... in deportations

Deportation class - for real?

16 Mar 2007 | 412 words | airtravel deportations migration business

So apparently some rather scary dudes from Austria (see picture below, but generally all males from Austria who are older than 50 give me the creeps) have come up with a really sick idea: Set up a charter airline that specializes in deportation flights from Europe to the warmer parts of this globe. If you believe the press reporting about their yet-to-be-realized plan then they are all about saving european taxpayers a couple of euros and making those forced deportations a little bit more enjoyable for everyone involved:

“With a professional service the deportations will be faster, chains will not be needed and the deportees can enjoy a meal.” The planned flights will have guards, medical staff and a representative of a human rights group on board, though there is no immediate news of plans for in-flight entertainment or a frequent-flyer scheme. [taken from an article from dermobilitaetsmanager.de, a website which advertises itself as the prime magazine about business travel]

Don’t really know where to start here. maybe with the ‘brilliant idea’ of having some clueless NGO provide in-flight legitimation. Mo doubt that there will be enough ‘human rights groups’ who are just waiting for that opportunity (they probably teach this kind of stuff during 1st year introduction classes for political science and communication studies students now). Or with the fact that they won’t have a frequent-flyer scheme? How lame is that? I mean even Lufthansa’s deportation classhad one way back in 2002!

But i guess none of this really matters. To figure out where this idea comes from, you just need to take a good look at the three people behind this ‘plan’ (deportation lawyer Hermann Heller, aviation consultant Heinz Berger and entepreneur Carl Julius Wagner): The picture pretty much tells it all: combine a sick obsession for military aircraft, with the urge to be some kind of modern day slave master and your wet dreams will inevitably make you fantasize about ‘asylum airlines’…

As usual the google ad-words engine is one spot on with its commentary sponsored links. the story on the mobilitäts manager site pulls up two google adds: one that suggests a probably even cheaper means of transport (but then these low cost airlines do not really fly outside of Europe so they are pretty much worthless when it comes to deportations) and the second one suggests a the next step for the deportees after they have finished ‘enjoying their meal’: Apply for a visa for the US:

I do not get it...

10 Oct 2006 | 427 words | netherlands xenophobia deportations

A little bit more than a year ago 11 people burned to death, locked up in a deportation prison on the premises of Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. they had been locked-up there because their presence in the Netherlands had been deemed illegal by the xenophobic dutch government.

A while ago some organizations staged a poster competition that called for designs for a poster to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the blaze and today they revealed the winning design at ImagineIC (link is in dutch). while i really liked the initiative to have this poster competition i am rather puzzled by the outcome: all of the designs are extremely abstract and to be honest, i absolutely do not get the winning design:

Makes me see a Dutch flag and the words ‘sour’, ‘sweet’ and ‘bitter’. somebody better explain me what this has to do with 11 people burning to death as the closest association i have is that burned flesh does have a distinctive ‘sweet’ smell, but i am quite sure that is not what the designer had in mind.

Now one of the organizers told me that i do not get it because i am ‘a foreigner’ and apparently the the govenernement has recently described the economic situation in the Netherlands as having been ‘sour’ during the past four years and promised that from now the times would be ‘sweet’ (hint: there will be elections in about a month).

Given this the poster still does not make sense to me. my best guess is that the Dutch must see some contradiction between their national flag and the ‘bitterness’ resulting from the Schiphol blaze. Given that most Dutch people that i know seem to have chosen to ignore the transformation into a xenophobic, paranoid, racist society which their country has undergone in the last 5 years and still believe that the Netherlands (and its flag) stand for feel-good liberalism, tolerance and openness, it might very well be the case that they perceive this poster as inherently contradictory.

Now it might have to do with the fact that i was indeed raised and born in Germany (and thus ‘a foreigner’) that i see any national flag pretty much representing exactly those chauvinistic attitudes that support murderous policies carried out against foreigners all over europe. For me this poster looks like a dutch flag with some arbitrary words on it (which first made me think of the amsterdam club called bitterzoet) and i seriously wonder how many foreigners in this country will be susceptible to the presumed irony of this design.

Barca mba Barzaak ...

05 Aug 2006 | 370 words | migration dead people deportations africa europe

… seems to mean ‘Barcelona or the afterlife’ and according to the Guardian Unlimited this is the phrase west African migrants say before they board those small fishing boats on the Senegalese coast that attempt to reach the Spanish Canary Islands some 800 nautical miles away.

The guardian article deals with how these often deadly emigration attempts of young people from Senegal are represented in local rap songs. it focusses on DJ Awadi the person behind the recent hit Sunugaal (‘Our boat’) which seems to combine outrage about the Senegalese governments failure to provide jobs for the majority of young people in the country with warnings about the perils of emigrating to Spain and the rest of the EU.

On the website the song is accompanied by a flash slideshow (click here if the link above does not work). the slideshow contains 51 pictures of exhausted, dead or otherwise sufferening black migrants on small boats, in the desert of in camps. pretty discouraging stuff in any case, and probably one of the more effective means to discourage someone from attempting to leave for Europe in a boat or through the desert.

This and the fact that the quality of the pictures available to the makers of the animation (these are not your average google image search results) makes me wonder if the song/slidshow has not been produced with the help of a European government or secret service or of the EU’s external border security agency Frontex (ok, the last option is extremely unlikely, given that those Frontex people have not even managed to get up their own website in more than a year). Guess this would be a far more effective way of spending money to deter migrants than building fences or flying people back in deportation class. Of course it would be even more effective to just let them in and not force them to take more and more deadly routes…

Ironically when you google ‘Barca mba Barzaak’ you get a paid search result for the MBA programme of the Barcelona Management Institute …

… and upon clicking on the link, the website greets you with the image of a happy young african MBA student. Barca mba Barzaak indeed!

Deportation class

24 Nov 2005 | 211 words | deportations airtravel european union books

Every time i have visited lawrence in Bangalore he recommends me a book to read during the rest of the trip. Last year it was Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (be careful his self presentation on his own site is really evil) which i really enjoyed.

This year he told me to read Transmission by Hari Kunzru. I have finished it yesterday night and it is again very entertaining. the main story is about an indian computer nerd who, when fired from his H-B1 job in the US, releases an unprecedented virus attack on the internets. There are a number of sub plots and one of them features an obnoxious ad agency owner who makes a pitch for the brand identity of the newly created European Immigration Agency. Instead of winning the contract he finds himself being arrested in am immigration raid by the same agency and deported to Albania:

At 2 p.m. when he was supposed to sit down with director Becker and the other members of PEBA’s public presentation working group he was at 35.000 feet, flying deportation class en route to Tirana, Albania.

It is nice to see the term which we have coined 5 years back to be used in generic fashion in a work of fiction.

meanwhile... is the personal weblog of Paul Keller. I am currently policy director at Open Future and President of the COMMUNIA Association for the Public Domain. This weblog is largely inactive but contains an archive of posts (mixing both work and personal) going back to 2005.

I also maintain a collection of cards from African mediums (which is the reason for the domain name), a collection of photos on flickr and a website collecting my professional writings and appearances.

Other things that i have made online: