Thursday, October 26, 2006

Migrants are world citizens like you and me

Posted to the nettime-l list:

The below made me think of the thing I´d written in March 2006 titled "architectural arrangements for exclusion". Read thát as background perspective of where I´m coming from with this posting below. Though, what I include below is purely a copy of an e-mail and my own writing does not surface there. Another point is that one cannot have lived in Spain for a year and not be acutely aware of immigration, of "los sin papeles". Especially over the summer, the number of migrants arriving daily on (being trafficked onto) Spanish shores cannot have gone unnoticed by even the most disinterested politics-averse of human beings.


Commemoration of Schiphol Detention Centre Victims

Join the live stream on Thursday night, October 26, 2006 from 8 pm
until Friday 27th 10 a.m
Go to:

Tonight a live web stream will be produced to commenorate the people
that died at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport (The Netherlands) during a
fire at the temporary detention centre in the night of 26-27 October
2005. Eleven irregular migrants were killed, and fifteen other people
injured, as a result of the fire.

One year later, on the night of 26 to 27 October 2006, commemorations
will be held all over the Netherlands in memory and respect of those
who lost their lives in that terrible night one year ago.

Commemorative service in the Dominicus Church, Spuistraat 14,
Amsterdam, 07:00 08:30 p.m.

Family, friends and survivors will gather before the gate of the
detention centre at five minutes before mid night, the exact time the
fire broke out. An all-night vigil will be held at Schiphol East
detention centre, Oude Meer, Ten Pol 64, from 09:00 p.m. 8 a.m. the
next morning.

Turning point: Schiphol

A calamitous fire at Schiphol Airport deportation centre in the night
of 25-26 October 2005, in which 11 defenseless migrants died, was the
immediate and shocking cause for denouncing Dutch immigration
policies and initiating the LEFT WITH NOTHING campaign (named
"vertrokken gezichten" in Dutch). Its objective: immediate abolition
of detention of migrants. All people should be equally free to cross
borders as money, goods and services!

The catastrophic fire at Schiphol was a sad and all-time low in 20
years of restrictive immigration policies in the Netherlands. Our
objective is to make it a turning point. The campaign intends to
demonstrate that there are better ways of approaching the realities
of global migration issues: together with survivors and the next of
kin of the victims we mark the occasion of this tragedy, while trying
to turn over a new leaf.

Deportation and detention centre Schiphol-East was built as
expeditiously and cheaply as possible, in answer to the need to
construct a large number of low-cost holding cells at the earliest
possible notice. Holding cells for detaining large numbers of people.
Their safety was not an issue: efficiency was key. The fire at
Schiphol thus shows the true face of Dutch immigration policies in
all its horror.

We seek to highlight that the fire at Schiphol was by no means an
isolated incident. Rather, it was a direct result of our national
immigration policies, where parsimony is the operative word the core
policy objective is to expel illegal aliens as cheaply and
expeditiously as possible.

The Campaign

LEFT WITH NOTHING intends to translate the widespread feelings of
unease and horror into real solidarity. We raise money in support of
the victims and to help them rebuild their lives, for meeting the
costs of legal redress and for active campaigning: Detention of
innocent people must be stopped!

LEFT WITH NOTHING directly addresses the survivors immediate
needs.The campaign runs a contact point for all those who are victims
of the fire: including all those who have been branded illegal, those
who have subsequently been deported (!) and those who have had the
random good fortune of obtaining generally only temporary official
status. The campaigns support team of professionals and volunteers
provides them with much-needed opportunities to unburden, share
experiences and receive assistance.

Solidarity means support for migrant self-organisations, cooperation
with individuals and groups working on alternatives and researching
human trafficking and chains of exploitation.

Excluding people, hunting them down, locking them up and deporting
them these are the core elements that sum up Dutch immigration
policies. Outrageous policies, which make many victims. In the
Netherlands, some 22.000 migrants - people who have not committed any
criminal offence - are put behind bars every year, with fewer rights
than the average suspected criminal. Children, women, men: Anyone
failing to produce the required documents, is mercilessly locked up.

For LEFT WITH NOTHING, solidarity also entails mutual support and
cooperation, allowing people to contribute from their own
(professional) backgrounds and perspectives. As such, we offer
perspectives to act to all those who are burning with shame for the
way newcomers - migrants as well as illegal aliens - are being
treated in our society.

Eleven people died in the calamitous fire at Schiphol Airport
detention centre. Their deaths are the immediate and tragic result of
exceedingly restrictive Dutch immigration laws. Laws to exclude, hunt
down, lock up and deport innocent people.

Some 298 people were being held at the Schiphol detention centre when
the fire broke out: each and everyone a of them a victim of this
terrible catastrophy.

We call for solidarity with all of the victims.

We demand that detention of aliens with the sole objective of
expelling them from our country be ended forthwith!

Migrants are world citizens like you and me!


Support the victims of the Schiphol fire. All donations into the
Postbank account. no. 609060, in the name of X-Y, Amsterdam (NL) with
a reference to Victim Support (VS), will be gratefully received and
put to good use.

Post your ideas and initiatives to LEFT WITH NOTHING at

LEFT WITH NOTHING - an X-Y Solidarity Fund initiative is linked to
the Amnesty Now!

and No Imprisonment of Children


XminY Solidarity Fund
De Wittenstraat 43-45
NL-1052 AL Amsterdam
T ++ 31 20-6279661 F ++ 31 20-6228229


Related Links:


Concerns of Amesty International

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Where next for science in Africa?

E-mail received from SciDev.Net:

Dear colleague,

Today SciDev.Net brings you a collection of material that examines some of the key players and issues concerning African science, technology and innovation policy.

In the run-up to the Congress of African Scientists and Policy makers (CASP), which takes place in Alexandria, Egypt, from 27 to 29 October 2006, SciDev.Net is publishing three articles that are directly relevant to this meeting:

· a report summarising the opinions of a group of individual scientists and policy makers who have been involved in an on-line discussion;

· the views of the African Union's commissioner for science and technology; and

· an editorial highlighting the need for Africa to ensure a balance between scientific priorities and a development-focused agenda.

Taken together, these three articles demonstrate that African scientists, policymakers, science communicators, research funders and investors all have a part to play in shaping the agenda for the next African Union (AU) summit meeting. This will be held in January 2007 and will discuss the role of science, technology and innovation in the continent's development.

Last month, the Science and Development Network (SciDev.Net) launched an email discussion group to stimulate debate on these issues. It is now publishing a collection of views from this discussion group, as many of the individual comments relating to issues such as knowledge management, Africa-centric solutions, information flow and a model law on biotechnology have implications for the discussions that will be taking place during CASP. To read the report visit:

To view the ongoing debate or to add your comment visit:

Nagia Essayed, the AU commissioner for human resources, science and technology, has a challenging task: to develop and harmonise Africa's policy on science and technology. Raising awareness of the role of science and technology in tackling problems such as sanitation, water and food security, she believes, is the way to obtain the political support from the continent's heads of state that is needed to ensure that adequate funding is made available. To read the interview visit:

David Dickson looks at the need to establish a careful balance between scientific priorities and a development driven agenda in creating a workable science and technology policy for Africa. To read the editorial visit:

SciDev.Net's special AU summit site brings together its coverage of the run-up to the summit, which will look at the role of science, technology and innovation in the continent's development. The site features relevant news, key documents and links. To read more visit:

Please circulate this information about these articles, the SciDev.Net AU summit site and its discussion group to your peers.

Please accept our apologies if you have already received this message through cross-posting. If you would like to update your details or cancel your registration with SciDev.Net please go to

Best wishes,

David Dickson
Director, SciDev.Net

SciDev.Net is the world’s leading electronic source of free news, views and analysis about science and technology in the developing world. Through support from international aid agencies, all SciDev.Net content and services are free of charge.

Monday, October 23, 2006

observed uses of the Internet that are llamativo (i)

i was leisurely reading the saturday 21 October European edition of the El País (i´ve as yet not adopted an English printed news source), when in reading the page 2 story about Putin´s "rape joke" and its consequences at the Finland meeting, I noted that according to the article, some persons present at this high-level meeting searched the Web to confirm the rumour of Putin´s gaffe:

Los jefes de Estado y de Gobierno se quedaron ayer estupefactos tras conocer la apología de la violación verbalizada por el presidente ruso, Vladímir Putin...
La sala en la que ayer permanecían reunidos los embajadores y altos funcionarios de la UE se convirtió en un ir y venir de fotocopias con las declaraciones de Putin, que en seguida entregaron a los jefes de Estado y de Gobierno. Otros, buscaban en Internet tratando de confirmar lo que decían no poder creer.... (my emphasis).


Then, reading today´s El País online (I only buy the paper version on weekends) I see that some e-mail and sms grassroots political campaigning has been going on in Spanish society. At issue is the following: recent weeks have seen lots of brouhaha around who will be the next Mayor/ess of Madrid. Lots of speculation, which is not so unusual, but it was said that the current Vice President, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, Spain´s first woman in this role, might be the PSOE ´s (Spain´s "Partido Socialista Obrero Español" - Socialist Workers Party roughly translated, and current ruling party) candidate for Mayoress of Madrid. The story headline goes "Queremos que De la Vega siga siendo vicepresidenta. Pásalo" (We want that De la Vega continues to be Vice-President. Pass it along.) which echoes the words of the sms and e-mail which have apparently been circulating in Spain. A second e-mail in support of De la Vega has also apparently been circulating under the auspices of the Red Ciudadanas de Europa (RCE) , a society whose President, Paloma Saavedra, claims that according to surveys, De la Vega is the most popular member of the Spanish government.

So, what did I do but plug in my spanish sim card to see if a message had accidentally strayed into my mailbox (it hadn´t) --- smile.

environmental sounds / sonidos ambientales

funny how the little things about differences in culture, strike one. such as i realise that the sound of the garbage disposal out on the street here in Oxford has the same sonic pattern as of thát back in South Africa. Garbage disposal in Madrid had a different "ring" to it altogether.

Friday, October 13, 2006

oh boy (pobrecita)

yesterday, thursday, i got swamped by what can only be called "homesickness". i did not see it coming, and when it happened, didn´t know what to do about it, except just let the emotions happen and wait for them to pass (much like a storm, i guess).

what i did do actively (cf. the passive response above) was run out and (try to) play soccer at 4pm. i learnt all sorts of things about ball control; found out i was very wary of making contact on the field; and am surprisingly not as pained the day after as i´d thought i would be. so, en fin, exhausted body, healthy mind :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

grain of sand / granito de arena (time capsule)

i hopped along to the yahoo time capsule initiative, and looking at the love category the following thought/impression came to mind: I feel as if I am looking at the intimate family photo album of people I´ve never known.
For, unlike many of the photos one can see online, these, maybe because they are a menagerie, seem like one-offs filled with sentiment and heavy with meaning. They are the sort of photos that people tend to put on their mantelpiece, except now it´s being "put up" digitally.

Various human emotions are being captured and represented, invariably in some kind of visual expression (It is interesting to note that the category LOVE outstrips the others three-fold, and that for instance, unlike ANGER which is characterised by lots of text expression, LOVE is almost exclusively wordless). As the data sets for the categories will grow within the next month (there is a deadline for submission), I wonder how the categories will hold up. Current tally is as follows:

Love: 365 discrete items
Anger: 29
Fun: 137
Sorrow: 32
Faith: 74
Beauty: 164
Past: 66
Now: 84
Hope: 119
You: 138


Monday, October 09, 2006

uno aprende a cambiar de domicilio

Leí lo de por arriba en el "El Páis" del sábado pasado, pensando en las palabras que escribí aquella misma noche de lo fácil de acostumbrarme a la vida nueva, un ritmo nuevo, aquí por Inglaterra. En su poema "Segundas conclusiones" el poeta granadino Luis García Montero. Para evitar un encuentro con los abogados en servicio del susodicho periódico, cabe enlazar al poema entero.
In short, for those who do not follow, it reads "one learns to change one´s place of residence". Rather unpoetic (my translation). Meaning to signify that this ability to change place of abode is not something one is born with; it is something you invariably learn.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

my new home

well, the blog title needs qualification. meaning that, as is obvious, it is a "not so new" home, and then whether it is "home" is also to be questioned since after all, the role of a university is to educate people who then move on and out. i´ve been here ten or so days by now. it is scary the ease with which i am settling in! rolling stone?...

the pic above is of (a part of) keble college (do see the aesthetically pleasing web site and also the static pic tour and virtual tour). it is saturday night, as the blog timestamp will so ashamedly reveal... before you think that this (blogging on a saturday night) sounds really pathetic, let it be noted that i am sitting in my flat, nursing a flu-ish me. there is a party close-by (a college bop), nice funky music wafting through the air. i am missing out (blah). anyway, it´s not a good idea to go out. i will only regret giving my immune system the setback a smoky pub environment will elicit.

i am at the OII to read for the DPhil, and will there blog about my academic / research pursuits (yes, a separate blog then, which does not signify that a new blog sounds the death knell for this blogger blog . nope. al contrario.)

i´ve met a number of fellow Keble grad students by now. really nice (and of course diverse) bunch. being here is truly fascinating, to say the least. a microcosm of the globe.