With this call we would like to invite all interested people to participate in the conferences in Berlin and Dessau as well as the demonstration in Dessau, all of which will be held in memory of Oury Jalloh, Layé Konde, Dominique Koumadio and all other victims of racist police brutality.
05 January 2008 – Memorial Conference in Berlin for the victims of racist police violence; 4 p.m., Mehringhof, Gneisenaustr. 2a, U6/U7 Mehringdamm
06 January 2008 Black Africa Conference in Dessau; 10 p.m., Beat Club
07 January 2008 – Demonstration in Dessau for the 3rd anniversary of Oury Jallohs murder, 1 p.m. Mainstation
NO ONE WILL BE FORGOTTEN!
FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE AND REPARATIONS!
Three years have now gone by since the German police murdered two Black-Africans. On the 7th of January, 2005, Oury Jalloh and Layé Konde were killed by the police. One may ask the question, what crime might they have committed? The answer: fulfilling the image of an enemy to this society being seen as both Black and foreign.
Like Oury Jalloh, Layé Konde, too, was forced to flee from his home in Guinea to seek refuge in Sierra Leone, before the war in the West African country once again converted both Oury and Layé into refugees for a second time. Both Oury and Layé found their way to Europe to Germany where they hoped for a life in dignity.
But what they found here was not paradise but rather hell on Earth: police controls based on the color of their skin, a society that despises and rejects them, laws that completely restrict their freedom of movement to just a few kilometers, the permanent threat of deportation and all types of racist attacks all formed part of their everyday reality that is until they were murdered.
But Oury and Layé were neither the first nor the last human beings who had their lives stolen away from them because of where they come from or the color of their skin. On April 14, 2006, for instance, with shots to the leg and directly to the heart, a police officer in the city of Dortmund shot and killed the 21 year-old Congolese Dominique Koumadio. They apparently found him dangerous because of the color of his skin. Another refugee, the 23 year-old Mohammed Selah, lost his life on January 14, 2007 in Remscheid, because the responsible authorities denied him the necessary medical treatment.
As almost always is the case in such tragedies, the truth is twisted and buried, justice is postponed indefinitely and inevitably denied, and evidence is falsified and disappears. Moreover, those who engage themselves in the struggle for truth and justice are the victims of character assassination and are also persecuted.
The case of Oury Jalloh has been no different. Nevertheless, one major aspect makes the case of Oury Jalloh stand out from the many, many others: thanks to the active engagement of a large number of people from throughout Germanybut first and foremost the refugees of Dessau themselvesthe case of Oury Jalloh has not simply been forgotten and converted into just another number to be archived in some bureaucratic shelf.
In other words, contrary to what they might have expected, Oury Jalloh was not just another Black whose life was stolen away from him. In part, this is because the struggle of so many people made it possible that court proceedings were opened up against two police officers. Moreover, thanks to numerous demonstrations and memorial events, the brutality of his murder was made known all over the world.
Nevertheless, as we have seen over and over again since court proceedings were opened in March of 2007, a public trial against the accused police officers does as much to uncover the truth surrounding Oury’s death as does the legal system serve justice. In other words, the tactics used by the authorities since Oury’s murder on January 7, 2005, have continued unabated: arrogance, cover-up, endless postponement and lie after lie after lie without exception. And as if it weren’t enough that one witness after the other lies, blocks and covers up the truth, psychical evidence disappears in the hands of the police.
Yet there is more to this embarrassing show trial. The truth has been completely banned from the entire process altogether. This is not only because the police called by the court are consciously making a mockery of their obligation as witnesses to tell the truth, but primarily because racism and all circumstances relating to racism have absolutely no relevance for the High Court of Dessau.
Like the personal background of the principal accused, the racist comments made by the aforementioned Andreas Schubert to Dr. Bloedau, who took Oury Jalloh’s blood, have no importance for the court whatsoever. We shouldnt forget that it was under the supervision of Andreas Schubert that the homeless man Mario Bichtermann lost his life in the same cell in which Oury Jalloh was murdered (the pre-investigations were closed without Andreas Schubert even having to respond for his actions). But in the case of Oury Jalloh, the court is indeed very interested in knowing how violent he was, how much he drank, if he was depressive, etc., etc. Yet on the other hand, the court also has no interest in examining the relationship in the city of Dessau between the police and those people from other continents who have been forced to live in the city due to the racist laws which restrict their movements. As such, the court also completely excludes the brutality, humiliations and racist repugnance the police have for migrants in general and Black-Africans in particular, all of whom are stigmatized, excluded and criminalized on a daily basis.
