Solidarity demo We Are Here – speech

On April 11 we supported and joined the solidarity demo for We Are Here. We were also asked to speak. Here’s the text of that speech:

Fortress Europe means perpetual war. It is a war of borders against migrants. It is a war of weapons companies against societies. It is a war of the rich against the dispossessed. Fortress Europe exports destruction and imports resources. For hundreds of years it has sucked wealth out of Africa, out of Asia, out of the Middle East.
Lobbyists in Brussels and the Hague make sure that the European Union knows where its priorities lie. Share value is more important than providing decent and fulfilling lives. Fortress Europe is a machine that wants to keep on growing, and will eat our livelihoods to do so.

European companies extract natural gas out of Libya, fueling a civil war; European companies pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, turning the farms of South Sudan into fields of sand; European companies sell missiles and warplanes to Saudi Arabia, turning the vibrant cities of Yemen into bomb craters. In these companies’ search for constant profits, humans are expendable: they are killed, locked up and denied a decent living.

When people flee the destruction that Europe has exported into the rest of the world, they come face to face the full war machine. Army units patrol the Balkan route. NATO navies steam around the Mediterranean. The European Union is turning the world into one big militarized border, creating new barriers where before there were none, pressuring and
bribing governments in Northern Africa to fortify their borders. As a result, crossing the Sahara is now more dangerous than crossing the Mediterranean. Fortress Europe sends troops into Mali, and high-tech surveillance equipment into Senegal and Sudan. It strikes deals with Turkey, sending money and weapons in exchange for sniper towers on the border with Syria. It strikes deals with militias in Libya, sending radar equipment to their navy in exchange for migrant prisons where people are forced to work in slavery. Fortress Europe’s bottom line is an ever-increasing flow of wealth to shareholders, and ever greater control over the movement of people.

This war directly benefits weapons companies based in the Netherlands. Airbus, selling army helicopters and drones to EU border guards; Damen, sending ships to the Libyan navy; TNO, creating integrated border surveillance systems; And Thales, selling radar systems to the Egyptian army. These companies turn us against one another. The security industry
manufactures insecurity. It feeds a fear of migration, in favor of a tiny group of shareholders.

But this demonstration shows that the power of solidarity is stronger than the power of the shareholders of Airbus and Thales. If we ever want to live together safely, we need to break the deadly machine that is Fortress Europe. We need to open the migrant prisons, both here in the Netherlands and all along the migration routes; We need to end weapons
production and export; We need to shift our technological capabilities away from death and climate destruction; We need to redistribute wealth globally, away from the shareholders and their lobbyists; We need to fight for good, fulfilling lives, for housing and healthcare for everyone; Together, we need to stop the war on migrants.