Open letter to Hannah de Vries (Airbus)

Over the past few months, the company CSC Brand Services has harrased us (and others) several times on behalf of Airbus and its employee Hanna de Vries with emails urging us to remove an article about their work from our website. We’ve had enough of this whining and will not do this. Read our open letter below:


Over the past few months, the company CSC Brand Services has bothered us (and others) several times on behalf of you and your employer Airbus with emails urging us to remove an article about you and your work from our website. We’ve had enough of your pestering and will explain in this open letter why we will not do this.

The article in question contains an open letter that the Federation of Afghan Refugee Organizations in the Netherlands (FAVON) sent to the Faculty of Social Sciences of Leiden University in March 2018. In that letter, the faculty was asked to cancel a recruitment talk from you on behalf of Airbus. We quote from this letter: “Of all the ‘flourishing’ markets for the arms trade, there is no longer a family in Afghanistan alone that has not been torn apart by war, violence and refugees, and no individual who has not been a victim of products of Airbus and of their competitors. […] The number of people seeking safety from the war, only to be killed by the ever expanding and more advanced European border security, is already in the tens of thousands. The profits that companies like Airbus make by letting their self-created refugees run into deadly borders will now have risen to billions.”

Now we are repeatedly told that this article tarnishes your reputation. Our first reaction when reading those emails is: “How dare you?” How dare you whine about your ‘good name’ and how terrible it is for you that people who look up your name on the internet are confronted with the truth about what you earn your money from? On top of that, how dare you try to silence critical voices, especially from people who have experienced the consequences of your deadly trade firsthand? Don’t you know any shame?

We would be ashamed to work for a company that produces and supplies the resources for war, oppression and human rights abuses. Need we remind you that Airbus is one of the suppliers of the weapons that keep the war in Yemen going, which has killed more than 233,000 persons? That Airbus supplies helicopters to the Brazilian police and security forces, who use them in shootings and other police violence against the poor population? That Airbus signed a contract last year to provide Libya with helicopters for border surveillance, among other things, while no one could have missed the terrible conditions in which refugees are trapped in that country? That Airbus was also awarded a major contract to provide drone surveillance flights to Frontex last year, along with Israel Aerospace Industries, which advertises the drones in question as being tested on Palestinians? That the same Frontex has since come under heavy fire for its involvement in pushbacks and violence against refugees at Europe’s external borders? That Airbus is involved in the production and maintenance of the French nuclear weapons arsenal?

We could go on for pages, the list is endless. Moreover, Airbus not only profits from existing policies, but lobbies hard for, among other things, EU money for the development of new weapons, against arms export restrictions and for further militarization of borders. Since 1 December 2014, Airbus has sat down with the European Commission 215 times. How often do you think the voices of refugees and other victims of your trade have been heard there?

You chose to ignore the heartfelt cry of Afghan refugees that day in 2017 and give a propaganda talk for Airbus. You have thereby also chosen to enter the public domain as an Airbus representative. And you still choose to work for a company, more specifically its military branch, that contributes to death and destruction all over the world.

Choices have consequences and will continue to do so. With every new pathetic mail from your side, we will post a new article to draw attention to the work of Airbus and the contributions of you and others to it and will spread this widely via social media.

We are willing to remove the article you have challenged, provided we can replace it with a copy of a letter in which you resign from Airbus, accompanied by a statement in which you unequivocally distance yourself from the deadly practices of this company and take responsibility for your many years of contribution to these practices.

Otherwise: you can go fuck yourself.

Stop the War on Migrants