[ 01. Sep 2007 ]

No Border Camp Ukraine - a retrospect

noborders in ukrainian, russian, and english

From 10. to 20. august 300 people from about 15 different countries ame to Uzhgorod near the Slovak-Ukrainian border. The region Transcarpatia is a really interesting place for such a camp, because here you can see the displacement of the migration policy, including "management" and closure of migration to and over the European borders.


Despite problems with electricity and drinking water, 2 day before the camp started, it was decided to take place near the river where it was suppost to be at the beginning. So in the first days, the infrastructure was a little bit improvisatory. A first interesting workshop was about the migration policy in the different countries of the participants, which took quite a while.

During the day further workshops took place and on Saturday and Sunday evening two buses full of people went from the camp to Uzhgorod, where a festiva took place. It was organized by the no-border camp. There were concerts on the main place in the center town. A lot of people stopped and the spirit was really great. On the big video screen, which is normally used for sony advertisement, no-one-is-illegal logos were shown and speeches were delivered. So the message was quite clear. More and more people started dancing. Shouting "no border - no nation - stop deportation" slogans the people went to the buses and got back to the camp. A further event during the no-border festival in Uzhgorod was a panel discussion in the puppet theater of Uzhgorod.

During the camp a lot of workshop focuses on migration themes took place, for example European neighborhood policy, migration and workers movement, internal racism and nationalism , the Ukrainian migration regime, the detention camp in Pavshino, upcoming no-border camps in the U.K. and at the American-Mexican border, Dublin 2, and more...

Beside these themes and a meeting of different food not bombs groups, there were a lot of other workshops like hitchhiking in eastern Europe, communication networks in Russia, indymedia in eastern Europe, Anti- Repression, squatting, anarcho-feminism, theater of the oppressed, domination over children, capitalism is not a conspiracy, critical view on activism, PGA and so on.

Exhausting and sometimes quite controversial and sometimes quite freaky were the morning- plenaries. It became clear, that there are a lot of different approaches and ideas for such a camp.

On Wednesday, there was a concert on the camp, a lot of vodka, stage-diving and other pogo games. Based on a quite impressive workshop about the situation in the camp in pawschino two actions for the Friday were planed spontaneously: On part of the activists went to the camp in pavshino, the other part made a demonstration truth Uzhgorod.

So 30 to 40 people went to the military saved detention camp, deep in the forest. Here, men who where arrested during their effort to cross border are caged. The camp is totally overcrowded, the toilettes are damaged, there is not enough drinking water. The situation there is a total human catastrophe and shows exemplary the inhumanity and brutality of the sourced out European border regime. In front of the gate, slogans were shouted, noise was made and banners were shown. Some prisoners came to the windows and in front of the barracks and waved.

When the border guards threatened with police, the activists left, to avoid repression inside the center. Later as this group but also early in the morning as this group, more than 100 people left the camp in direction to Uzhgord . People spread leaflets in front of the migration office and inside, slogans were shouted, and banners call attention to the demands. The flay of the Ukraine was exchanged with an red-black anarchist flag. Sprayed slogans pimped the walls. After this, a demonstration went to the local authorities building and afterwards spontanously and loud through the city. During the way, hundreds of leaflets were distributed to the local public.

The last days of the camp were unfortunately dominated by security discussions. The reason for this fears was a football match in Uzhgorod and some threats from Ukrainian nationalists.

Despite difficulties and discrepancies, the camp offered a space for a lot of discussions and exchange between activists from eastern and western Europe. Even if I had the impression that not so much concrete campaigns or a perspectiv after the camp had been developed, many exchanged addresses and the "when will we meet again?" gives hope. At least, some publicity to the relatively unknown camp in Pavshino was made (unfortunately not the detention center for women and children in Mukacheva). Hopefully the fight against borders, deportation camps, racism and all this shit will go on. In this context greetings to the no border camp in the U.K. and at the border to Mexico. And a "No Border No Nation Stop Deportation - No Nation No Border Fight Law and Order" to everyone.

This article was published first on 29. Aug 2007 @ ::