Schlagwort-Archive: Team Friendship

A visit to FC Lampedusa St. Pauli’s central midfielder in deportation detention

FC Lampedusa St. Pauli trilogy, part 2

“I know who YOU are, I know who HE is and I know that HE plays football for your team – which I find such a great project”

(Officer in charge at the “Departure Custody Facility” at Hamburg Airport)

 

A visit to FC Lampedusa St. Pauli’s central midfielder in deportation detention.

Since 2016, the Hamburg foreigners’ registration office has been operating its own detention facility.

In this compound, only clerks of Hamburg’s foreigners’ registration office and employees of a private security service work. These clerks detain people inside the registration office; have them committed to their self-operated jail by their own co-workers; and, then, guarded until the detainees are deported by plane – a process that is completed in just four days.

But what does it look like, and how does it feel to be inside the Detention Facility?

After our, FC Lampedusa St. Pauli’s, landing at Hamburg Airport from Barcelona on 30 November 2016 (see part 1 of our trilogy), we immediately called the Detention Facility asking if one of us could come to visit our detained Habibi right away, since we were calling from the Airport. The guy at the other end of the line informed us that the visiting hours ended at 18h00, so there’d be a chance if we make tracks. Who exactly would be visiting? he asked.

“A friend”, I replied. We’ve just landed ­– returning from Barcelona – and were appalled to learn that our bro had been detained. “Yes, I do have an ID with me and would leave the team at the airport, ask them to look after my luggage and take the next taxi” I added.

“But you know that it takes a while to get to the facility as it’s not at the directly accessible from the airport but on the far side of it”, the voice at the other end of the line informed me.
“I do know. Yes, I’ll surely make it before six, though”.

After five minutes driving in the taxi, I received a call back and am told by a male voice that it would be no longer possible to come. “Come again? I’m in the taxi already and on my way”, I replied. He was sorry, he said, but a visit would be – for organisational reasons he wasn’t authorised to explain – not going to happen today. I tried to persuade him to bring our midfielder to one of the gates or a fence – at least – so that I could see and talk to him from the other side. I even promised not to touch him. However, the guy just said that he wasn’t authorised to permit this and that I could come the next day at 10h00. Totally upset, I asked the driver to return to the airport, where I got out again. Alone, in the rain, I was back at the airport.

Thursday morning: I was off to Niendorf, a district in the north of the city, where the deportation facility is located. Through the rain, I passed detached houses and a fence, cross the ground of the local sports club and enter a wood. From this club’s parking lot, I called the number on the washed-out paper, which was covered in a transparent film and taped to the gate: “Deportation Detention Facility Hamburg. Visitors register here” (followed by phone numbers). The man on the line answered: “We’re coming”. Coming to where, I asked myself.

Through trees and underbrush, behind another fence wrapped in barbed wire you can see white-blue containers. Alright, this is what they mean with “where”: the massive iron-gate, through which you can only just guess the silhouettes of three or four people in the drizzle. Behind a fence “secured” with barbed wire.

“I have an appointment for 10 o’clock”, I explained clumsily. “Okay, come in. First go through the gate, then through the entrance door”. The gate opened, closed, the door opened, closed.

Holy shit, what a terrible place they have brought our FCLSP player to. All alone – on top of that!

On the one hand, it is actually a sort of relief to know that this place doesn’t have even more people forced to be waiting for their deportation. In the middle of a wood, behind barbed wire, in a jail made of stacked containers. But an entire jail for just one player of FC Lampedusa St. Pauli? Hard to take, all alone in the middle of nowhere.

He is only the fifth detainee in the “departure custody” that the Hamburg foreigners’ registration office erected near the airport only recently, after “two Azerbaijani, one Armenian and one Egyptian”, according to a local newspaper. For only four days, the registration office is permitted to detain refugees in their own jail.

Then I’m let in with my trolley bag which I – after the return from Barcelona – emptied quickly in order to repack it for our Habibi, so that he has at least his stuff. Into jail, for the plane, to deportation!

There’s not much that he can call his belongings: in about 2 years after having left his home country, looking for, as he said, “for a place where he can just be what he is and where he can live in peace.” Approximately two years of incomprehension, container camps, summons, harassment, rejection, escape, loneliness, speechlessness and the constant fear of getting detained and deported. Back, back to… back to where?