The Criminalization of a Human Being
The persecution suffered by Oury’s friend and representative of the Jalloh family, Mouctar Bah, an activist and founder of the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh sheds much light on the type of scandalously negative image which exists of Blacks. Mouctar Bah has successfully run a Telecafé in Dessau for four years now. His Telecafé in Dessau quickly turned into the only place in the entire region where migrants and particularly Black-Africans surrounded by a racist and unfriendly environment could have a place to even breathe a little and feel a bit more secure. Yet (or better yet, therefore) the authorities took away his commercial license in 2006. As a result, Mouctar was forced to turn his store over to a German. The reason? The authorities had decided that Mouctar had not done enough to prevent drugs being sold on the street. All other shops and institutions located on this street did not even receive a warning.
Now, over one year later, according to the law Mouctar has a right to recuperate his commercial license. Nevertheless, the prohibition imposed by the city of Dessau that Mouctar no longer carry out commercial activities in the city was upheld. The reason? Put briefly: The Telecafé is primarily frequented by Black-Africans who go back and forth to the Telecafé on foot or on bicycle more than once a day (according to the city of Dessau, a clear sign they are dealing drugs). Moreover, according to the city of Dessau, they, the Black-Africans, are loud, urinate on the houses, use the street as a waste bin, are violent and, by frequenting Mouctar’s Telecafé in the city of Dessau located outside of their assigned districts, violate the laws restricting refugees’ freedom of movement.
As for Mouctar, who has twice been attacked by a known right-wing extremist (the same person who repeatedly calls the police because of noise, trash, urinating, etc.) in relation to the case of Oury Jalloh, the city of Dessau has the following words to say: A behavior which makes repeated police investigations necessary leads us to conclude independently of the results of the investigations that you are a person with serious deficiencies of character who obviously does not accept the societal norms of living together or the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Several neighbors, whom the city of Dessau cites to sustain their racist arguments, even wrote in a letter to the city administration that drug trafficking is predestined to take place when a Black-African is given permission to open such a shop.
Of Banana Republics and Show Trials
Confronted with the constant and obvious lies of the Dessau police, in a very theatrical gesture Judge Steinhoff of the High Court of Dessau slammed his fist on the table and warned that Germany is no banana republic where police can simply unashamedly lie before the court, as they have been doing since March of this year. Nevertheless, since that time until today nothing has changed, and thanks to Judge Steinhoff the truth has been completely banned from the court proceedings. As it looks now, there is no hope that the trial will result in neither truth nor justice for the Jalloh family. Just as in the so-called banana republics, in which the impunity of the powerful is the norm and the people’s right to live has been and remains permanently banned, where people have no protection from the law and its enforcers but can only fear them, we can clearly see in the city of Dessau, in Germany as a whole and even Europe how precisely this system is the norm rather than the exception.
Nevertheless, such horrendous systems and their executioners can only survive so long as the people do not find the courage to stand up with pride, dignity and without fear of their brutality and look directly in the eyes of those who perpetuate it.
Three years have now gone by since Oury and Layé lost their lives. Much has happened in this time. It would have been easy to give up, to remain silent, to wait for the court decision, to avoid the use of the word murder and much more. But we have refused to desist. We have refused because we are standing up side by side, one for the other; because this barbarity must be put to an end so that it does not continue as his has until now, from one generation to the next.
That’s why we have risen up. That’s why we will continue with our struggle until the very end.
We’re still here, we’re still furious and we still cry out:
BREAK THE SILENCE!
FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE AND REPARATIONS!
We call on all to participate in our activities from the 5th to the 7th of January, 2008, in Berlin and in Dessau. Come and mobilize your friends and acquaintances. Let’s show those who brutalize us that we stand together, and that an attack against one is an attack against all of us.
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