faces of deportation, inevitable perfection that asks no questions, can stand no questions.
Faces of deportation, business as usual?
Faces of deportation, celebrating their make believe integrity, dignity, humanity. Barf!
It is time that the faces of deportation face their own invasion! It is time they get to know themselves and their actions for what they really are: part of a homicidal machine of control and destruction, an adversary to liberty and solidarity, nobodies without a sense of reality. Lets give them back all that they ever handed out so generously. Return the favor without being stingy. It is a job that needs to be done.
Every word of rejection a broken mirror in their face. Every spatter of blood at least worthy of a warning. Every tear left behind to leave them sleeping no more. Let them face the accusations painted on the wall. See what registration feels like as names and pictures are published. Feel what it's like to be turned down, selected, followed, raided, threatened, incarcerated, dropped.
To face the face that they are, face the fate they call justice. To show them who they are, the faces of deportation, the faces of dehumanization. Face the facts. Let these words be merely one of many mirrors to face for yet another job “well done”.