Back to where he, for good reasons, jumped at the first opportunity offered to get away from? Back to where there was and still awaits only incomprehension, harassment, rejection, loneliness and things being even worse? Back to a country and a society that has been broken, torn apart, destroyed, brutalised and traumatised by war and the legacy of it? Back to where there is misery, displacement, corruption, intolerance and hopelessness? Cooped-up and barred at a place where there’s nothing?

The place where he was actually born but doesn’t have to live his whole life. What sort of person is entitled to decide upon where other people may live and where they may not? And who are the people assuming they have the power to decide upon it?

In the office, I’m greeted by two female and three male officers from the foreigners’ registration office. At the door, through which I entered, stands a female employee from the security company, with her male colleague at the other. One of the female registrations office clerks introduces her to me and requests my ID. A phone call is made asking if I’m permitted to enter at all.

“Negative!” – “I’m sorry? Oh, stop it, you sent me away yesterday already. I’m bringing his belongings.” – “But, be happy, ‘negative’ at us means ‘positive’!”

It is, for sure, another world.

She assigns me a shelf in a locker where I have to put everything I’m not permitted to take in with me: my jacket, bag, money etc. Then, all men left the office and a second female security person entered, taking position at the other door. Now, exactly four women are in the room with me. First, I have to remove my shoes, pull down my knee socks, take off my jumper, open my trousers, then I have to stand against the wall. There is a particular piece of carpet you have to stand on. Spread eagled and facing the wall I am roughly frisked at first, like at any FCSP home game, before things turn into a real body search: putting hands down and lifting t-shirt and tank top, showing bare back, turn around, showing bare breast, turn around, hands back against the wall. “It is for his own safety”, the lady did claim.

Without words! In the end, I’m allowed to put my hands down, turn my face away from the wall and to put my clothes back on. But I’m not permitted to sit on her chair again while putting my shoes back on.

Then, the men come back in. They search the trolley case.

All pieces of clothing are unfold one by one, touched and searched and the empty case is checked thoroughly. When I said that it was checked only the day before at Barcelona Airport, someone snapped at me that, “This is Schengen area. Nothing is checked in this.” Well, I do hope it’s not right!

Half an hour later, the (mostly sports) clothing is unpacked, searched and at least somewhat acceptably repacked. Meanwhile, the “suitcase search officer” tried to start a chatting about football – FC St. Pauli, Altona 93 and FC Barcelona. He’d be a football fan himself, he said, and would be familiar with it. “How was Barcelona?” he asked. “You’ve certainly been in Camp Nou, right?” When he told me that I could not take the freshly searched Barça gift bag into the jail, we – after all, we’re “football fans” – agreed on that I could take the Barcelona gifts in their original package into the jail, showing him them, bringing them back outside where he could check them once again and then put them into the suitcase.

So things go – apparently – among “football fans” only!

Then I’m finally allowed in. However, I don’t know where to go as I’m, fortunately, not familiar with this place. Then, they bring me to our Habibi who waited for me inside an unbelievably ugly, uncomfortable, bare and cold visitors’ room. He looked pale, skinny and overtired. No surprise, given this terrible and lonely place. But still he was being brave. We hug and talk about the situation “in there”. He asked about our time in Barcelona and that he didn’t want to spoil our great trip. Which is also why he insisted to us not to tell anyone about his terrible situation. He’d been so sorry, he said.

And how we were sorry. After all, it’s not us being put into jail without warning and facing deportation the next morning. A situation terrible to imagine. However, impossible to be stopped, despite all endeavours of his barrister. What a shame!

And, in midst of all horrors, we also did have an occasional laugh.

Brave young FC Lampedusa St. Pauli player!

But now we really would have to come to an end, as it was past 12 o’clock already, the security person in the corner watching the visit, informed us. I went back to the office, returning the Barcelona gifts and then, to the foreigners’ registration office clerk, who’s authority operates a jail where they detain people for the only purpose of deporting them. Unexpectedly, the clerk tells me that he knows who I am, that he – pointing to the hall, where our dear brother and FCLSP player is standing and looking at me for the last time through the open door, knows who HE is, that he knows what WE do and that HE plays for our team. He’s interested in football as well and finds FCLSP such a great project.

If this is the case, then he should release our central midfielder right now, I say.

“Well”, THIS he, of course, couldn’t do – but why can’t he?

