On 03.11.2020, after a rally on the 30th anniversary of Rafael Blumenstock’s death, we placed a symbolic memorial on the Münsterplatz. We wanted to remember Rafael and express our demands for a new monument. With another action we now point out the inactivity of the city.
English subtitled: You can find out all kinds of things in german exhibitions. Above all, however, one learns something about the German self-image and historical consciousness. The gibberish about a “zero hour”¹ and the many German victims 75 years after liberation is disconcerting. If the same work had been put into the clarification and reappraisal of the fascist crimes, much would have been gained.
Yesterday, a rally of the Seebrücke Ulm, announced at short notice, took place. Although there were only two days between the announcement and the rally, several hundred people were on site. We and the people from the Seebrücke estimated 300 to 400, press reports speak of 500 participants.
It’s nice that more people than ever before take part in rallies of the Seebrücke, but it’s unbearable that we have been going out on the streets for years because of the same topic and almost nothing has changed.
This was also part of the speech that one of our activists gave yesterday. Here is the english text version:
We stand here again today.
For the same reasons that many of us stood here in April.
The humanitarian catastrophe and the complete failure of the EU in dealing with refugees. But not only in Moria.
The people there have been homeless not only for a few days. They have been homeless for years. And for years we have been hearing the same old phrases.
There must be contingents.
There has to be a European solution.
Yes but we have the Dublin Agreement, our hands are tied
And nothing has happened for years.
We know about the terrible conditions in the mass accommodations.
We know about the enslavement of fugitives during their escape, about torture in Libyan camps.
We know that 10.000s people drown in the Mediterranean Sea.
And nothing happens.
The mass camps at the European external borders are immense.
There is a controversial discussion about sea rescue.
Those who are rescuing are accused of smuggling.
The European countries, whose geographical location allows them to do so, sit it out.
German politics is vacillating. They want to let a few minors into the country here and there.
Large parts of the civil society remains silent. They act according to the motto “What I do not see is not there”. (german saying)
The 13,000 people whose perspectives are now even bleaker, whose living conditions have become even more catastrophic. They are also blamed for the fire that robbed them of what little they might have had left.
This is no more than inhuman cynicism.
But even if the people of Moria were all somehow decentrally accommodated in a humane way. We can’t just put the issue of migration on the side and get on with business as usual. Because day after day people will continue to make the decision to leave everything behind. Because the place where they have lived up to now is lost for them. It is the lack of perspectives, conflicts and climate change that makes right now regions uninhabitable. And this will go on.
Even if some people would like to see the topic to go away, it will not. Not tomorrow and not in 10 years.
Free the ships,
leave no one behind,
we have space!
[Disclaimer: in the following Text we are writing about the Street “Mohren-Gasse” in Ulm. The german term “Mohr” is racist and colonialist, so we shorten it and the alley with M. and M.-Lane. Also please note that english is not our native language, please excuse our errors and strange sentences structure]
Today an open letter was published, which was initiated by the Green Youth Ulm/Neu-Ulm. They call for a renaming of the M.-Gasse in Ulm. We have co-signed it.
Since summer 2019 the M.-Gasse is a much discussed topic in the city of Ulm. In this debate, various statements made by the CDU, the Mayor and the Mayor of Culture showed something that we have been criticizing time and again for years:
The city of Ulm is desperately trying to build up an image as an international city, but there is often a lack of expertise and willingness to deal with real existing discrimination.
What bothers us is that this whole debate gives the impression that this is a new topic. If you do a little research, you will find out, that more than a decade ago there were already debates about racist places and names. Especially in 2004, when, among other things, the renaming of M.-Straße was demanded in Berlin and the symbol of Sarotti was changed.
There are books such as “Afrika and the german Language” by Susan Arndt from 2004, in which the origin and meaning of racist terms are presented in detail. In this book, several definitions of the term M. clearly show the negative connotation and colonialist origin. Susan Arndt comes to the following conclusion:
“The term “M.” is completely dispensable.” – Susan Arndt
We agree with this and it is clear to us, that the street must be renamed. The suggestion by the city to leave the name as ist is and to put up an additional sign with explaning text, is not sufficient. It is a rotten compromise that ignores the needs of black people.
Either Way that would not be the end of the issue of racism or racism in the cityscape. There are other monuments, streets and stores in Ulm we should talk about. And we must not only talk about places in an abstract way. Racism affects people, in the here and now.
If we seriously want to fight racism we have to listen to the people concerned, talk to them and not about them and support them.