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Alles klar (everything alright)?
a project by Alireza Abbasy

As the accumulated number of people with foreign origins increased dramatically all over Europe, particularly during the last decade, the issue of immigration has become a high priority topic in European politics.

Germany is a special case in Europe, in terms of its discriminatory laws against asylum seekers (refugees). In September 2012, a group of refugees in Germany started their 600-km protest march (which took them more than a month) from Würzburg all the way to Berlin.

They had three clear demands:

1. abolishing of the Lager System – Lagers are mass accommodations in Germany built in isolated locations to keep the refugees.

2. abolishing of Residenzpflicht – A law unique to Germany, which restricts the free
movement of asylum seekers; they are not allowed to leave the residency they are
assigned to. The size of the residency is regulated differently in different provinces. It may be limited to the district, the county or the state in which an applicant must reside. A 2007 complaint to the European Court of Human Rights against this violation of fundamental human rights was not accepted for judgment.

3. stopping deportations

The group got to Kreuzberg, Berlin, in October 2012 and was warmly welcomed by some seven thousand demonstrators. The refugee protest camp was set up in Oranienplatz (a main square in the center of Berlin) and the refugee protesters spent the entire winter in freezing tents which bent down under the weight of the snow. In December 2012, the refugees together with several groups of German activists occupied a former school in Ohlauer Strasse (10 minutes from Oranienplatz) which has become the second critical location for the movement.

My connection to the refugee strike was very personal. My best friend, whom I know for 15 years, after a sequence of unexpected events, ended up as an asylum seeker in Germany. Feeling totally lost and hopeless, with no money, no friends or family in Berlin, he was introduced to the people in Oranienplatz. He immediately joined the movement, became an active member, and spent the long Berlin-winter in the tents and later in the school.

When I moved to Berlin (April 2013), I started shooting Alles Klar?, a photography project to document what is going on in the refugee protest, but not from a detached and journalistic perspective. It is not about the plight of humans living in dire conditions in refugee camps but about dedicated political activists who are fighting everyday in their lives to make a meaningful change in a repressive political system which generally does not tolerate people it calls ‘aliens’.

Oranienplatz, April 2013

Oranienplatz, April 2013

 

Oranienplatz, after a meeting, April 2013

Oranienplatz, after a meeting, April 2013

 

Oranienplatz, Open plenum, June 2013

Oranienplatz, Open plenum, June 2013

 

the occupied school, Ohlauer Strasse, April 2013

the occupied school, Ohlauer Strasse, April 2013

 

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the occupied school, after a meeting, April 2013

 

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the occupied school, May 2013

 

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the occupied school, June 2013

 

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the occupied school, June 2013

 

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Oranienplatz, April 2013

 

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the occupied school, August 2013

 

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Oranienplatz, view from the info-tent, May 2013

 

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Gambacher Kreuz, May 2013, five buses of activists (including one bus of refugees) were stopped on their way to Frankfurt to join the Blockupy Action

 

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17 June 2013, a peaceful music action blocking the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Bundesinnenministeriums

 

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17 June 2013, a peaceful music action blocking the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Bundesinnenministeriums

 

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17 June 2013, a peaceful music action blocking the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Bundesinnenministeriums

 

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17 June 2013, a peaceful music action blocking the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Bundesinnenministeriums

 

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17 June 2013, after the action, in the police van. The musician in the cell across mine continued playing her violin

 

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June 2013, deportation prison inside the Eisenhüttenstadt lager, at the time this caption was being written (August 2013), nine people in the prison were on hunger strike

 

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Juma’s bed, 4 days after his death, Eisenhüttenstadt lager, Juma, 21 years old, hanged himself in his room, on May 28th, 2013

 

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Fight Racism Now demo, Berlin, 25 May 2013

 

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Demo after the refugee tribunal, June 2013

 

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Fight Racism Now demo, Berlin, 25 May 2013

 

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Demo after the refugee tribunal, June 2013

 

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the occupied school, June 2013

 

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the occupied school, June 2013

 

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the occupied school, July 2013

 

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the occupied school, July 2013

 

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the occupied school, May 2013

 

Profile

Alireza Abbasy is a visual artist born in Tehran, Iran, and based in Berlin, Germany. Also, he is a co-founder of Sarmad, a blog to feature the work of young and talented photographers. Please view his website  for further information.

Contact

ali(at)alirezaabbasy(dot)com

All images provided by Alireza Abbasy.
This work was submitted by Alireza Abbasy on 20 March 2014.

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