15. Oktober 2016 · Kommentare deaktiviert für „The wrong side of the fence: a Malian refugee on trying to reach Europe“ · Kategorien: Marokko, Video · Tags: ,

Quelle: The Guardian

Abou Bakar Sidibé – whose 18-month wait to get to Spain has been made into a film – recalls trauma, hardship and camaraderie

For one year and six months my home was Mount Gourougou in Morocco, a temporary settlement overlooking Melilla, a Spanish enclave and the gateway to Europe and a future I had always dreamed of.

I am from Mali, a country of many problems, but I now live in Bayern, a town in southern Germany. I have temporary asylum status, which I’m trying to make permanent.

When I was living in a makeshift camp on the mountain, outside the city of Nador, I was approached by two film-makers who wanted to work with me to record our story.

I agreed, but only if I could do it in my own way. I wanted to film the reality of our daily lives: how we lived, how we washed, how we got food, how we shared everything and, most importantly, how we helped each other.

I wanted to record everything about our survival, which centred on three things. Finding food and water; running from the Moroccan police who would chase us from our camp and destroy our belongings at least twice a week; and attempting to scale the six-metre-high, 11km-long fence as many as three times a day.

I lost count of how many people died when I was living on Gourougou – there were just too many. People hit their heads when they were being chased by the police, and some died trying to jump the fence. Once I had to leave a voicemail for the family of my friend who had died attempting to cross it.

If you were to spend one or two days on the hill you would become familiar with the evil sprits that reside there. They made our days very difficult and at night all we dreamed of was jumping the fence.

Our life was so full of pain and stress but we would try to continue with some sort of normality. We’d play football, we prayed and we celebrated our religious festivals in the best way we could. Humour also helped us get by. Looking out over Europe we would sometimes joke that our skin would start to bleach when we finally got there.

My camera was small enough to hide in my pocket when the police came and I would charge it at one of the nearby shops when it ran low. Filming my life helped me to feel like I existed and that people were interested in hearing our side of the story.

The number of people trying to scale the fence has dropped dramatically since my time there between 2013 and 2014. I don’t know anyone in Calais but I think the situations are the comparable, hundreds stuck in limbo dreaming of a better future.

I hope that people who watch Those Who Jump will get a better understanding of why people risk death for a better life. I am now working on a second film about what it’s like on the other side of the fence.

The day I arrived in Europe I felt like a newborn baby. I had a new life and new ideas. Life on Gourougou was traumatic but it was worth it. I’d do it all again if I had to.

As told to Maeve Shearlaw

Those Who Jump is screening at the BFI London film festival this week Saturday 15 October

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