Diawara B. discusses the “Security Decree”

Diawara B. talks about the so-called “Security Decree” passed by the Italian government.

“Ci sono diverse cose qua che non funzionano, ad esempio i nuovi decreti che io chiamo il decreto insicurezza. Perché è un decreto che contraddisce se stesso, dice che vuole ridurre l’insicurezza, la disoccupazione, aiutare gli italiani, ridurre l’irregolarità. Ma questo decreto cosa ha fatto finora? Ha aumentato l’irregolarità, io sono senza documenti e tanti altri sono senza documenti. Poi dicono che non possiamo stare in comunità, nello sprar ma bisogna stare fuori.. se tu mi metti per strada, metti 10.000 immigrati per strada, questi dove vanno? E cosa fanno? Qualcuno gli dovrà dar da mangiare. O se sono venuti per essere liberi cercheranno di lavorare. Se non posso lavorare a regime contrattuale perché sono senza documenti, cosa andrò a fare? Un lavoro nero, lo chiamano nero perché ogni cosa nera è una cosa brutta, quindi sono brutto anch’io. Andrò a fare un lavoro nero, e facendo un lavoro nero – mettiamo che 1000 immigrati fanno il lavoro nero – che è questo che vogliono i datori di lavoro perché con il lavoro nero paghi di meno. Cosi facendo togli lavoro a chi ha i documenti e può fare questo lavoro contrattualmente, cioè a tanti italiani, e quindi togliendo lavoro a tanti italiani cosa fai? Aumenti la disoccupazione, l’insicurezza […].”

Intervista con Diawara B. a Palermo, il 12 giugno 2019

“There are several things here that don’t work, for example the new decrees I call the insecurity decree. Because it is a decree that contradicts itself, it says it wants to reduce insecurity, unemployment, help Italians, reduce irregularity. But what has this decree achieved so far? It has increased the irregularity. I am without documents and many others are without documents. Then they say that we can’t stay in the community, in the sprar but we have to stay outside… if you put me on the street, put 10,000 immigrants on the street, where do they go? And what do they do? Someone will have to feed them. Or if they’ve come to be free, they’ll try to work. If I can’t work under contract because I have no papers, what am I going to do? A black job, they call it black because everything black is bad, so I’m bad too. I am going to go and do undeclared work, and doing undeclared work, let us say that 1000 immigrants do undeclared work, which is what employers want because undeclared work pays less. So by doing so you take work away from those who have documents and can do this work contractually, that is to say, from many Italians, and so by taking work away from many Italians what do you do? You increase unemployment, insecurity […].”

Interview with Diawara B., 12 June 2019, Palermo

Diawara B., local refugee activist in Palermo, talks about the so-called Security Decree issued by the Italian government, which Diawara calls the “Decree of Insecurity.”

Diawara B. problematizes the so-called “Security Decree”, which was adopted at the end of 2018 by the Italian governing coalition of the Five Star Movement and the Northern League and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. The decree contains many changes in the regulation of international protection and immigration, which have led to drastic cuts in Italian asylum legislation and protection systems and thus to radical restrictions on the (legal) possibilities of people to build a life in Italy.

For example, humanitarian residency permits are no longer issued, bearing in mind that around 20-25% of asylum applications have been converted into such a permit in recent years. Thanks to humanitarian permissions, many migrants received papers, giving them the opportunity to integrate into Italian society. The abolition of residence permits for humanitarian reasons is illegalizing thousands of migrants on Italian territory.

In turn, more migrants are forced to work illegally.

In addition, the decree drastically reduced the reception system in Italy. The well-functioning Italian protection system for asylum-seekers and refugees (SPRAR) only provides for the admission of migrants granted recognized refugee status or subsidiary protection (except for unaccompanied minors). What happens to the majority of refugees who are denied access to the SPRAR is easily imaginable and counteracts the new law called “Security Decree”.

In addition, Diawara B. criticizes refugees for having to remain in Europe through European asylum legislation. This means above all the Dublin Regulation, according to which the EU state has responsibility for processing an asylum application in which an asylum seeker was first registered in Europe. Without recognition status, the free movement of refugees in Europe is severely restricted.

How were the films and fragments in Palermo made?

Diawara B. and Diallo S. from Giocherenda held a three-day workshop with six participants in Palermo: Glory M., Fatima D., Ismail A., Kadijatu J., Marrie S. and Mustapha F. Mixing different approaches and games, the group exchanged personal experiences and shared them in the black box in front of the camera. Furthermore, Fatima D., Ismail A. and Mustapha F. consented to being portrayed in short films by the We Refugees Archive film crew beyond the workshop. The portraits deal with their lives in the city.

Giocherenda is a professional organization led by, for and with young refugees in Palermo that offers storytelling games. Its aim is not to help refugees and support them, but the opposite: refugees bring locals together for the sake of exchanging their experiences with refugees.

The word Giocherenda stems from the Fula language Pular, primarily spoken in Guinea, and connotes solidarity, interdependence and strength generated from people getting together. Phonetically, it resembles the Italian word “giocare” (to play), which inspired the collective to develop games for the sake of producing narratives and personal memories.

Refugees’ perspectives

In the interviews, the film crew consciously abstained from screenplays and standardized questions. Instead, the refugees directed the course of the interview and discussed only those topics they were willing to speak about. With We Refugee Archive’s mission in mind, the participants’ personal experiences in Palermo and their visions for the near future was the rough focal point. Thus, experiences during and personal trajectories of forced migration to Europe were shared and discussed at the individual’s own will and not required nor elicited on demand.

Interview with Diawara B., 12 June 2019, Palermo

Interviewer: Francesca Bertin
Camera: Max Sänger
Production: Francesca Bertin