Now is the time to use that disappointment and indignation in a constructive commitment towards Parwais (for his story see previous article) and thousands of others in his situation. For a constructive contribution to our own society, since stories such as those of Parwais show that we as a society in the whole deteriorate. Today it is the unknown ‘other’ who must endure injustice. Tomorrow it could be a friend, it could be you or me.
Like the 8000 people who shared the Facebook page People 4 Parwais, I went to bed last night hoping that Maggie De Block, Belgian minister for asylum and migration, would use her prerogatives to keep Parwais here. Here with his girlfriend, his adoptive mother, his friends and the company where he recently started to work.
Maggie De Block did not and did not even think Parwais worth of a reaction, as ‘this is an individual case’.
This phrase, she will keep using for every asylum seeker who finds his way to the media. Per definition every case is an individual case.
Recently I was contacted by someone who’s wife had been arrested while one of their was children in hospital. The father and the children are allowed to stay (a little longer?) because their procedure is still ongoing. The mother was deported a few days ago. Another ‘inidvidual’ case that did not find the way into the media. One of the many stories I daily hear from the people who are asking for my advice and support.
To change things for the better, all of us who feel connected in solidarity with Parwais, Scott, Pusta, this mother and many others in this country, should try and find a way to transform their indignation into a constructive commitment.
What difference can we make? What can I do about this injustice that is going on in my name? What action can we take? Many people have been asking me the same questions.
I think we as citizens can do a lot. The way we take things in hand, the way we put an action up in little time, in solidarity and fighting for justice, is hopeful.
I would never be able to do what I do without the unconditional help of dozens of people around me who read my articles over and over again, improve, translate, distribute and contribute ideas and feedback.
Dozens of people from all over the country came to Brusselsto take part in the march for the sans-papiers. Many students put aside their books despite the upcoming exams because they refused to accept the injustice that happened before their eyes.
In a society people have different opinions on how that society should look like.
To put it simple: you have people who believe that someone like Parwais has no place in our country. Its origins, religion, colour … are not welcome in this country. You have other people who say:”The law is the law”. They don’t question the law. They don’t wonder if that law is righteous and/or human for example. They just want to see the law to be respected.
A whole group of people is not concerned with what the Government decides. They are confident that the Government knows what they are doing. Or they assume that they can’t make a difference anyway, so they keep aloof.
There are also people who believe that our policy must be clear, fair and human. If there are people who have the right to stay in our country, then they must be granted that right. Let those who contribute here also have the right to build their future here. It is especially this group of people who can make a difference by taking action to make their voice heard as did the thousands of supporters on the social media.
Time for action
There is yet another group of people, a group that is unfortunately not so large today. Those are the people who speak not only in words but also in deeds. One can see them in all sorts of actions over and over again. They are ‘the usual suspects’. This group must grow larger and needs support. Support of citizens who say ‘not in my name’ to this inhumane policy. But all those people who want change, also need structured and organised support. As I did here before, I ask again the support of various civil society organisations. They should stand up and take position. That they do what is expected of them: criticising the policy in question and not dancing to the tune of the policymakers.
We need these organisations because they have the knowledge, contacts, expertise, structures, materials and resources to organise actions and to succeed. They have proven this in the past. Today they are equally desperately needed. The forces should be bundled. In a constructive commitment for Justice and humanity. You stand stronger together. As the Belgians say: “Union fait la force!”
Bleri Lleshi is political philosopher and human rights activist
Translation to English by Lief Vandevoort
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