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June 11, 2024 40 mins

James is joined again by Mick and Roos to discuss the terrible conditions endured by asylum seekers at Ter Apel and how the community has organized to help.

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Also media.

Speaker 2 (00:05):
Hi everyone, and welcome to the podcast It could Happen here.
It's a podcast about the world falling apart and people
putting it back together. Today we've got a little bit
of both. I'm joined again by Mick and Rose. This
time we'll be discussing the treatment of migrants inside the
European Union, and specifically the treatment of migrants by the
government of the Netherlands in a place called ter Apple.

Speaker 3 (00:26):
Welcome to the show, guys. Thanks, thanks for joining us.

Speaker 4 (00:29):
Thanks good to be back, Thanks for having us.

Speaker 3 (00:32):
Yeah, thank you, it's good to have you. I wonder
if you could begin.

Speaker 2 (00:35):
We were talking about this before you recorded, and I
think it's very Obviously the migration laws in Europe are
very different, but so are the situations with regard to
shelter and just like facilities, with the US being so big,
we have them dotted all over the place. So you
were just explaining that this is a place where anyone

(00:55):
who wants to register for asylum in the Netherlands has
to go.

Speaker 3 (00:58):
Is that right?

Speaker 5 (01:00):
Yeah, so that's almost entirely right. So everyone who arrives
in the Nods and wants to ask for asylum has
to go to this village all the way on the
northeastern border with Germany, and that's where the only registration
center is for most asylum seekers. I believe only people
who do family reunification can go somewhere else. But yeah,

(01:20):
we have like one registration center for the entire country.
And yeah, yeah, I mean we have a tiny country,
but it still became a huge bubblenreck because it was
the only one. So it didn't work out.

Speaker 2 (01:37):
That well apparently, and that's why we're talking about it, right,
So just so people understand where these people are in
their asylum journey, Like they've entered the EU, right, and
then they've traveled to the Netlans, which is a country
where they want to claim asylum.

Speaker 3 (01:51):
Is that right?

Speaker 5 (01:53):
Yeah, exactly. So basically they arrived at their final destination.
So most people that I met inter Apple had already
been traveling for weeks, months, sometimes years, depending on how
much money and luck they had. Usually so yeah, they
would have either crossed the Mediterranean Sea or gotten into

(02:13):
Europe through Turkey or Belarus, and then they would have
crossed many many borders and many many border guards and fences, yep,
and they would have gotten stuck in places for weeks
or months before they could move on again. Yeah, and
people who would actually go to the registration center in
the Netherlands, that means they wanted to ask for asylum

(02:34):
there and probably stay there.

Speaker 2 (02:36):
Right, that would be like the country of residents going forward.
So can you explain I mean, I'm looking at pictures
of it right now. It's not hard. If you want
to look up pictures, you can spell it t ER
A p E L. But can you explain the condition said,
because looking at it, it's atrocious, like.

Speaker 3 (02:55):
From the pictures I can see, Yeah.

Speaker 5 (02:57):
I mean I saw many pictures before I went myself.
It's basically just a tense camp. So, I mean it's
a it's a shelter, right, So it's like it used
to be an army base. It can hold two thousand people.
It has loads of like small housing units where people live.
It has like a lot of offices for all the
registration steps and like the yeah, the immigration service, the police,

(03:22):
the shelter organization like blah blah, blah, bah blah. But
so like one and a half year ago, there was
a lack of shelter in the whole country, but specifically
also in the Apple And yeah, somehow the authorities decided
that the solution would be to just leave people on
the field that was inside of the registration in front

(03:42):
of the registration center, and so there was just an
informal camp, like people were sleeping outside for weeks or months,
not even intents, but they would have like huge kind
of banners or tarps that would kind of provide some shade.
So it was like mids was a very dry summer,
which for us was crazy lucky. The climate activists were

(04:06):
not happy.

Speaker 3 (04:07):
But we were happy.

