Exactly one year since the march for freedom to the border with Egypt last year, hundreds of us were sent to Saharonim prison, some for a month and the vast majority for three months. The government is harshly determined on its policies to wipe out asylum seekers (Sudanese and Eritreans) from Israel.
42 of my fellow asylum seekers currently stay at Holot detention center were given 30 days last April to decide whether to leave to Uganda or Rwanda, or to be detained for an indefinite detention in Saharonim. Some of them had their asylum claims rejected and others haven't filed asylum because they did submit in 2008 when UNHCR was handling the issue. However, the government hasn't sent anyone to Saharonim. Human rights organizations filed an appeal to the Be'er Sheva district court against this forcibly repatriation policy but thecourt deleted it because no one is sent Saharonim yet.
I have been to Saharonim twice since 2009, I know what it likes to besent there for an indefinite period of time.
In one of my conversationwith a friend has only a week remained he said: ”I can't to go by myself, let them come and take me from my room.” Then he added: “I can't go to Rwanda and then beheaded by ISIS in Libya, let them take me”.
Last week the Ministry of Interior called eight of the asylum seekerswho were given 30 days to decide. These eight people are given 14days to prepare themselves for Saharonim because their decision is decisive: “we can't go to a third country because we know what our fate will be.” As of now, all those ordered to leave are only Eritreans, without a minimum consideration to the situation back in Eritrea, and the last united nations human rights commission UNHRC report which finds that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Government of Eritrea and that there is no accountability for them. The enjoyment of rights and freedoms are severely curtailed in an overall context of a total lack of rule of law.
A while ago, I said the Israeli immigration policy is not the worse,and surely we can't compare it with what happens in our countries oforigin, but certainly this doesn't make its policy right. Of course the immigration policy is getting worst all over the world. The persecution and threats to lives of individuals and groups from Africa is the cause for the influx of refugees and displaced people, but at least in other countries there is a quota. I can guarantee you that what happens in Israel have nothing to do with being a refugee or not, it is about being different, hence we are unwelcome.
It is very sad that a lot of negative opinions about asylum seekers don't understandthat it is not a fun thing to be a refugee. People don't understand that refugees are same human beings used to have normal lives and they lost so much of it and at some point we can't claim even our identity. What we are looking for is an opportunity to have a normal life once and for all. Yes there are people supporting us all the way, becauseIsrael is genuinely important and dear to them, in addition this issueis not just about immigrants and strangers but it is about whereIsrael wants to go and what society do Israelis want.
To be honest,there are a lot of people don't want us to be here, maybe of fear or paranoia but also maybe of hatred and nepotism. I can understand the fear and paranoia, but they should also understand our need for shelter and that we are not here forever.
I will never understand theracism and unjustified hatred. If morally Israel doesn't have to welcome Eritreans, Sudanese and Africans in general, I believe strategically it should. A lot of people in Holot don't rely on the Israeli public anymore which is really sad. They are rather concerned about home more than any time before for the fact that we experienced the shame and humiliation of not belonging. Our bodies are burning of mistreatment, lines for food, roll calls and immigration officers everywhere – But nothing moves if you aren’t free to act.
My appeal to the new interior minister Mr. Silvan Shalom, the immigration problem in Israel is challenging but not difficult to fix, all needed is courage, responsibility and conscience. To preserve and protect the rights of Israeli residents especially of south Tel Aviv doesn't require you to harm others by detaining or forcing them to leave. The interest and the creed of Israel compel you to welcome and protect those who long for freedom.
Viktor .E. Frankel said: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”