Macedonian border brutality
Gerda van den Dool
13 Apr 2016 07:43 GMT
Macedonian machos in uniforms with guns, represent the freedom on the other side of the fence for the refugees in the camp in Idomeni. Full of expectations the refugees fill the fields at the entrance of Idomeni camp last sunday morning, along which the razorwire runs that divides them from Europe. The peaceful campside turns into a battlefield. Once again those who fled for conflicts and violence around their homes, find themselves in a warzone. As they approach the fence, the Macedonian border machos bring out their gasbombs and refugees respond with rocks. Although the majority knows that a hole in the raisor wire won't be an entrance to Europe, many families packed up their tents to stand here in solidarity and make a statement. To show the media their desperation and to gain sympathy from the outside world for their inhuman situation.
No mercy by the Macedonian soldiers that manage the border with Greece. It is weird to imagine that these intimidating individuals on eight hour shifts have passions and wishes such as watching today's soccer match on TV tonight. But here they stand, face to face with thousands of desperate refugees. Youngmen, women, grandpa's and grandma's, teenagers, kids and babies with one collective wish: open the border! Today these people from different nationalities unite in front of the fence: the physical product of immigration policies. This is literally the limit of European hospitality. And Macedonian men in uniforms with guns are the face of the world on the other side. They represent freedom. Last week a parade of refugee kids offered them flowers to defrost their army heart. Maybe in preparation of today's mission where pro-active adults decided on direct action. To cut the fence. Although the majority knows that a hole in the raisor wire won't be an entrance to Europe, many families packed up their tents to stand here in solidarity and make a statement. To show the media their desperation and to gain sympathy from the outside world for their inhuman situation. Full of expectations the refugees fill the fields at the entrance of Idomeni camp this sunday morning, along which the razorwire runs that divides them from Europe. There is a collective hope for a Merekel: a hope that the German counselor and politicians of this Promised Land will welcome them in soon.
Brave men from Syria, Afghanistan, Irak, Pakistan and Kurdistan form the frontline. They are fed up and frustrated. They are fed up with living in a camp, fed up with sleeping in tents, fed up with cold showers, fed up with standing in long lines to get breakfast, lunch or diner, fed up with dirty toilets, dirty clothes and dirty feet, fed up with limited information and illusionary solutions such as registration through Skype. Today the muddy grounds where they set up their simple settlements with recycled materials, where they light their campfire to cook sugary tea in recycled bean cans, this ground is the stage to express their feelings. The peaceful campside turns into a battlefield. Once again those who fled for conflicts and violence around their homes, find themselves in a warzone. As they approach the fence, the Macedonian border machos bring out their gasbombs and refugees respond with rocks. In the background of the battle, their family members and vunerable friends observe their fight. The clouds of gas doesn't shock them anymore. They are immune for the sound of bombs. It's a reminder of Syria which seems to be a better place to be right now.
Familiair with war and weapons, the fighters in the field know how to deal with the violence from Macedonia. They reduce the smoke by covering the falling gasbombs with blankets. Although it seems like a succesful strategy, lots of tears are shed this afternoon. Tears of desperation. Tears of pain as the gas burns their eyes. Volunteers run around with bottles of water and lemons: the remedy for the teargas terror. Toothpaste does the trick as well, people cover their faces in the white wonder substance. According to an old Syrian lady, unions are a magic tool too. She hands out small pieces to the crowd.
There is excitement for revolution, to raise a voice, but victims are falling. The Macedonian teargas-bombs are sent in the crowd with no hesitation. Guys carry their hit compagnions on their shoulders to the road where a group of DIY medicals are ready to treat them. A man runs in with a blacked-out baby in his arms. Another brings in a young girl which body seems parralized. There is panic. The frequency of explosions seem to increase by minute and the target of the bombs comes closer to the passive crowd. An Italian friend makes his way to the frontline to film the brutality. His video proofs how the Macedonian army crosses the boundaries of humanity as they throw rocks and shoot him a rubber bullit on the chest which explains the shiffering camera. Although the regulations read that these weapons should not be implemented on passivists, the soldiers shoot unselectively. Yet another case of their misuse of power. But who controls the controllers? The events of Sunday 10 April 2016 confirms all the previous stories about Macedonian punishment for rebelious refugees. Those who ever came too close or crossed the border beyond legalities, returned with bruises and were beaten up by the beasts in uniforms.
The Macedonian police shift of today is extra hours. They hurry to their comfortable houses where a warm meal awaits. And the only punishment they get for their brutal behaviour is missing out on their football match of tonight on TV. They were too busy playing their own game. They did a great job on goalkeeping. Kids with injuries and many men in hospital.