INTERVIEW: DEPORTATION

WHEN DEPORTATION BECOMES A WAY OF LIFE

(Dansk version længere nede)

Every year hundreds of thousands of rejected asylum seekers and migrants are deported from the countries they have fled to. Many of them will migrate again – and many are headed for an uncertain future in a country they are not familiar with. Trampoline House met anthropologist Shahram Khosravi from Stockholm University and a young Afghan man in order to hear what deportation means to them.

On October 29, Trampoline House's exhibition venue CAMP / Center for Art on Migration Politics hosted the special event Deportspora: When deportation becomes a way of life exploring how it feels to live with the threat of deportation hanging over your head, what fate awaits deportees after their forced return, and what makes people migrate once more in spite of the prospect of being deported again. The day featured fascinating presentations, and as always a large and dedicated audience. Shahram Khosravi, who is an Associate Professor at the Department of Anthropology at Stockholm University, gave a presentation titled "Diaspora of deportees: the case of young Afghan men."


No home country

According to Khosravi, there are many, many problems regarding the deportations. One of the most obvious is that we deport people to countries that they often have a limited or non-existent relationship to or knowledge of. Many Afghan refugees were for example born in Iran or Pakistan, or only lived in Afghanistan when they were children. And this is indeed a story we often hear in Trampoline House. We spoke to an Afghan man who wished to remain anonymous. He fled Afghanistan as an eight-year-old and has no family left in the country. He therefore finds it very difficult to imagine what he would do if he were to be sent back. On further inquiry, it became clear that he cannot follow the train of thought to its conclusion at all. Because no matter what, it doesn’t end well. "I don’t think I could ever go back. I can’t…,” he says, and his sentence peters out. The memories are obviously painful, and he almost can’t bear the thought of having to set foot in Afghanistan again. Every time we ask, he avoids the subject. As though he doesn’t hear the question.


Embedded racism

Khosravi also spoke about racism, which according to him is embedded within the deportation practice. In the same breath as countries like Denmark and Sweden advise their own citizens not to travel to for example Afghanistan, they deport rejected asylum seekers and undocumented migrants to such countries. Another example is found when you look at who is waiting in the detention centers to be deported, says Khosravi. “In 2014, there were more Somalis than anyone else in Swedish detention centers – but they weren’t even among the 20 largest populations to be deported. Why are Somalis kept there in such large numbers, if they can’t be deported anyway?,” asks Khosravi and leaves us to think of the answer for ourselves.


Difficult re-integration

Khosravi says that up to 70% of young people who are deported end up emigrating again. They do so because the factors that caused them to flee the first time are in many cases still present. In fact, the conditions are often even worse. This can be due to something as ordinary as obtaining an ID number or papers, which can be almost impossible in countries where the public sector functions badly, and where people haven’t been registered before and perhaps don’t have any family either. “Without ID, it can be difficult even to buy a transport ticket, not to mention to go to school or open a shop,” he says. Furthermore, the deportees often bear a great sense of loss with regard to friends or partners when they are sent back, and at the same time they are stigmatized and ostracized in their country of origin. These are all factors, which make so-called re-integration very difficult.

A problem our friend from Trampoline House would be likely to have, if he were deported. He doesn’t know anyone in Afghanistan any more. "I can hardly remember anything from there. I was so small when I fled,” he says.
“But in the future I hope to be given a country. I have never had a country. I would like to have a country I can be proud of – and I would like to make that country proud,” he says. 


NÅR DEPORTATIONER BLIVER ET LIVSVILKÅR

Hvert år tvangsdeporteres hundredtusindvis af afviste asylansøgere og migranter fra de lande, de er endt i. Mange af dem vil efterfølgende migrere igen – og mange går en usikker fremtid i møde i et land, de ikke kender. Trampolinhuset har mødt antropolog Shahram Khosravi fra Stockholm Universitet og en ung afghansk mand for at høre, hvad tvangsdeportationer betyder for dem.

