|Tjebbe van Tijen via Chello on Thu, 17 Sep 2009 08:38:28 +0200 (CEST)|
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|[Nettime-nl] The day Colonel Gaddafi made a courageous humanitarian gesture and came to Schiphol to pick-up his countryman Ahmed Al-J.|
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The day Colonel Gaddafi made a courageous humanitarian gesture and came to Schiphol to pick-up his countryman Ahmed Al-J.
September 16, 2009 by Tjebbe van Tijen INLEIDINGTwo days ago I went to a combined theatre performance and action meeting in the Brakke Grond in Amsterdam in support of the the Libyan migrant Ahmed Al-J. who has been at the center of years of court cases and juridical and technical researches about a fatal fire on October 27, 2005 in a detention center at Schiphol airport for migrants, waiting for the result of their appeal against planned extradition. Ahmed had at first been labeled by the court as the main culprit, because of a burning cigaret in his cell that set the whole section of the center aflame an left 11 people dead. Recently he has been acquited of this charge, as a whole series of management and construction mistakes have come to light, as result of a series of inquiries and counter-inquiries. I will not further detail this case too much here as the facts are widely known by now. The incessant support for the traumatized migrants by several action groups (of which at least two should be mentioned here Migrant To Migrant/M2M and All Included), lawyers and some politicians, have had some concrete results, but the essential question of who is to be held responsible for the fact that a single cigarette in a prison- like new facility can lead to so many victims, has still not been answered in a satisfactory way. Singling out the Libyan migrant and his cigaret has allowed to keep out of focus the planners, management and local authorities who have to control the safety of this detention facility (located at Schiphol Oost). Many see this as a form of scapegoating.
[image]Ahmed Al-J. who has now officially been exempted from responsibility for the death of 11 people, has found no clemency for his ordeal of the last four years (of which he spent two in prison). He has been ordained to be sent back to Libya. This in spite of the fact that he and his lawyer have appealed against this decision by the ministry for migration affairs. If he is still in the Netherlands at the moment of me writing? This I do not know.
Back to the theatre evening where three short performances were given, each of them by one actor in a monologue form. One by an Iranian migrant with a dance like performance about three generations of men being called into wars, especially referring to the mass slaughters of the Iran-Iraq War. Another, an attempt to give some insight in the inner soul of the protestant christian former Minister of Justice Donner who had abdicated because of his formal responsibility for the burned down detention center an tried the Catholic system of confession to find redemption. The last actor was a descendent of a maroon tribe of run-away black slaves in the former Dutch colony of Surinam, who did a sort of ‘winti- pré’ (Surinam form of voodoo) about the official hypocrisy of Dutch free citizenship.
After these performances there was a modest attempt at discussion and a question what could or should be done. This brought into my mind a series of recurring odd associations during the last months and weeks, with Libya as a binding factor.
Here we had an absolute non glamorous, low profile most probably economic motivated migrant from Libya who had had lots of bad luck and had been forced into unwanted infamy and fame (Ahmed always have tried to keep his face hidden when entering court, and has tried hard to keep any picture of his face out of the newspapers). While elsewhere another Libyan – also both infamous and famous – Gaddafi has been stealing the international news show. After having been re- introduced on the international stage, late 2007, by French President Sarkozy his star has been rising again. Sarkozy maneuvered the French state oil and energy company ELF/Total in a successful barter with Gaddafi exchanging wrongly accused Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian medic for new energy and other economic contracts.
It took another year before another President, Silvio Berlusconi, could not resist the historic opportunities and the money and energy reserves of Colonel Gaddafi and invited him for yet another reconciliation visit. The ‘acte the presence’ of the Libyan leader was once more overwhelming, but what stroke me the most was his show with a historical photograph pinned on his uniform, next to the battery of color-codified military medals, rubbing Italy’s colonial history straight in the face of its actual president at the very moment of his arrival. Then, shortly after, Gaddafi popped up as a guest at the G8 meeting and had a tête-à-tête with British prime minister Gordon Brown. Again a barter was made, this time a rightly accused and convicted countryman of Gaddafi, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, who in exchange for a Libyan energy deal, was abducted from the independent nation of Scotland – where he did his twenty years prison sentence – to be flown back to a glorious reception in Tripoli as a lost national hero.
[image]Welcome party at Tripoli airport of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, one of the Lockerbie terrorists convicted to twenty years of imprisonment, relieved from prison for humanitarian reasons as he has a terminal stage of cancer on August 22, 2009. Gaddafi commented to the international press on the British prime minister and the Scottish parliament, calling the freeing "a courageous humanitarian gesture." All these events and the images of them displayed in the media got connected in my mind – against all odds – with the case of the Libyan migrant in the Netherlands, who will await no happy crowds, who may need to fear for his well being once returned to his country. Visions came to me, in that Amsterdam theatre, where the question was posed what could be done for Ahmed Al-J…. I saw Ahmed being picked up by the Libyan leader with all his post-revolutionary pomp, the humiliation of the Dutch authorities, the oily business deals they would certainly made on the side…. and a need arose to visualize all this, if it would not happen in real, to have it at least performed as a concrete fantasy on my screen…
Tjebbe van Tijen Imaginary Museum Projects Dramatizing Historical Information http://imaginarymuseum.org web-blog: The Limping Messenger http://limpingmessenger.wordpress.com/ ______________________________________________________ * Verspreid via nettime-nl. Commercieel gebruik niet * toegestaan zonder toestemming. <nettime-nl> is een * open en ongemodereerde mailinglist over net-kritiek. * Meer info, archief & anderstalige edities: * http://www.nettime.org/. * Contact: Menno Grootveld (email@example.com).