The next morning, on Friday, 2 December 2016 at 7 pm the FC Lampedusa St. Pauli player, our Habibi, our bro and friend, was deported by plane from Hamburg Airport.

On a home game day of FC St. Pauli!

(Original version(s) available on http://fclampedusa-hh.de/?cat=2; English version: Thomas, Nick)

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One Saturday in October. Scenes of a – forced – farewell.

Hamburg Bus Port, the central coach station of the “Free“ and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the Gateway to the world. An elderly woman watches the happenings around her, she’s been doing it for two hours already. Whenever the group moves, she does too, like a shadow. She tries to figure out what’s going on and who exactly this group of people might be. She doesn’t ask any questions.
Other passengers did that already. So she could obtain some information “Oh, a football team? Lovely! Where are you going?” the cruise passengers queuing up for their bus ask.

Well, we, our WE that is, is going nowhere today. Sadly!
Certainly, we would prefer to go elsewhere, too – playing a friendly match or a tournament with friends, for instance. “We have to say goodbye to two of our players again, because two of our brothers and their families were ordered to leave the country!” one of our players explains. “Oh no, that’s terrible“, one lady says while another one asks “Why?”. So the players of FC Lampedusa St. Pauli tell the waiting people the story of the past two years: a story of hoping and waiting, of panic and the permanent fear of the police coming for them in the middle of the night – as happened to another one of our fellow players and his family – even though their legal advisor told them that there was nothing to worry about.
The people around become aware that it’s not easy subject for the players to talk about. Their eyes show fear, the fear of possibly being the next. Many of the waiting tourists have children themselves, kids of the same age. It is the autumn holidays in Hamburg. People leave the city for a quick break from the grey rainy sky, to “catch some rays“and for some lazy days on deck of a cruise ship. Having some days away from stress at school and the pressure to gain good marks.

The two boys and their three younger siblings, together with their single mom, being ordered to leave Hamburg and their football family would be all too happy if they could swap places with the other kids, including the stress and pressure. Instead, they have to leave, to go ‘OUT’, right in the middle of the school year, right in the middle of the holidays. Without having the chance to say goodbye to their friends and teachers and without getting given their school reports, which would be the prerequisite to attend school in their so called “safe country of origin” – assuming that you have the necessary funds and you’re not a member of an ethnic minority.

More and more players arrive at the bus station, to greet their ‘bros’ and if you didn’t know the actual reason for this gathering, you would easily think it was part of an ordinary weekend in the life of FC Lampedusa St. Pauli.

They now all sign a brand new ball which is passed on quietly and without touching the ground. After all, it should not get dirty. The German dirt should be left where it is, one of the players says roughly. It’s a distraction, to have the feeling of togetherness in these hard times.

At least, the sun shines. At “home”, which the older ones only call “back there” and of which the younger siblings have absolutely no idea of, winter is near already. The day before they had to quickly buy new winter jackets, says R., the friendly retiree, who was looking after the family over the past two years, so warm-heartedly. It is also him who seeks to talk to the coach company employee in the office, after the drivers from “new old home“ refused to accept their luggage. Two years of living in Hamburg are spread on the platform: one big plastic bag per person. The mothers question about the extra charge she wouldn’t mind paying is not answered. A first impression – to outsiders – about the fate this family is to face in about 21 hours time. It is not even necessary to speak the same language to see and understand how racist and discriminating the future of this Roma family will be.

Meanwhile, the elderly lady still watches the happenings. In a way, she has already become a part of our group of grievers. One of the players and the love of his life have to part, which is amongst the biggest and most heartbreaking drama on this sunny morning. She can stay while he has to get ‘OUT‘. Everything that gave them and their young lives a sort of comfort in this extremely difficult year is now taken away from them. For people at this age nine months – the term of the entry ban applying to the entire family – is a very long time. They’re still too young to marry; otherwise, it would have been way more difficult to tear this young couple apart.  

While the team is still talking insistently to the coach drivers, tears burst out of people again and again. R., the good old soul, returns with the positive info that the luggage may finally be loaded for an extra charge. Everyone gives a hand to stow the bags in the most space-saving way. The FC Lampedusa St. Pauli players get into the coach’s luggage compartment, packing and piling bags and cases. After all, there’ll be more people getting on board during the long journey. Perhaps some of them sharing a similar fate.