Den 29. oktober afholdt Trampolinhusets udstillingssted CAMP / Center for Migrationspolitisk Kunst særarrangementet Deportspora: When deportation becomes a way of life, som undersøgte, hvordan det føles at leve med truslen om udvisning hængende over hovedet, hvilken skæbne der venter de udviste efter deres tvungne tilbagerejse, og hvad der får folk til atter at migrere på trods af udsigterne til at blive deporteret igen. Dagen bød på spændende oplæg og som sædvanlig et stort og engageret publikum. Shahram Khosravi, der er lektor på Institut for antropologi ved Stockholm Universitet, holdt et oplæg med titlen "Diaspora of deportees: the case of young Afghan men".

Ikke noget 'hjem' at vende hjem til

Der er rigtig mange problemer med tvangsdeportationerne, mener Khosravi. Et af de helt åbenlyse er, at vi deporterer mennesker til lande, de ofte har et begrænset eller ikke-eksisterende forhold og kendskab til. Mange afghanske flygtninge er for eksempel enten født i Iran eller Pakistan eller har kun boet i Afghanistan, da de var børn. Og det er da også en historie, vi ofte hører i Trampolinhuset.

Vi har talt med en afghansk mand, der gerne vil være anonym. Han flygtede fra Afghanistan som otte-årig og har ingen familie tilbage i landet. Han har derfor meget svært ved at forestille sig, hvad han skulle gøre, hvis han skulle blive sendt tilbage.
Spørger man nærmere ind til det, er det tydeligt, at han slet ikke kan tænke tanken til ende. For lige meget hvad, ender den ikke godt. “Jeg tror ikke, jeg nogensinde kan vende tilbage. Jeg kan ikke...,” siger han og går i stå. Minderne er tydeligvis svære, og tanken om at skulle sætte sin fod i Afghanistan igen er næsten ikke til at bære. Hver gang vi spørger, taler han udenom. Som om han ikke hører spørgsmålet.

Indlejret racisme

Khosravi taler også om racismen, som han mener, ligger indlejret i tvangsudvisningerne. Når lande som Danmark og Sverige fraråder deres egne statsborgere at rejse til fx Afghanistan, deporterer de i samme åndedrag andre til disse lande.  
Et andet eksempel er, når man ser på, hvem der sidder i udrejse- og detentionscentrene og venter på at blive deporteret, fortæller Khosravi. “I 2014 sad der allerflest somaliere i detentionscentrene i Sverige – men de var ikke engang blandt de 20 største befolkningsgrupper, der blev deporteret. Hvorfor sidder somalierne der i så stort antal, hvis de alligevel ikke kan deporteres?" spørger Khosravi, mens vi selv må tænke os til svaret.


Vanskelig re-integration

Lektor Khosravi fortæller, at op mod 70 % af de unge mennesker, der deporteres, ender med at emigrere igen. Det gør de, fordi de faktorer, der fik dem til at flygte i første omgang, i mange tilfælde stadig gør sig gældende. Faktisk er forholdene ofte endnu værre. Det kan være pga. noget så lavpraktisk som problemer med at skaffe et ID kort eller -nummer. Noget, der kan være næsten umuligt i lande med et dårligt fungerende offentligt system, hvor man ikke har været registreret før og måske heller ingen familie har.
“Uden ID kan det være svært bare at købe en billet, for slet ikke at tale om at gå i skole eller åbne en forretning,” fortæller han. Desuden bærer de deporterede ofte på et stort savn efter venner og kærester, når de bliver sendt tilbage, og samtidig er de stigmatiserede og udstødte i deres oprindelsesland. Alt sammen faktorer, der gør såkaldt re-integration meget vanskelig.

Et problem, vores ven fra Trampolinhuset sandsynligvis ville stå med, hvis han blev deporteret. Han kender ingen i Afghanistan mere.
"Jeg kan næsten intet huske derfra. Jeg var så lille da jeg flygtede,” fortæller han. “Men i fremtiden håber jeg, at jeg får et land. Jeg har aldrig haft et land. Jeg vil gerne have et land, jeg kan være stolt af – og jeg vil gerne gøre det land stolt,” siger han.