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In defence of the Iranian asylum seekers in Würtzburg

Following the tragic suicide of Iranian asylum seeker Mohammad Rahsepar in protest to the abysmal situation of asylum seekers in Wurtzburg, Germany, a group of Iranian asylum seekers, supported by the International Federation of Iranian Refugees, have organised a sit-in since 19 March to bring attention to the plight of asylum seekers in the country. They have been met with huge amounts of support, including the 99% movement joining them in their protest.

That someone who has fled Iran in order to save his life ends up killing himself is testimony enough to the situation faced by innumerable asylum seekers worldwide. The asylum process so dehumanises and criminalises people that it leaves but merely a shell of the previous person at the end of the road. That people can still resist and stand tall is testimony to the human spirit and dignity.

I was involved in refugee work for nearly 20 years but had to stop when I burned out after witnessing untold atrocities against people whose only crime was to dream of another and better life for themselves and their loved ones.

Clearly suicide is not the answer but organised and positive protest is. That is what the brave asylum seekers are doing in Wurtzburg and nothing must stop us from supporting them.

Asylum is a basic right even if every government from Germany to Britain needs reminding of it.

Here’s a video of the protest:

You can leave messages of support below and I will make sure that it reaches them.

(Photo of Hassan Husseinzadeh via Mina Ahadi; video link via Shahnaz Moratab)

Comments

  1. says

    As an American, I WOULD ENCOURAGE OUR NATION OF IMMIGRANTS TO OPEN ITSELF TO ALL THOSE PERSIANS SEEKING FREEDOM FROM ISLAM! There should be better cooperation between the USA and Canada which still have room for more people and the European countries who are feeling overwhelmed with immigration!
    At the same time, I ADVOCATE IN MY COUNTRY, THE USA, PULLING THE RESIDENCY STATUS OF ALL RELIGIOUS MUSLIMS WHOSE MEMBERSHIP IS A BREEDING GROUND FOR THE KIND OF TERRORIST ACTIVITY RECENTLY COMMITTED IN FRANCE WHO ARE ALIENS!
    Fact is, “Iranian” Muslims can live in Achmenijad’s Islamic cage WHILE THOSE PERSIANS WHO ARE FREEDOM-SEEKING OR NONCONFORMIST CANNOT! Hopefully, this tragic man’s self-sacrifice is not in vain and we Westerners will wake up with more sympathy and understanding OF WHY THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF “IRAN” HAS CREATED SUCH AN ENVIRONMENT THAT THOSE WHO HAVE ANY WESTERN SYMPATHIES OR HIGHER INTELLIGENCE AMONG ITS SOCIETY CAN’T STAND TO LIVE THERE OR WILL EVEN BE EITHER KILLED BY ITS AUTHORITIES OR FEEL CALLED TO KILL THEMSELVES BEFORE BEING KILLED BACK HOME WHICH WAS THE CASE OF THIS BRAVE MAN! Throwing the religious Muslims out to go back to their own societies will make room in the West for those who can’t stand to live there!
    In my opinion, as a historian and sociologist from my education, ONE OF THE WORST THINGS THE LATE PAHLAVI MONARCHY EVER DID WAS CHANGE THE NAME OF PERSIA TO IRAN. Persia predated Islam as a culture for thousands of years AND THE LAST SHAH’S FATHER AGGRAVATED THE DISCONNECT THAT ISLAM HAS CAUSED ITS CULTURE!
    By disconnecting the Persians from their ancient past THAT WAS GROUND IN MONARCHY BEFORE ISLAM, the Pahlavi Monarchy ACTUALLY GUARANTEED THAT ITS MONARCHY WOULD BE SHORT-LIVED JUST LIKE THOSE DEMOCRATS WHO FOOLISHLY THOUGHT THEY COULD ALLY THEMSELVES WITH MULLAHS WHOSE IDEAS WERE OUT OF THE 7TH CENTURY!
    In my opinion, Mossadegh would have fallen faster as his western socialism HAD NO CULTURAL BASIS WHAT SO EVER AND JUST UPSET EVERY TRADITIONAL, PERSIAN ELEMENT OF SOCIETY THERE WAS!
    Short of a Russian style, 1980’S Afghanistan situation, there was nothing else to guarantee a military and political framework strong enough to avert the take-over by Mullahs WHO HAD GAINED THE CONTROL OF THE MINDSET OF THE NEW, “IRANIAN” POPULATION BY EXTINQUISHING ITS PERSIAN COMPETITION CENTURIES BEFORE!
    Anti-Shah elements of Persian society had just cause to dislike the Pahlavis without a doubt BUT CHANGING THE NAME OF PERSIA COULDN’T CHANGE ITS CULTURAL FRAMEWORK WHICH WAS EITHER BASED IN MONARCHY OR RELIGIOUS OLIGARCHY! Islam and revolutionary Marxism are proofs that a few men who attempt to create utopia on earth without consideration for peoples’ traditions end up creating a hell that kills very large numbers of people IN THE PROCESS! I acknowledge that my views aren’t idealistic but the cost of idealism is also very great and tragic as the history of the Kingdom of the Medes and Persians becoming The Islamic Republic of “Iran” demonstrates!

