Les Gilets Noirs
“I’m here to tell you that for them we are commodities! If they give us documents they lose their business. So they must see that someone stood up. We are not balls to be kicked about, we are not children. Our struggle is not only about papers. What you have yet to see you’ll see when you fight. There is sorrow and happiness inside. Things need to become red and people need to rise to bring it out. The shame is theirs, not ours. They must stop seeing black people as blackness, but see that they have become red.”
Gassama foyer Riquet – in Paroles de n’importe qui… ou pas – May 2019 – ed. La chapelle.
At the employment fair, on the 23rd February 2019, residents of some of the 43 migrant centres of the Paris region are plotting together, along with tenants of the struggling streets:
Diakité, member of the Chapelle Debout collective:
“We rose up. We quit our everyday tasks and we stood. We, the GILETS NOIRS are now the largest movement of undocumented people in France.
The French government knows that we exist. It knows we are here and that we are organised. But it still doesn’t know what we are capable of!
We started on 23rd November 2018. It was at the Museum of Immigration. There were between 300 and 400 of us.
We continued to mobilise people until the 16th December, when we occupied the Comédie Française. That day there were 720 of us. And we opened the door of the Prefecture”… to negotiate
On 31st January, 1500 of us accompanied the delegation. The leadership did not keep their word. “We will receive you every month.” … We are still waiting.
We asked for an end to deportations and Abou, Amadou, Samba, Tymera, Imane, Hicham have been violently deported towards Spain, Italy, Sudan and Morocco under the pretexts of the Dublin Agreements, bilateral agreements or by the pure and simple ferocity of the racist brutality of the police, judiciary, medical services.
We got organised so that many can return, so we can bring back our parents, our children, our wives, our husbands, our friends and everyone else.
In the Paris Prefecture, they dismissed us, saying: “we can’t, not our responsibility, not our remit, you’re missing this paper.”
“We’ll speak to your bosses then!”
We call for all the forces in France, Europe and beyond to support this campaign against fear and shame.
For equality, dignity, justice and their concrete implementation: Documents for all!
We must start winning again, because we have all lost too much: Documents for all!
We must stop bemoaning because we must act.
We must wait no longer.
Because we are here and we are everywhere: Documents for all!
We are against:
The OQTFs (Orders to leave France), the 115, illegal working at Elior, asbestos removal without protection, the CRAs (Immigration detention centres), Calais and Ventimille and Dublin, checks based on profiling at Aubervilliers 4 Chemins, the OFPRA (French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless People), rough sleeping, the CNDA (National Court of Asylum), Porte de la Chapelle, the refusal of AME (State Medical Aid), queuing at the prefecture or for food, the OFII (French Office of Immigration and Integration), slave driving bosses and businesses.
Papers/Documents for all!
“Immigrants have a voice and they are using it!”
“We are the freedom to move, to settle down to act. We will take it as our right. In the name of all those who did not make it here, and to save ourselves, and for all those who want to make it out here.”
WE ARE IN AN AIRPORT IN FRANCE
This place is, above all else, a border. A border without walls or barbed wire. Nevertheless it marks bodies.
For some Roissy Charles de Gaulle is a place for travel and consumption. Those for whom this comes easy are a minority coming from the bourgeois and/or white worlds. It’s this world that colonizes and wages war. The entrance to their fortress is the airport. It is well guarded by the military, police and cameras… In this place we also meet many of our own. Nevertheless, we don’t want to see ourselves here.
We are hidden or shut behind a curtain in the plane or underground, very close to terminal 2 in the holding area for those who are awaiting deportation…or in the basement of the four-star Ibis hotel with the blessings of the Accor company.
This place exudes racism on a planetary scale.
Those at the front pass through showing only their official documents, those at the back are threatened, handcuffed, gagged and insulted by the police
At the border, in the antechambers of the airport.
It’s from Roissy that Afghans were deported to Kabul at gunpoint, at the same time that we switched off the Eiffel Tower’s lights to commemorate the Western victims of the attacks in Kabul’s diplomatic neighbourhood on 31 May 2017.
We are here because this airport belongs to those who scrub its toilets all day long, who pack and transport suitcases for customers with red passports.
We have come to free ourselves, like others who have escaped from their prisons for foreigners in Rennes, Hendaye or Mesnil-Amelot in recent months.
We are here because the body of a 15 year-old son was found frozen, fallen from the landing gear of a plane on 8th April 2013. That was before their “migration crisis”, which every day justifies their crimes a bit more. There are no names for those they deport, they bear all of our names.
We are here for self-harm and suicide to not be the only ways to stop cops from receiving free holidays with Air France Miles.
Enough with the prison, sleeping pills, foam helmets and handcuffs!
Glory to all that managed to step off a plane, whatever methods they used! From screaming to physical resistance or tricks.
Thank you to all who refuse to sit down. To pilots who refuse to take off. To the transit helpers who give us information: “deportations on this flight”.
25 detention centres in France, over 1000 people deported in 2018 from the Mesnil-Amelot centre alone, nearby here. STOP!
Overcoming fear by coming here, with no pseudonyms or work uniforms, is our first victory.
Overcoming fear of this border is to organise against all of those who help deportation, starting with undermining Air France’s collaboration, which of all the complicit airline companies, is the official partner of the French state. They are in cahoots with Qatar Airways, Ethiopian airlines and Turkish airlines.
To Air France, official deporter of the French state, and to the Paris Airport, its guard dog,
We denounce your collaboration with the state’s practices and the business that it earns you.
We denounce the pressure exerted on your staff and on passengers who oppose the deportation: those who have been disembarked, threatened with lawsuits and forced to buy back tickets.
We denounce your role as accessories to the police and to European justice, and we declare that you bear responsibility for the treatment of non-white lives and their management as flows. You share responsibility for the murder of A. by the Border Police, of M.’s injuries and detention, of M.’s torture, injected to knock him out and stop protesting, of murder attempts on M. who you allowed to be deported when he had swallowed razor blades…
We demand to speak to the heads of Air France to:
-Stop all financial, material, logistical or political participation to deportations
-Stop its policy of retaliation and/or pressure towards in-flight staff who refuses to embark a person threatened with deportation
[Translated with permission from @chapelledebout. The original version can be found here]