While we’re all crying and taking pictures with the, newly sympathetic, almost befriended coach drivers, the elderly lady wonders if the starting point for that man, who took care of everything so warmheartedly, was a situation similar to the one she has just witnessed in this bus station on this Saturday in October. Maybe she wonders if she too should look for a family, and support them?
This, we do not know. But what we do know is that we cannot and do not want to emotionally endure weekends like this ever again.

This is why we keep on going, raise awareness, pool more strength and – with our football family – to play our part in creating a better world where everyone finds him or her self-a place to live, that they have chosen. A world where all people can live everywhere they want to, where they feel home, where they can be whatever they are and where it absolutely does not matter in which corner of this one world they and/or their parents were born. 
All stay – where they want!
here to play – here to stay!

All the best, your FC Lampedusa St. Pauli

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Ein Sonnabend im Oktober. Szenen einer VerAbschieBung.

Zentraler Busbahnhof der ‘Freien’ und Hansestadt Hamburg. Busdrehkreuz am ‘Tor zur Welt’.
Eine ältere Dame beobachtet das Geschehen, seit 2 Stunden steht sie da jetzt schon.
Bewegt sich die Gruppe, bewegt sie sich mit ihr, wie ein Schatten. Sie versucht herauszufinden, worum es hier geht, was das für eine Konstellation von Menschen ist. Fragen tut sie nicht.
Das haben andere Passagiere schon getan. So konnte sie ein paar Information ergattern. “Ah, ein Fußballteam? Das ist ja toll! Und wo fahren Sie hin?” fragen uns die AIDA-Kreuzfahrtgäste, die in langer Schlange auf ihren Bus warten.

Wir, also unser WIR fährt heute nirgendwo hin. Leider!
Wir würden jetzt auch lieber woanders hinfahren, zu einem schönen Freundschaftsspiel zum Beispiel oder einem Turnier mit und bei Freund_innen. ‘Nein, wir müssen uns heute leider schon wieder von zwei Spielern verabschieden, zwei unserer Brüder und deren Familie müssen das Land verlassen!”, erklärt einer unserer Spieler. „oh nein, das ist ja schrecklich“, sagt eine Lady, „warum“?, fragt eine andere. Die Spieler des FC Lampedusa St. Pauli erzählen den wartenden Menschen die Geschichte der letzten zwei Jahre, die Geschichte von Hoffnung und Warten, von Panik und der ständigen Angst davor, mitten in der Nacht von der Polizei – wie ein anderer unserer Mitspieler und seine Familie – abgeholt zu werden, obwohl der juristische Beistand sagte, die Familie brauche sich keine Sorgen zu machen.
Die Leute merken, dass es den Spielern nicht leicht fällt darüber zu reden, sie sehen in ihren Gesichtern die Angst, die Angst davor, dass sie die nächsten sein könnten. Viele der wartenden Tourist_innen haben Kinder, Kinder im gleichen Alter. Es sind ja Herbstferien in Hamburg, noch mal schnell raus aus dem Hamburger Schmuddel, ‘nochmal Sonne tanken’, ein paar Tage faulenzen an Deck, jenseits von Schulstress und Notendruck.

Diese beiden Jungs und ihre drei kleineren Geschwister, die mit ihrer alleinerziehenden Mutter in einer Stunde Hamburg und ihre Fußballfamilie verlassen müssen, würden nichts lieber tun, als sofort mit ihnen zu tauschen, Schulstress und Notendruck inklusive. Sie müssen weg, ‘RAUS’, mitten im Schuljahr, mitten in den Ferien, ohne sich von ihren Schulfreund_innen und Lehrer_innen verabschieden zu können, ohne Zeugnisse ausgehändigt zu bekommen, die die Voraussetzung dafür sind, in ihrem sogenannten ‘sicheren Herkunftsland’, die Schule besuchen zu können. Vorausgesetzt man hat das nötige Kleingeld und gehört nicht zu einer ethnischen Minderheit, versteht sich.

Immer mehr Spieler kommen zum ZOB (Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof), begrüßen ihre ‘Bros’ und wüsste man nicht, worum es hier gerade geht, könnte es wirklich wie ein ganz normales Wochenende im Leben des FC Lampedusa St. Pauli aussehen.