    • says

      You’re an idiot! You can’t carry out an inquisition to see what people think before granting them the right to asylum. And not all Muslims support Islamism. Some of the Iranian asylum seekers are Muslim too. Your approach is as inhuman and racist as various western governments. It might help to think before you talk.

    • David Hart says

      Please stop shouting. If you want to emphasize a phrase, you can use the [less than] i [greater than] html tag to use italics.

      On the other hand, if you are PersianPower88 under a new name, you are seriously not helping with your authoritarian Persian racial supremacist programme.

  2. christophburschka says

    Thanks for writing about this, as I hadn’t yet heard of it even though Würzburg is not far from here.

    It is an open secret that it is absolutely ridiculous and often despicable how asylum is handled here in Germany. We like to point the finger at places like Arizona, but our own immigration law is far from progressive. And obstructive bureaucrats ensure that even legal immigrants are hassled with as much red tape as possible. The one thing that works fairly fast in this bureaucracy is deportation.

    Our constitution famously says that human dignity shall be inviolable. Let’s try that in practice.

    • Stewie says

      The problem is, of course, that catering for Asylum Seekers is (currently) enormously expensive within the EU. Guess what, not many citizen voters are going to put an X in the box for that expenditure. So unless you believe in Authoritarian government there is no democratic mandate.

      • says

        Yes well the Queen, bailing out banks and detention centres for asylum seekers are expensive too. I like the way that the decision of the 1% to cut everything and keep throwing money at the rich somehow has ‘democratic mandate’. You have bought into their lies at the expense of the most vulnerable people in society. How very proud they must be of you.

        • Stewie says

          Owch! stop beating me ;o)
          I don’t think that the other great wastes of public money are a good idea at all.
          I’m suggesting that public policy should represent citizen voter opinion and significantly their willingness to pay.
          I’d also suggest that once citizens feel they are in control of government and of transparent public expenditure they are likely to become *much* more compassionate, caring and philanthropic.
          I’d expect a libertarian society to produce a much more compassionate society.

  3. Rafiq Mahmood says

    The press and politicians have drummed into us the word “bogus” to collocate with “asylum seekers” and have taught us like Pavlovian dogs to substitute, as a sort of derogatory term, “economic migrants”.

    When there is a hullabaloo in the street and someone cut, bruised and bleeding bangs on your door humanity demands that you let them in, dress and bathe their wounds, give them a good meal and bed and time to rest and recover. You do not keep them up all night interrogating them for fear they might steal your silver.

    The world knows, or certainly ought to know, of the tyranny of the barbarous regime in Iran and also of the bravery of the youth who are struggling against it and trying to fight for justice and freedom. Germany used to be a welcoming haven for those fleeing tyranny; living as she does with the terrible guilt of her fathers and grandfathers. It is true that she has taken a large proportion of Europe’s burden but that is no reason for making the life of refugees more stressful or their presence unwelcome. The shameful right wing rhetoric must cease. It is not enough to say that Europe is better because it does not string people up on cranes. To be treated with full and complete humanity and respect is everyone’s right, no matter what the colour of their skin or passport.

    Iran is the hope of the world. It’s youth will not be betrayed again. There are many courageous people struggling within the country but some have to leave and continue the struggle outside. This is not just an Iranian struggle. It is a world-wide struggle for liberty. We must all support the Iranian people, no matter what their personal belief might be. It is our struggle. You are not alone. We welcome you as sisters and brothers with warmth and love.

  4. James says

    Iranians should apply for asylum in Finland, from the Finnish constitution:

    “The right of foreigners to enter Finland and to remain in the country is regulated by an Act. A foreigner shall not be deported, extradited or returned to another country, if in consequence he or she is in danger of a death sentence, torture or other treatment violating human dignity.”

  5. Nia Rushe says

    The truth is, in life, tons of people understand what to accomplish, but very few people in fact do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You need to do something

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