Servei Civil Internacional Catalunya

Dimarts, 7.11.2017 12h00

Peaceweek, 27.09.2017

Our last day was full of events. First of all we had two special guests in Sci office. In the morning we met "Taula per Méxic", who told us about the situation in this country. She gave us some valuable information on narco trafficking in Mexico and the conflict and war environment caused by “narcos”. Mexico is in a constant war situation, but many countries do not acknowledge this, even though many people are killed every year in Mexico. The war in Mexico is between different groups (Government, gangs etc.) and you can never predict the next attack on either one person or a whole village. Sometimes the government has a war with the gangs against the political activists and sometimes the government has a war against one gang. Many political activists in Mexico are persecuted and they need a safe placeto stay. “Taula per Méxic” brings the political activists to Catalunya for 3 months, to rest and have a break from the constant persecution danger, which makes them unable to do their jobs. 

In the evening Míriam Hatibi came to tell us about Islamophobia. This session was open to public so a lot of people came to listen to her talk. She told about what it means to be an activist, discrimination and racism. “When do you think a person suffers from Islamophobia?” she asked. And she said that when a person looks like a Muslim by wearing a scarf or dates a Muslim then you are a target. She told us why Islamophobia exists by following a theory and she explained the words; equality, paternal behavior and orientalism. 

Kate made a summarry of the day: 

"The last participant of the Peaceweek, Ramsis from Palestine arrived on the last day of the workcamp. He joined our group in a very interesting moment. We had a situation at a workshop and started a very emotional discussion. Everybody shared his feelings, experiences and fears. Ramsis was impressed and summarized main ideas:

1 - Every group can have the "Minority - Majority challenge" in which some members can be excluded.
2 - In most cases it's caused by lack of communication. That's why it's important to talk about what you feel and think. But if you really want to solve problems, talk when you're calm but not angry.
3 - All problems can be solved if all the team works together.

In the evening we all went to a Kurdish restaurant to have our farewell dinner.

I had some time to think it over, and I wrote some words, inspired by our talk and Miriam's speech. Being a minority means that you have to be very active whatever you want it or not. You have to speak out load and be ready to meet any reaction if you just want to be heard. You have to make double effort or even more if you want to reach your goals. It's always hard, it's always challenging. But it's worth it."

Tomorrow is the time to to say good-bye and return to our countries with lots of good memories and topics to think about:)

Dimarts, 7.11.2017 11h45

Peaceweek, 26.09.2017

On Tuesday Joan from CCAR (Commission for helping refugees in Catalunya settling in flats) came to explain the procedures that the asylum seekers have to go through, the obstacles they face and how the organization helps them in that process.

Over lunch we met with Sindicat Popular de Venedors Ambulants (Syndicate of street sellers), who explain their situation and fight for recognition. They recently developed a brand, Top manta.

They talked about the disproportionate and excessive use of force by the police and how they achived to raise their voices against unfair treatment by organizing themselves and defending their rights. They were really welcoming and willing to share their cause with us. And the food was really delicious.

Later Natalia Rodriguez came to explain migration from a gender perspective and her experience with displaced women in Latin America. The women she was working with had suffered violence and rape by paramilitary groups in Colombia and she collected their stories and published a book with the collaborationn of German Cooperation Agency. She shared her experience with these women and how she used painting as a tool for the women to recover and empower them.

Dimarts, 7.11.2017 11h15

Peaceweek, 25.09.2017

On the 25 of September we start the day by discussing control, detention and expulsion of migrants. Aurea Martin shared with us her knowledge and experience as an activist. We also talked about ethnic profiling, which happens in Spain. Ethnic profiling is when police randomly stop people who they believe are without papers, which is forbidden by the law.

Aurea told us that the Spanish government spends a lot of money (over 11 million Euros) on deportation, of migrants, every year. There are two kinds of large scale deportation flights: Deportation on regular flights, when people who are being deported share flight with passengers who travels for pleasure and the other kind is massive deportation flights which are organized by the government or by Frontex to deport dozen of immigrants by force, against their own will. They are illegal but the government is using the excuse that each person in the flight has a reason to be deported.


In the afternoon Clara, president of the SCI Catalunya´, visited us and presented us the Theatre of the Oppressed. She came to show us how to use our bodies and the theatre to motivate us to learn about the topic, to start a true dialog that we will remember for a long time and to rehearse taking action in the world.

The first genre of theatre was called Image theatre. This activity consist of representing and feeling a character with your body and talking about how people show the same character in different ways. 

The next theatre genre was called forum theatre. The activity consisted of a person going to the scene and taking a position and making a sound, thereafter people of the audience could add to the scene, change or switch themselves with an actor.

Overall it was a quite full and interesting day. We felt refreshed after the activities that requiered us to move around and express ourselves with our bodies rather than words.

Dimarts, 7.11.2017 11h00

Peaceweek, 23.09.2017

Today Xoan Perillan came to talk about his experience of the southern border of Spain. This was a really interesting topic for us because some us of have never heard of the situation in the Southern border and his presentation really opened up our eyes. We talked about Ceuta and Melilla, which are Spanish territories in Africa. In the light of this conversation we talked about the borders not only as physical and geographical limitations but also as mental an artificial borders.

In the Southern border of Spain, Sub-Saharan migrants have been trying to cross the borders to reach the two cities, because when they are in a Spanish zone, they can seek for asylum in Spain at least in theory. But the migrants experience a lot of violence when trying to cross these borders. We talked about Ceuta and Melilla as borders where the human rights, are not guaranteed. There is a trend in the world, which is called externalization of borders. In this context this means that European countries give away the responsibility to African countries to stop migration fluxes before the European borders. We also talked about the EU and Turkey agreement on migration and used it as an example of externalization of borders. We also talked about the use of violence and illegal pushbacks by the Moroccan police.
Another interesting issue we learned about were the “human mules” we watched a short news clip about an alternative trade network consisting of women carrying duty free goods from Spain to Morocco.