Sie unterschreiben alle auf einem nagelneuen Ball, der sich leise und ohne den Boden zu berühren zugeworfen wird. Er soll ja nicht schmutzig werden. Der deutsche Dreck soll gefälligst hier bleiben, sagt einer der Spieler sinngemäß. Ablenkung. Das Gefühl haben, zusammen zu sein in dieser harten Zeit.

Zum Glück scheint wenigstens die Sonne. In der ‘Heimat’, die die Grösseren nur “Zurück” nennen und unter der sich die kleinen Geschwister so rein gar nichts vorstellen können, ist der Winter schon im Anmarsch. Gestern wurden noch schnell neue Winterjacken gekauft, erzählt uns R., der nette Rentner, der sich die letzten Jahre so herzlich um die Familie gekümmert hat. Er ist dann auch derjenige, der mit dem Busunternehmen im Büro das Gespräch sucht, als sich die Busfahrer aus der “neuen alten Heimat” weigern, das viele Gepäck mitzunehmen. Zwei Jahre Leben in Hamburg liegen auf dem Bahnsteig, eine grosse, buntkarierte Plastiktasche pro Person. Die Frage der Mutter, wie hoch der Aufpreis sei, dass sie ja gerne dafür bezahle, wird nicht beantwortet. Erste Eindrücke für Außenstehende wie sich das Schicksal dieser Familie in ca. 21 Stunden fortsetzen wird. Dazu muss man nicht die gleiche Sprache sprechen, um zu sehen und zu verstehen, wie rassistisch und diskriminierend die Zukunft dieser Roma-Familie aussehen wird.

Die ältere Lady beobachtet weiterhin das Geschehen, man hat sie schon fast mit aufgenommen in unsere Trauergemeinde. Einer der Spieler und seine große Liebe müssen sich verabschieden, das wahrscheinlich größte und herzzerreißendste Drama an diesem sonnigen Vormittag. Sie darf bleiben, er muss ‘RAUS’, alles, was diesen beiden Menschen im letzten Jahr ihr extrem schwieriges, junges Leben versüßt hat, wird ihnen jetzt genommen. Für Menschen in diesem Alter sind 9 Monate – so lange gilt die Einreisesperre für die gesamte Familie – verdammt lang, zum heiraten sind sie noch zu jung, sonst hätte man diese wundervolle Liebe nicht so einfach auseinander reißen können.

Während das Team immer noch auf die Busfahrer einredet, bricht immer wieder eine_r in Tränen aus. R., die gute alte Seele, kommt mit der positiven Nachricht zurück, dass das Gepäck gegen Aufpreis nun tatsächlich doch mit dürfe. Alle helfen das Gepäck so platzsparend wie möglich zu verstauen, die FC Lampedusa St. Pauli Spieler klettern in den Bauch des Busses und packen und stapeln Taschen und Koffer. Es werden ja noch weitere Leute auf der langen Reise zusteigen, Einige wahrscheinlich mit ähnlichen Schicksalen.

Während wir im Tränenmeer versinken, mit den inzwischen wohl gestimmten, fast schon verbrüderten Busfahrern letzte Fotos machen, fragt sich die ältere Dame sicherlich, ob es bei dem
älteren Herrn, der sich so warmherzig um alles kümmert, wohl auch so angefangen hat wie bei ihr,
an diesem Sonnabend im Oktober.
Vielleicht sollte sie sich auch mal eine Familie suchen und sie unterstützen?

Wir wissen es nicht. Was wir allerdings wissen, ist, dass wir das emotional nicht jedes Wochenende aushalten können und wollen.

Deswegen machen wir weiter und hoffen, dass wir noch mehr Aufmerksamkeit schaffen werden, noch mehr Kräfte bündeln und mit unserer Fußballfamilie unseren Teil dazu beitragen, eine bessere Welt zu schaffen, eine Welt in der jeder Mensch ihren oder seinen selbst auserwählten Platz findet, egal wo das auch immer ist. Eine Welt in der alle Menschen leben können, wo sie wollen, wo sie sich zuhause fühlen, wo sie sein dürfen, wie sie sind und wo es keine Rolle spielt in welcher Region dieser einen Welt man das Licht der Welt erblickte, bzw. die Eltern geboren wurden.
Alle bleiben – wo sie wollen!
here to play – here to stay!

Euer FC Lampedusa St. Pauli

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