Running the Gauntlet: The Tortuous Path to Political Asylum in Europe.

Sky and Ground

Directed by Joshua Bennett (2018)

Film Review

Sky and Ground is about two refugee families from battle torn Aleppo who illegally smuggle themselves from Turkey to Germany, where they are eligible to apply for asylum. Due to archaic and tortuous EU law, they are unable to apply for political asylum unless they run the gauntlet and illegally cross a number of countries to reach German soil.

Using smugglers to cross the Mediterranean, they decide to leave Greece after a hepatitis A outbreak in their refugee camp. An uncle, a filmmaker, captures their journey on his Smartphone. He also uses the phone to communicate with brothers in Germany, who track them via GPS and advise them of the best routes to take.

In 2016, Macedonia has just closed their border, which means they must find an unguarded wilderness crossing point. They seek medical help when one of the women sprains her ankle. The Red Cross turns them into the police – who return them to the Greek refugee camp.

On their second attempt they walk mainly at night across Macedonia. They openly cross the Serbia border, where police transport them to a hostel in Belgrade.

They stay in a refugee camp on the Serbian-Hungarian border, where the Hungarian police demand a $50 bribe not to return them to Greece. As a single man, their uncle is forced to remain in the refugee camp for 28 days. A relative from Germany flies to Hungary to assist the other family members in traveling by train from Hungary to Austria. There, they are taken to the police station, where they are issued a 14-day permit.

Eventually the entire group reaches Germany, where they apply for, and receive, temporary asylum.

 

 

Syria Already Planning Its Economic Future

 

Guest Post by Sophie Mengel Inside Syria Media Center.

Last Monday the EU Council extended sanctions against the Syrian government for another year, until June 1, 2018. The event occurred as recent Syrian Arab Army successes raise hopes for an end to the Syrian conflict. It’s clearly not enough to talk about food relief and delivery of basic necessities. Manufacturing and foreign trade have also taken major hits in Syria.

 

World Bank: Total economic damage by city

Bilateral Ties Between Syria and Iran

Not so long ago, at a Damascus meeting between Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis and Iranian Ambassador Javad Torkabadi, Khamis highlighted the full-scale economic war the West and their Middle East allies have unleashed against Syria. Tehran, with its long experiencing countering “sanctions war,” and Damascus have become a model of strategic cooperation, both militarily and economically.  However, strong economic ties between Iran and Syria alone will not solve the problem of Syrian economic degradation.

Courting Qatar

Despite their past support for anti-government terrorists, the current economic boycott of Qatar by its “friendly neighbors” is leading to hope of future Qatari investment in the Syrian economy. For Qatar to invest in Syrian zones of influence or to offer Syria offer a kind of Marshall Plan would go a long way towards repairing Qatar’s international image. It would also allow the country to bypass limitations Saudi Arabia seeks to impose on Qatar’s foreign policy, while making it more independent of the US and the EU.

All this would likely depend on consummating an agreement for Iran to purchase LNG from Qatar for onward transport to external consumers. Iran, which is getting closer to Qatar and has strong positions in Syria, has great potential as an intermediary.

Syria is Already Planning Its Economic Future

Despite the ongoing fighting in Syria, the country is already planning its economic future. Syria is rich in energy resources and minerals, including rare-earth metals. At the same time, the country has an advantageous geographical location for transporting goods to the Mediterranean pass through its territory. All this gives Damascus the potential for rapid economic development.

Stability in the region and restoration of foreign trade would enable the Syrians to have a source of stable foreign direct investment. The country has been in the grip of war for more than six years, but is full of enthusiasm to rebuild the economy. The hope of a new life and recent successes on the battlefield inspire optimism on the part of Syrian citizens, as well as the countries such as Iran, China, India, Russia and Armenia that support them.

Follow the latest developments by reading Inside Syria Media Center.

Close-Up With Syrian Refugees on Lesbos (22.36)

The Island of All Together

Directed by Philip Brink and Marieke van der Velden (2015)

Film Review

I was strangely moved by this documentary of European tourists and Syrian refugees interviewing each other on the Greek island of Lesbos. The latter is a common destination for refugees who cross the Mediterranean from Turkey.

I was genuinely surprised by the high educational level of the refugees. All were professionals (lawyers, teachers, mechanical engineers) or skilled trades people (carpenter, cosmeticians) in Syria. It’s no wonder Germany is so eager to accept them.

The postscript to the film indicates that most of the pairs reunited once the refugees reached their destination, with most of the Europeans actively assisting their refugee with adapting to their new life.

 

EU Plans War to Keep Europe White*

Reblogged from Libya360

For more than 500 years, Europeans have invaded and looted the planet, yet their home civilizations are deemed so fragile that they must be insulated against the cultures of the formerly colonized peoples. Having created millions of Muslim and African war refugees, the Europeans now gear up to attack the boats that might bring them to Europe.
20150428-LIBYA-slide-GK7J-superJumbo

By Glen Ford

“The thousands of deaths at sea are crimes of Europe and the United States.”

The United States has been the big, bad leader of the imperial world for so long, we may sometimes forget that most of the evils that beset our world have their origins in Europe, a small corner of the Earth that has for 500 years grown fat off the blood and resources of the rest of the planet. This Europe is a greedy little place, most of whose inhabitants believe they have somehow earned what they have stolen from the world’s darker peoples, and that they are entitled to continue stealing in perpetuity.

In 2011, in league with the United States, European members of NATO launched a totally unprovoked 7-month bombing campaign against Libya, resulting in the murder of Col. Muammar Gaddafi and the empowerment of Islamist jihadists throughout the northern tier of the African continent. Col. Gaddafi had warned that the Euro-American aggression would turn Libya into another Somalia, with vast numbers of people desperately fleeing across the Mediterranean Sea to escape the turmoil. Gaddafi was right, of course. Not only has Libya been reduced to a state of sheer anarchy and terror, but thanks to Europe and the United States, Hell has descended on Syria, and conditions in Somalia have grown even worse. The Europeans and their American cousins are intent on wiping out every vestige of civilization in the Muslim world – all the while spouting the same twisted, racist logic that they have employed for half a millennium: that Muslims and Africans are unsuited to civilization, and must be guided by the white hands of Europe, for their own good.

“Col. Gaddafi warned that the Euro-American aggression would turn Libya into another Somalia.”

The refugee crisis, the thousands of deaths at sea, are crimes of Europe and the United States. The Euro-Americans are just as unquestionably guilty as the arsonist who sets the fire that causes apartment dwellers to jump to their deaths from high windows to escape the flames. Now, the nations of the European Union, all 28 of them, are backing plans to launch air and naval attacks against boats in the ports of Libya and on the high seas, to make sure that the refugees that Europe and America have created do not wind up on European shores.

Read full article at Libya360