At the end of the day we made an evaluation with our beloved coordinator Laura and wrote the things we liked so far and the things we think we can improve.

Useful Links:

- Melilla, off Human Rights:

- (Vice) Storming Spain's Razor-Wire Fence: Europe Or Die

- The 'human mules' of Ceuta

- Tarajal and the 6F in Ceuta

Dimarts, 7.11.2017 10h00

Peaceweek, 22.09.2017

The third day of the Peaceweek was mainly dedicated to the presentations of participants. Each volunteer presented the migration situation in her country: Belgium, Catalunya, Denmark, Italy, Kurdistan/Turkey, Palestine, Portugal, Russia and South Korea.

Sara and her presentation about the migration situation in Denmark

Kate her presentation about the migration situation in Russia

Giulia (on the left) and Angela (on the right) and their presentation about the migration situation in Italy

Soraia (on the left) and Ana (on the right) and their presentation about the migration situation in Portugal

Nûpelda and her speech about the migration situation in Northern Kurdistan and Turkey

Sarah and her presentation about the migration situation in Belgium

Amy and her presentation about the migration situation in South Korea

Lubna and her presentation about the migration situation in Palestine

After the presentations we went picnicking in the park, Ciutadella. Although the weather was not ideal for a picnic it was a really nice and interesting picnic under the rain:)
After lunch, we had an interesting talk with Gemma from Punt the Support, which is a non formal group helping refugees and immigrants in Catalunya. She introduced herself her her group and their activities.


Dilluns, 6.11.2017 18h30

Peaceweek, 21.09.2017

Today we started with the topic of borders, externalization of borders and the freedom to move. Juli, from Stop Mare Mortum, explained the work, history and structure of their organization. We found out that the Mediterranean sea has been one of the deadliest seas recently, because refugees have been risking their lives to cross it with small boats and arrive to their destinations.

Stop Mare Mortum helps refugees to cross borders more safely and offers them legal advice. They also offer children and adolescents training sessions in schools about refugees’ journey which is full of danger and obstacles.

After Juli left, we watched a short documentary (Escape from Syria) about a young woman fleeing from Syria with a friend. The documentary followed the young woman called Rania and her friend in Syria, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Austria. This documentary touched our feelings and everyone watched it with a shock on their faces. The portrayal of the actual life of a refugee fleeing made us understand the humanitarian side of the situation rather than numbers, statistics, facts and policies. Everyone was horrified when Rania, her friend and the others almost drowned in the little overcrowded boat, sailing from Turkey to Lesbos. Rania and her friend survived and fled all the way to the border of Macedonia, but when they tried to cross the border the soldiers threw stones and teargas at them. Unlike many others Rania and her friend where lucky enough to take a flight from Greece to Austria, but were caught by the Austrian police.

Link to documentary:

Based on this documentary we tried to find answers to tree questions:
1) Who are allowed to come in? Who are not?
2) Who are we to decide who is coming in?
3) Reasons that people would have and solutions to the problems of ignorance.

We discussed why it is not acceptable to welcome tourist and migrants from western countries to Europe and at the same time banning refugees to enter. Some countries discriminate and select refugees based on certain criteria like religion, culture or nationality. Some countries state that they only want people with Christian background and not Muslim background. They use the argument that the Muslims are not compatible with the cultures of their nations, but that is a misunderstanding since many Muslims live and thrive in many western countries. Also other criteria were made to select who can enter for example refugees of Lgbt background has better opportunities getting asylum than others.

Here are some pictures from the discussions:

Dilluns, 6.11.2017 17h45

Peaceweek, 20.09.2017

It all starts with...
Ten volunteers and one coordinator in Barcelona which is having a lively atmosphere due to the upcoming referendum and the national fiesta la Mercè.…

The first day of the Peaceweek was dedicated to getting to know one another and the scope and the schedule of the work camp. After getting to know one another, we discussed our motivations and expectations from this workcamp and learned about the Entre [terres].

First things first! Everybody should have a notebook to take notes during the Peaceweek and take it back home as a souvenir. Each participant made herself a notebook and traveled back in time to the kindergarden days:)

We got carried away and made a little mess with in the hall but don't worry we cleaned after us!

As this was the fist day it was quite light. When we returned to Ca L'Elna (our accommodation) we talked about logistics and formed cleaning and cooking teams. Each day there will be a team in charge of the cooking. This means international food every day!

Dilluns, 6.11.2017 17h30

Peaceweek, Migration Study Camp: Entre [Terres]

However migrations have always been a relevant topic in the history of humankind, nowadays forced migration is one of the most hot and controversial topics not only in the european agenda but also in the global agenda. While the borders of the fortress Europe are being reinforced,  human hights violations are becoming more usual and most of the european governments are not taking the responsabilities that they must take.

One the other hand, a lot of people, associations and social movements have been working to report and denounce the situation of migrants and refugees, to demand the goverments to act, and to create alternatives to host policies. The aim of this camp, which starts on 19.09.2017 and ends on 28.09.2017, is to study, debate and exchange knowledge about the issues related to forced migrations. Besides receiving and hosting different points of views and different realities from international participants, tthis camp will allow the participants to learn about the different projects working in Catalunya.

One of these projects is Entre[Terres] which is is an educational guide focused on migration in the Mediterranean Sea. There are five sub topics in it: Mare Mortum, racism, human rights gender and LGBTQ+, social transformation. During the Peaceweek the participants will get the chance to learn about these sub topics or deepen their already existing knowledge and offer an educatonal guide or activity related to one of these sub topics.



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Servei Civil Internacional Catalunya
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