Speaker 5 (04:11):
Yeah, So yeah, people were just like laying on the
ground and that was. Yeah. There were some that water
that were like dixies for toilets that were obviously gross,
and so yeah, what you would see if you google it,
you just see people lying on the field and just
being there for extended periods of time. But when I

(04:31):
personally went there the first time, it was kind of
worse than what I expected it to be because I
think the level of neglect was not visible on photo
or on video. So people would come to us and
tell us that they had show us really big wounds
that were infected, or people would come and tell us like, hey,
I had a heart attack. A few weeks ago. I

(04:52):
need this medication or I have diabetes or whatever. So
there was just this dystopian situation of this enormous facility
that can hold thousands of people and then a big
fence around it, and then people with clearly like very
serious medical conditions just standing in front of the gate
and the security guards just being like now, maybe like

(05:16):
a staff member will show up today, maybe not, but
like we don't care how dangerous situation is or something. Yeah,
just the fact that there was like no proper place
to wash, there were no toilets. The food was like, yeah,
I worked in camps across the borders, across European borders,
and I've seen a lot of like horrible food. But

(05:38):
like in their Apple, they just decided to rent a Yeah,
like if you have like a party or something, you
would just rent this place that will just sell fries.
So they were just giving fries to people like every
single day.

Speaker 3 (05:52):
Jesus.

Speaker 5 (05:54):
Yeah, just I mean just three packed food from the
supermarket would be more healthy then just fries every day
for a month, right, Yeah, So just a level of
like yeah, neglect, lack of care. It's just even even
more than what you can see on the pictures.

Speaker 2 (06:14):
Yeah, and like a complete like lack of like failure
of the government to address their basic rights and needs.
And how long can people expect to spend in that situation? Then,
like they have to they have to go there, right,
like if they want the asylum, they have to go there.

Speaker 5 (06:30):
Yeah, So, like the the irony was that the only
way to get shelter was to be there and then
be without shelter for you wouldn't know how long, like right, yeah,
I mean sometimes it was hours, especially for their women
and children. It was usually they would usually be let
in in the evening, but yeah, men definitely days sometimes
if they were not lucky, weeks. And it was just

(06:53):
also so like unclear, so people would just not get
any information. They would be there and then all of
a sudden hear someone shout and all start running towards
where the shout came from because maybe they would be
let in or yeah, I don't know, like guards would
just shout at them in Dutch and then be like
why don't you understand me? Or like it was all

(07:14):
just like consciously like it's so unnecessarily chaotic and therefore
also like people pushing around police getting like intimidating and violent,
and yeah, just is very chaotic and disrespectful approach to people.

Speaker 2 (07:32):
Yeah, it's worryingly similar to what we see in open
air attention. So it's here like they'll do it. People
are outside there too, they have an excell no shelter
there too. We volunteers make the food, so it's better
than that. Yeah, they'll turn up in a bus, like
I've seen them turn up in a bus and just
shout run and like, if you understand English, you run.

(07:54):
If you don't stand English, you see everyone else running,
so you run. And then they can only take thirty people,
and now had more than one hundred people come stampeding
across like just they've got to grab their bags and everything,
and it's yeah, completely unnecessarily chaotic and cruel. And then
once it let in, what can they expect from that?
They're saying in like a barracks or something were they're processed.

Speaker 5 (08:19):
Yeah, so it was very very chaotic. I think it
took them like almost a year to actually process everyone,
because they would just if a municipality would say like,
oh I have space for one hundred people, they would
just randomly put one hundred people in the bus and
drup them there and then a year later it would
turn out that they were never properly registered or something.

(08:39):
So but yeah, I think like there was a night
shelter not so far away from their apple, so that
was always like late in the evening, there would still
be a few buses going to that night shelter. That
was just a big sports hall I think, full of beds,
bunk beds or yeah, like stretchers and yeah, no privacy, see,

(09:00):
just like hundreds of people in one room. The lights
would stay on all night for safety reasons. But of
course that's also very cruel too.

Speaker 3 (09:07):
Yeah.

Speaker 5 (09:08):
Yeah, and then if people would get registered, they would
be usually sent to like a temporary or emergency shelter
because there was such a huge shortage of regular shelters.
So some people were living in sports halls without much
privacy for like half year or year or some people
are still there to be honest.

Speaker 2 (09:28):
Wow, yeah, that's crazy. It's atrocious. Talking of atrocious. Unfortunately,
we have to break the ad. We'll do that, Okay,
we're back, help you do it as ad of it.

(09:50):
And we're talking about tear Apple this, I guess Migrant
Reception Registration Center in the events. One thing I saw
when I was sort of doing and reading about this
recently was babies born to keep mothers or people in
the Teapal asylum center a seven times more likely to
die in or around perfect That is shocking. Yeah, so

(10:14):
is there just no access to medical care of people
like delivering babies in this asylum center.

Speaker 5 (10:21):
Well, I think the excuse of the government is that
they didn't have proper care during the pregnancy because they
were still traveling. Of course that is often the case,
Like yeah, yeah, but still it's insanely high. Seven times
more people dying, and especially when this super chaotic situation occurred, like, yeah,

(10:46):
we would have people in the field that we were
suspecting they were getting like hypothermia or you know, some
sort of yeah, strong physical reaction to the tough conditions
they were facing. But they could be dropped in the
night shelter, picked out again in the morning, being back
on the field, staying on the field for a few nights,

(11:06):
again going for one night to a night shelter, being
transferred to an emergency camp for two days, being transferred
to another emergency camp for three days. And during this
time there is no coherence medical care right, and of
course it would usually be a little bit better for
women and especially pregnant women, so they would try to
put them in a more stable place and like not

(11:27):
move them around that much, but trying is yeah, they
would not always actually manage to do that. So they've
definitely also been complaints, yeah, of people and especially like
pregnant pregnant women still being forced to move to a
different camp, like really close to the data the baby
was expected to come, and yeah, that definitely doesn't help. So,

(11:52):
I mean, the care on the field was absolutely horrendous.
I think women were usually not exposed to it that
much because we do. Yeah, there's also this weird sexism
in migration that men can always suffer more, which is
not always true, especially if you're not filtering out the
really thick men either, because I was definitely a lot

(12:13):
more healthy than a lot of the men walking around there.
But yeah, at least in the case of like pregnant women,
I think they would be moved out pretty quickly. But yeah,
it was chaotic. And then also you have like, of
course you have a lot of people who speak Arabic
or Farsi or dig Yeah, but you also have people
who speak on a link language that is only spoken
in a province of a country, you know, like it's

(12:36):
very hard to get proper translation for like all the
possible languages of people that apply for asylum. Yeah, but yeah,
I mean I definitely think the conditions, especially when there
were so many people living in really bad emergency shelters
or even on the streets, did not help babies at all.

Speaker 3 (12:56):
Yeah, oh, anyone, I guess no.

Speaker 2 (13:00):
Can you explain then, like this situation arose about about
a year ago, I think, right, so you were part
of a group of people that were able to respond
to help at least, I guess make it a little
bit less terrible. Can you explain a little bit about
about the group, about what you're able to do.

Speaker 5 (13:19):
Yeah, So, I mean we just so, I was already
a part of my grades, which is an organization that
like I personally worked on the borders, like providing food
and clothes and stuff like that to people on the move,
and migrades is more like also more an activist organizations
or organizing protests or campaigns and stuff like that. So
we just like went to see what was going on,

(13:43):
and then we very quickly realized that it was worse
than it looked, but also that there were so many
basic things that were not being done by the government
that we were actually able to do. So yeah, we
just asked around a lot for hours and hours, like
what do you need, what's going on? What is missing?
Like what is your imory issue at this moment, And
one of the main things people were saying was like

(14:04):
the food is fucking driving them and saying like yeah, yeah,
just the lack of flavor, but also just the lack
of health and yeah, people would just get like diarrhea
and stuff. And then it turned out, of course that
there were already some people around that wanted to do stuff,
so we just had a big call. And then it
turned out that there was like this squads where they

(14:26):
had a big kitchen and they were like, yeah, of
course you can cook here. And then there was another
like former squads where they also had a big soup kitchen,
and then I was like, okay, this is like it
was a big like media storm. It was a big
thing for the Netlands that this was happening because we
have this like, yeah, idea that we are perfectly organized
and blah blah blah, and that like all the bad

(14:49):
things happen on the border is still like at the
like with a very clear role of our politicians, but
like somehow, yeah, there's not much talk about that. So
it was like on the front page every single day
for weeks. So I thought, yeah, like because the people
that were already trying to do something, they were like,
how can we get enough money for the groceries and
how can we get volunteers? And then yeah, I was like,

(15:12):
we'll manage. If there's one thing I learned from the border,
it's like, if you start doing something, people will will
come and join. Yeah, and we first said like, okay,
let's just cook two times a week, you know, one
time in the squad and another time in the other squad,
and then it's like super doable, blah blah blah. And
then basically we started and it's yeah, there was just

(15:35):
no way back. So yeah, we said like okay, let's
send out food twice and then yeah, I just went
like day and nights being on the field, and quite
quickly we moved to food distribution every day because there
were so many people in the area that wanted to cook.
There was like an Islamic group that were churches. They

(15:56):
were like, yeah, from all over the country. People were
coming in action. And yeah, so first we did food
kind of because people really wanted it, but also kind
of because we just knew how to do it because
we had some people who had a big kitchen and
some experience cooking and in large quantities. And then quickly
it became like colder and rainy as well, so we
started to move towards leaving bags and ponchos and yet

(16:19):
just yeah, big distributions, and then we also started to
hand out tents, and then we got into a whole
fight with the municipality and the police because they were
constantly like confiscating the tents. Yeah, but yeah, we just
started with what we thought would be feasible to do,
I guess, and then it kind of escalated really quickly

(16:41):
to yeah, us being kind of responsible for a lot
of basic needs of everyone on the field, and also
us monitoring, like informing journalists because like the government would
be like, oh, no, there's nobody there on the field
right now, and then we would just like five minutes,
I'd be like no one.

Speaker 3 (17:02):
Yeah.

Speaker 5 (17:03):
So we also quite quickly like became a big part
of the whole political debate where like the government was
saying one thing and we were saying another, and like
they were all all the time trying to pretend that
nothing was wrong and everything was fine.

Speaker 2 (17:16):
And yeah, yeah, I think it's it's such a common
it's sadly a common experience, right. It's being like a
the government is lying to you, Like you can see
this with your eyes, so that you're being lied to,
and be like they're just going to leave these people
if we don't do something, no one will. Something that
we've had here. We see it, as you say, every

(17:38):
border in Europe more or less, right, Like it's just
a consequence of the way that like neoliberal capitalism has
decided to deal with migration, which is to make to
be as cruel as possible and to make it as
hard as possible for people. I wonder, like you've been
organizing there, at at least in this place for like

(17:58):
a year. I think I I want this to be
instructive for people, because like we've been organizing here too,
and we've learned a lot. Are there things that you've
learned that you think other people could take from the
organizing or or like and make you you also are
part of organizing in your area. If either of you
have things that you've learned about, specifically organizing to help migrants,

(18:20):
I'd love to hear them.

Speaker 5 (18:22):
Oh so many things. I'm probably gonna forget some of
the things I've learned. Well. I think one thing that
I've learned, and that I've learned over and over and
over again, is that if you start doing something, you
will find people who will join. And I think that's
one of the scary things when you see a gigantic problem,
and even if you know a concrete thing that you
can do about it, it's still, Yeah, there is a

(18:44):
lot of things that you cannot do as a single
human being. But I found this true in many countries
across the world, that if you just start and you
say that you're doing it, people will actually join. And
I found that as specially like painful in their apple
that we were on this field and there had been
so much media attention and there was nobody there, like

(19:08):
everyone was speaking about it and no one was doing anything,
and it was kind of depressing to witness that and
to feel that nobody It felt like nobody cared, right,
But as soon as we just started with this small thing,
like okay, you can donate to groceries, you can come
help cook, you can come help do the dishes, like
concrete things that you can do. Yeah, we were like

(19:31):
I think we got like a thousand people who wanted
to volunteer with us, which was like way too much.
We never got back to all of them because it
was just insane. We did not need thousand people to
cook food for two hundred people, so like, yeah, but
we just started, and I think, yeah, I think that
was really helpful, or I think that can be very

(19:53):
helpful if you're thinking about doing something like start small,
but don't be afraid that it will not kind of
grow because people will join and people will make it
into something bigger. Also a great lesson that I learned, Well,
it's very basic and understandable actually, but like try to
make Yeah, my experience is usually with like a mass distributions,

(20:17):
so you have hundreds of people, you have food or
blankets or whatever something that people really need, and it's
like so important to really plan the distribution well and
to really inform and discuss with people because that's one
thing that also happened in their Apple that at some
point people were just dumping shit on the field and

(20:37):
they were actually causing fights and causing tensions between people
because you cannot you can't show with five sleeping bags
when hundreds of people are in desperate need of a
sleeping back. You know, like that's kind of inhumane. And
I get that people have good intentions, and I get
that it could potentially mean that five people are less cold,
but like, yeah, some sort of shelter is a basic necessity,

(21:00):
so you cannot give that to a few and not
to others. So yeah, I think like, like the first
time we did the distribution into Apple, I was kind
of scared because people were spreading like there was a
lot of rumor about like, oh, it's so violent and
these people are like blah blah blah, and and of
course I kind of didn't believe it because I worked

(21:20):
with migrants for a long time and I know that
they're human being. You know, they're not so like shockingly
different than but I've also learned that you need to be.
They did not learn at all to trust anyone there,
because like people were lying to them. People were telling
them they would get shelter in the night, but they
would not. People would say that they would see a

(21:42):
doctor and they would not get to see a doctor.
So like the I think it's really important if you
want to help people that you take them seriously and
that you build up some trust. So for example, we
went the first time, we cooked so much food. We
were like, it's we cannot make it run out, you know,
like we want everyone to get as much as say
once and more. Yeah, even if we have to trash,

(22:03):
because like these people for once have to get the
feeling that it's like that we're there for everyone. So
like if you make if you do a mass distribution,
you usually make light lines and people have to like
wait for their turn. But we spend hours just telling
people like, hey, we're going to give out food. There's
so much food, you know, don't worry like it's toll

(22:24):
and then also actually live up to that of course,
make sure that there is enough food. Yeah, and like
try to make it like fun. And this is like
it's kind of awkward because you like I kind of
feel awkward about putting people in a line and telling
them to wait and you know like that because you're
kind of being bossing them around. But yeah, if it

(22:45):
goes well, once and everyone just feels like hey, here,
I don't have to fight to get to the front,
and here I can just chill out and we can
make a chat with each other and we can just
you know, smile and like wish each other a good day. Then, Yeah,
I think it's also really important to try to make
distributions kind of fun or at least as chill as possible,

(23:05):
and to like try to not make it another survival
of the fittest moment, because that is exactly what the
state is pushing people into, and that is what I
don't want people to get into.

Speaker 2 (23:16):
Yeah, I think that's very true. Like we've definitely learned
a lot of those similar things. I can't like put
enough emphasis on planning before you just show up and
do a distribution, Like we had so many fucking chaotic
it's not on. Yeah, people are fighting hungry and they've
had to fight to get fed for the duration of
the journey, be that days, weeks, months, or years, and

(23:38):
like there's no they're doing what like they understand to
be the necessary thing.

Speaker 5 (23:45):
Yeah, and there's it's absolutely not like humane to just
recreate that mode, you know, Like it's amazing to be
able to create a nice atmosphere where people can relax
and feel safe and feel finally treated like equally and
somehow like fairly again, even if it's just for a
very simple meal. But it's yeah, I mean you can

(24:08):
already get moody if someone jumps in front of you
at the supermarket. You know, I can get moody with that.
But it's like that, but then like way more extream
and for actual, yeah, things that you need to survive
all the time, Like it's yeah, it's hard to imagine,
I guess if you've never really been in a survival situation.

(24:29):
But yeah, it can be so much fun. Also, maybe
that's another good one because I remember people were feeling
sorry for me a lot when I was working there,
like oh my god, this must be so hard, And
I mean it was fucking hard sometimes, like I have
literally been standing there like pushing away tears and being like, no,
I'm fine, but I'm not fine at all. But also

(24:51):
it's fun, like you're just joking around and you're making
each other happy and you feel like you're part of
something bigger and you feel I think it's very empowering
to be like the state is fucking it up and
we can actually do it better.

Speaker 3 (25:05):
Yeah, very much.

Speaker 2 (25:06):
So like I think it's very like affirming, right, like
to be like we don't need like anyone telling us
what to do, We don't need anyone trying to control us,
like we can we can take care of these people
ourselves without creating mechanisms of control. And like I think

(25:26):
for me that was I like one of the reasons
I really enjoy doing it is that that like me
and my friends can care for these people. And it's like,
I don't know from my perspective, like I've had conversations
with hundreds of people from all around the world, Like
we would do things like play music while people waited
for food. If we had a friend who was able
to play music, you know, we had enough enough people.

(25:47):
We'd always recruit people from among the migrants to help
us with food distribution, which turned out to be great
because like they taught us different words in different languages
and like you know, I can say hot source and
like twenty five languages now, like.

Speaker 4 (26:06):
It was important parts yeah.

Speaker 3 (26:08):
Yeah, right, the real to death.

Speaker 2 (26:10):
But yeah, it was very and then like I remember
one night it was like in Septemy, it was so cold,
one of the cold nights it was in September, and
it was just about freezing, and like there were very
few of us back then, and we my friend had
some guitars and like drums, and we like parked the
band to block the wind and everyone sat around and
played the guitar and they played their different songs and

(26:32):
like we had all these really happy moments. Yeah it's
not like we said around.

Speaker 3 (26:36):
Crying all the time. Like it's no, not at all
very empowering, I.

Speaker 5 (26:40):
Think no, I think it's it's important what you just
said that. Also a lot of work can be done
by people themselves. So I remember a volunteer being like
I want to give out the food, whereas these guys
were giving out the food every day and they had
this tour routine and they were much faster, and you know,
like and also it's not about you feeling good about you.

Speaker 3 (27:01):
Know, like yeah, yeah, not that to help you.

Speaker 5 (27:03):
Yeah, you know, like listen to people, like really spend
a lot of time understanding what people need and what
they want and because it's really often not what you expect.
And yeah, make sure that people can also do stuff themselves.
And also like for example, if we would have tents
but not for everyone, or blankets but not for everyone,

(27:25):
instead of making like a very rigid decision of like
you get it and you don't. It's so useful to
just talk to people and to just be like, hey, sorry,
this is a situation or yeah. Like there were a
lot of fights because families were always allowed to go first,
but it was not really clearly communicated by the government's
like can facility and stuff. But when we were just

(27:48):
discussing with them, like, hey, how can we make the
distribution more chill, they were like, well, can women and
children and elderly people just go first? And I was
like yeah, or you know, I mean, it's not really
any of my business, like yeah, and then if everyone
just understands it and it's kind of clear and understandable

(28:08):
and explained, it's like so much more chill. Whereas if
you're just shouting at people and assuming that they will
not understand or assume that they will be selfish, you
are also forcing people into that role. Yes, and I
think it's really beautiful if you can snap out of that,
and you can, yeah, you can just be somewhat equal,
even though like legally or in a completely different situation.

Speaker 3 (28:33):
Yeah, totally.

Speaker 6 (28:34):
So what you're telling me is that if you talk
to people and treat them as human beings. That has
positive results for bad situations.

Speaker 5 (28:45):
Yeah.

Speaker 6 (28:46):
Yeah, this is a hot take, a very hot take.

Speaker 5 (28:51):
Yeah, breaking news.

Speaker 3 (28:54):
Yeah.

Speaker 6 (28:56):
I don't have nearly the amount of like field experience
that Rose has has. So but another thing that I
think is really important to highlight is that it's not
just It's not just the necessities I was part of.
I did first date at the No Border camp near
to Apple last summer, and some of the activists there

(29:20):
that a really admirable job day. I think they did
not go to their Apple because it was too politically
hot at the time, so they went to different centers
where migrants were living, and they handed out toys and
they hired a bouncy castle for the kids to play off.

Speaker 4 (29:39):
It was really.

Speaker 6 (29:41):
It was really basic in the sense that it didn't
need like massive fund massive funds or incredible avance of
organization that you need bureaucracies to handle. It was just
people thinking of ways like, hey, how can we make
these people happier or more comfortable or at least forget

(30:02):
for like a few hours about like the situation therein
because our media likes to, you know, dive onto every
time there's a fight in a migrant center, right, But
it's rarely discussed that if you put a lot of
people in a stressful situation on top of each other,

(30:23):
people will there will be tensions and there will be fights,
which is I think we don't cover that enough, right.

Speaker 5 (30:31):
No, And also nobody really cares because I think it's
It's one of the most beautiful things for me as well,
is that the solidarity that people show each other. And like, yeah,
you don't even see it half the time, but people
give each other like their waterproof jackets or I remember
one night it was a horrible night in their apple
and we didn't expect people to be there, and all

(30:52):
of a sudden there were hundreds of people and they
hadn't had food since the morning. And then people in
the camp they all get microwave meals and they kind
of hate them, but like they all have kind of
a stash, so they all like started to eat up
microwave meals and bring them outside. And they were actually
way more able to provide food on such a short
notice than we were. And it was not the best food,

(31:16):
but like everyone had food and they were even sharing
it with us, and we were all just like so
glad to be eating after ten hours in the rain
and in the cold. And yeah people, Yeah, I don't know,
carrying luggage for someone who has Like it's all the
time you see people standing up for each other, and
I think that is honestly an amazing thing. And maybe

(31:38):
more tough situations bring that out somehow more as well,
Like it's easy for most people in Western societies to
be very individualists and live very isolated and yeah, non
fulfilling lives, but then if you are in this kind
of situation in some ways, it can also bring out.

Speaker 3 (31:55):
The best in people.

Speaker 2 (31:57):
Yeah, I think so, Like we were just talking about
before we start, I did how like yesterday I was
out helping down by the border and around the two
Mauritanian guys who had carried a Chinese man with a
leg injury for two days and they couldn't even share
the same language. And like that walk is no that
hike is no joke. Like I do that with a
big backpack full of water. That's hard, and I do

(32:20):
a lot of hiking, but I wasn't carrying another human,
you know, But it can actually really bring out some
incredible acts of kindness. And I wonder, guys, we're running

(32:41):
close at the end of our signed time. If people
want to help, either they say they're in the Netherlands
and they want to come and help, or if they
want to help in a financial way, or maybe they
can do some remote so to help, maybe they can
respond to the thousand volunteers by email for you, how
can they do that?

Speaker 5 (33:02):
Yeah, donations are always welcome. We're currently not working in
their apple, but it doesn't look good. So usually the
influx is highest in summer and early autumn. And we
have like a far right majority in parliament since a
few months, so we're wouldn't be surprised if we have

(33:25):
people out on the streets again. Also, I think there's
a very big chance that the shelters for undocumented people
might close, so we would have a lot of people
on the streets then. So we need a lot of
solidarity networks and a lot of things, like a lot yeah,
so like, yeah, financial support is always welcome, but I
think it's also really important that people think about what

(33:46):
they can do in their lives and that it is
also something that they can manage inside of their lives.
So like not everyone can drop everything and yeah, move
to the other side of the country or whatever. But
if you can host one person, or if you can
support someone else who's hosting, like, there are ways, I think.
I think migrated does not have like all the options

(34:08):
to volunteer, but like we really hope that there will
be a lot of networks of solidarity that yeah, we
just need them across the country, I think, and I
do think there's like a serious risk of like more
criminalization of aid workers. We were also criminalized for handing
out tents. I got a letter that said that I

(34:28):
risk like three months of imprisonment for handing out tents.

Speaker 3 (34:31):
Oh wow, yeah Jesus.

Speaker 4 (34:35):
But there's democracy moments.

Speaker 2 (34:38):
Yeah, we need that European social democracy model everyone's talking about.

Speaker 5 (34:43):
Yeah, we are just doing great.

Speaker 3 (34:44):
Yeah yeah.

Speaker 5 (34:45):
And so, like tents were constantly confiscated and stuff, and
it was intense there because people had to be there
to get sheltered, which they legally were entitled to. But
it is a bigger trend, so regular homeless people will
also see their tents confiscated or smashed without them getting
an offer to get into a shelter. Right, So I
think the criminalization in our case was a bit extreme

(35:07):
because most of the criminalization had to do with at
least a very vague relationship with like smuggling or people
crossing borders, whereas like handing out senses like the most humanitarian,
basic thing that you can possibly do, and somehow they
still thought it was a good idea to criminalize that. Yeah,
I think we need to prepare for the fact that

(35:29):
our borders and our migration policies are going to get
more cruel and that the only thing that we can
do to help is like really strong networks of solidarity
and resistance, and that we might sometimes risk prison time,
but that we still probably need to do it because
the alternative is that we're just letting people be destroyed

(35:50):
in this system.

Speaker 2 (35:51):
I think that's very very good. Make do you have
anything bad work and people follow you, find more ways
to support, ways to show solidary t I think.

Speaker 6 (36:01):
What I plugged last time, like that polish from text campaign.
Find your local activist group.

Speaker 5 (36:08):
Or started, because we exactly exactly even if you're just
one person, it's.

Speaker 6 (36:14):
Like, yeah, like through social media you can find a
lot of people. Find your local squad. They will be
they will will want to help.

Speaker 5 (36:24):
Yeah, and maybe what you just said, like there's every
year no border camp somewhere in another Lars, so that's
a good place to start.

Speaker 6 (36:33):
Yeah, yeah, yes, you can find them on Instagram.

Speaker 4 (36:39):
I think I'm not on Instagram. I don't know.

Speaker 5 (36:43):
Yeah, it's there.

Speaker 4 (36:44):
That that's that. That's definitely an option. Atmosphere is great there.

Speaker 6 (36:49):
I don't I'm not on the socials, so you can't
find me if you want to.

Speaker 4 (36:54):
I'm sorry.

Speaker 6 (36:55):
And well I'm also like Rose you said, I do
some stuff with like a first aid collective. So if
you guys are if you are doing something and you're like, hey,
we could use some people with.

Speaker 4 (37:10):
Some degree of medical training, reach out to me.

Speaker 6 (37:14):
You have my contacts, because that is the kind of
thing I will most definitely get.

Speaker 4 (37:19):
Well excited is the wrong word.

Speaker 5 (37:23):
If sh hits the vanitser apple, we could really use
some first aid as well, then yeah.

Speaker 4 (37:28):
Yeah, yeah, reach out. I will.

Speaker 6 (37:33):
I will gladly come over there with all the medical
supplies that are scattered around my room.

Speaker 5 (37:41):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (37:41):
I think that's a good illustration there, right to finish up, like,
everybody has a skill that we can use, Like you
might not think you do, but you probably do. Like
someone knitted hats for us you know, if you're a
person who likes to knit, And we had people who
didn't think they had much to offer and then came
and just made sandwiches. And they created a method for

(38:03):
making sandwiches in bulk that like allowed us to make
more sandwiches more quickly. Everybody has even if you want
to be the person who washes the blankets and that's
a massive task that means somebody's warm at night.

Speaker 5 (38:17):
Yeah, that's an insane test. And also like maybe the
more intimidating tasks, Like I think it could be intimidating
to be like, oh, we're going to I don't know,
hundreds of men and everyone says they're scary, but indeed
there's also so much things happening in the background, like
collecting blankets, getting clothes, getting groceries. Like there's so so

(38:39):
many layers to it. And it can also be that
you collect tend blankets, but like hundreds of people collect
tend blankets, right, So it's also you're always part of
something bigger and there's always a there's always I think
that it's always very good to think that, Like, if
you're faced with a big problem, it's very hard to
get to the solution of it. But at the same time,

(39:01):
it's very easy to do a tiny thing about it.
And I think it's much more useful to do that
tiny thing than to be like, oh, I can never
get to the real solution of this problem, And in
the end you will kind of get to it by
doing that with more and more people and actually building
up collective power and resistance.

Speaker 6 (39:20):
Yeah, about the collecting thing, like, yeah, for example, I
know my parents still have like old toys from when
we my brother were younger. If you're in an area
with a refugee center, you could always just give those
toys to the people there. If you have old, old
children's books or something, people can use that to get
a grasp on the Gibberish that is the Dutch language.

(39:43):
These little things also matter a lot, and it's something
very impactful that you can do that doesn't take much
of your own effort.

Speaker 3 (39:53):
Yeah, it's very low threshold, right.

Speaker 2 (39:55):
And it makes a huge difference to make someone feel
cared for and welcome. That can make all the difference
in the world. What is Can you just spell out
the migreat website for us.

Speaker 5 (40:06):
Uh huh m I g R E A T dot org.

Speaker 3 (40:10):
Dot org. Perfect.

Speaker 5 (40:11):
It's like migration is great, migreat mi great.

Speaker 3 (40:13):
Yeah, I see what you're there. All right, Thank you
so much, both of you.

Speaker 4 (40:19):
Thanks, thank you for having us.

Speaker 1 (40:27):
It Could Happen Here as a production of cool Zone Media.
For more podcasts from cool Zone Media, visit our website
cool zonemedia dot com, or check us out on the
iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
You can find sources for It Could Happen Here, updated
monthly at cool zonemedia dot com slash sources. Thanks for listening.

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