This suitcase belongs to our FYEG migration campaign ‘Destination Europe. Tear down the walls in your head.’ With this campaign, we want to make people aware of the problems migrants and refugees are faced with when they try to enter the fortress Europe. We protest against the fact that the conditions of refugees in the destination countries are often bad and that their Human Rights are often not respected. We thinkborders are cruel things that cause a lot of suffering. That’s why they have to be torn down !
We use the suitcase as a symbol of travel. Tourists have dozens of them, refugees have no time to pack and leave without them. Economic migrants hope to bring back a bigger suitcase than the one they left their home with. This symbol is being passed on to all FYEG member organisations. By crossing freely across all borders in Europe, it symbolises the fact that goods can travel more easily than human beings. In the same time, it provides all FYEG member organisations with information on migration and refugees and with campaigning tools.Normally people travel with a suitcase. Ours is different : the suitcase itself travels with its owners. There are two dolls inside it : Semira and Ojomela. They symbolise a refugee and an economic migrant.
FYEG will report on the experiences of their trips throughout Europe, crossing borders and taking part in various events. Their passports should enable them to pass border controls and will show the different stages of their voyage. Stage number one: arrival of the suitcase in Belgium and departure to the Netherlands As Semira and Ojomela arrived with their suitcase some days before Christmas in Belgium, I welcomed them warmly at my house. They were even invited at my parent’s Christmas dinner. Even though they are not used to Belgian food, they were delighted about the cooking of my mother. The next day, on Christmas itself, I took them to an event organisedby ‘people help people’. At this event, people who are lonely or have no money to get a Christmas dinner themselves are invited.
Although Semira and Ojomela loved Belgium, they wanted to travel to the United Kingdom. But there were some small problems: they had no clothes and no passports. So I made some clothes for them and used my contacts on the black market to get them some passports. But it turned out those passports would cost 500 Euro each, which was way above the budget that had been granted me to spend on the suitcases. That’s why I decided to make the passports myself. I hope nobody will notice that they are fake passports! The main problem, however, was that the English smuggler let Semira and Ojomela down by not showing up. So I was thinking about travelling to the United Kingdom myself and taking the suitcase with me, but it turned out that all bus and train tickets were sold out. You can imagine how disappointed our dolls were. As Dorien from the Netherlands came to visit me, I passed the suitcase on to her, so she could take it to the election campaign prep team meeting in Amsterdam and pass it on to someone else.
You can read about her adventures with the suitcase in her report. I am very curious to know what road the suitcase will take, so please contact me when the suitcase arrives at your member organisation! And be prepared: it is probable the press contacts you very early in the morning to give an interview about the suitcase…