…until 5 weeks ago I hadn’t. I know of Ceuta because I was there in 1985, but no, not until I googled ‘documentary makers’ did I come across David Fedele and his 3 minute 3 second trailer for his 1 hour 17 minute film “The Land between”.
I watched it. I got angry. I googled a bit more and found another documentary, Sara Creta’s 17 minute 29 second film “Number 9”. I got more angry.
Whenever I hear about blatant injustice I just want to make it stop. I don’t want people to feel small. I don’t want people’s bones being broken because they are ‘being a nuisance’. I want people to be happy, to have food, water, a home, a job, satisfaction, well being. Is that too much to ask? Am I being selfish? Am I being unrealistic? Who am I to say, ‘Hey, you, please stop hitting that man, that women, that child’?
So, both David Fedele, (Australian) and Sara Creta, (Italian) made films about Migrants on the Moroccan/Melilla border. Melilla is a Spanish enclave on Morocco’s northern coastline 390 kilometres East of Ceuta. It has an area of only 4.7 square miles, houses approximately 80,000 people and has an additional workforce population who cross the border from Morocco daily totalling approximately another 30,000.
And herein lies the difficulty.
Since the 1980’s both Sub Saharan and North African Migrants have used both enclaves as illegal jump offs into Europe. Once over the border and in Spanish territory both refugee and asylum status start to take effect. Or at least they should. But with the European Union heavily stamping down on illegal entries, both Ceuta and Melilla have taken on an almost solely military stand to stop the flow. The original 3 metre high fence now consists of three parallel 6 metre fences. The fence/barrier travels the 11 kilometre boundary of Melilla from seaside to seaside.
More recently the Authorities have reintroduced razor wire to top off some of the most used areas. And guess what happens? When the desperate Migrants lean up their 7 metre wooden ladders made from timber from the surrounding forests, leap over the fences, in the dark, many of them rip themselves to pieces.
There are hundreds of Migrants living in the surrounding woods. These are people with little or no money who are unable to pay traffickers to take them by alternative routes. It really is a very big problem.
The problems are 1) As of right now the World seems unable to cope with it’s ever growing Migrant population, 2) The World seems unable to slow down enough to ‘really’ listen to some/many/all of the Migrants’ stories, 3) The World has created so many other problems that until a lot of those are sorted, the number of desperate Migrants appearing will only increase. That’s three problems for now.
Three solutions for Melilla and Morocco just for the moment, 1) ACCEPT we have a problem here, 2) consider a temporary Amnesty for all ‘irregular’ Migrants, irregular meaning all those Migrants without papers, without temporary permission to stay in Morocco, 3) Migrants “Stop Jumping the Fences”-We’ll do our best to help you right where you are.
Sorry, there’s going to be four, 4) Stop treating the Migrant people as criminals, the majority of them have escaped from situations of such horror in their home countries that we can only begin to attempt to imagine them.
The Migrant population hiding in the woods and abandoned villages of Morocco could do with food, could do with proper shelter, could do with proper sanitation, could do with being listened too…and could really do without being hurt, very badly, by the Authorities. In simple words, “Please Stop The Violence At The Borders”.
If you’d like to watch David’s trailer please click on:
If you’d like to watch Sara’s film please click on:
If you’d like to sign an Avaaz petition to add your voice to help stop the violence please click on:
Oh, and if anyone is interested in Litter Picking please click on:
It’s the 22nd of the month challenge tomorrow.
I’m in Melilla for 2 more days. More to come. Cheers, Simon.