Mobility as a Human Right – VPRO documentary – 2016

Good morning I am the mayor of Palermo Do you know what Palermo is? The most beautiful city in the world You can say that Palermo has the best mayor in the world Everybody knows that Absolutely Next Sunday, I will be in The Hague You have arrived in the city of Palermo How is the city called?

One more time? – Palermo All together? – Palermo Very good Everything is alright here Great It’s quiet Just one pregnant lady who had to go to hospital Yes, but there are still others on board – Yes, tomorrow But tomorrow – No, we’ll let them sleep here How much longer will they go on for? – Until they’re done. That means There’s still quite a few 500 have already come on land, the other 500 are still on board Are they coming too? – We’ll be done in an hour I think so too Good – Peace, have a good night Bye, you too We have made this trip We were with our family Because the family didn’t have the strength they sent us ahead so we can help the family That’s why we came here Was it a small boat? – Pretty small. Something like that Suitable for 100 people – How many? A little over 100 people – There were 130 people on board 130? Have you paid a lot of money? – Yes, we paid a lot To a middleman in Libya We paid 720 euro Were you scared? – No We feel good because we are here now The people who welcomed us were very nice. So we are very happy Where are you from? – The Gambia We just met with the mayor of Palermo, where they get many immigrants

He wants to abolish residence permits so people can just get on a plane

join their families and spend their money on starting a new life Isn’t that a great idea? – I’m not sure it is but it does reflect a mayor’s struggle US mayors for instance are dealing with many illegal immigrants without documents But they are there, and they are human beings whose hands are tied They’ve been there for 10, 15 years, their children go to school So New York City is thinking of giving these people city ID’s so they can at least identify themselves and get a driving license Because you can’t We’re talking millions of people here you can’t let them walk around indefinitely without any ID The State doesn’t solve it and mayors and cities are left with a problem People live on the streets, something needs to be done That is what mayors, city governments and city councils struggle with This is a huge success. The people who use this pitch will not damage it They will look after it well, because it’s theirs That is the core of this city that is finally making progress Come on, let’s play How do you feel about Mayor Orlando? Mayor Orlando? He’s like any other politician Some things he does for the city are good, some are not so good Plenty of things are going wrong Of course, some things go right. If not, we would have never elected him But there are negative things too For young people, for instance There is no work here, there is nothing My son has to travel far just to make 700, 800 euro a month Now that’s wrong I’m not racist, but We were also once immigrants in Belgium, Germany and South-America But our young people need our help You have to apply for special financial assistance

Will I get that instantly? – That depends on the situation Okay, so Mrs Simon? – Gigi Simon Does anybody have a pen? I’ll go over there There you go They wouldn’t even give me 5 euro They just showed me the door Hello, madam. I am going to ask you to read out this oath, please Can you read? – A little In that case, repeat after me: I swear to be faithful to the Republic and to observe the Constitution and the laws of the State Great. Now you have pledged your loyalty, you may sign This way, please Orlando wants to extend citizenship to everybody There’s a festive ceremony. Immigrants who have been in town for a while sign a document and pledge loyalty to the city From then on, they are seen as citizens Would that work in Rotterdam? To be honest, I don’t need a ceremony to see people in Rotterdam as citizens of Rotterdam We already see them as citizens of Rotterdam Even if your parents don’t have documents, you are entitled to education With citizenship come citizens’ rights I appreciate what they do in Italy but I don’t need a ceremony to see every person in our city as a citizen With or without documents Today it’s about families who have lived here for twenty years What about the challenge of all those new immigrants? How is the City Administration handling that? We will continue to denounce the European legislation because it’s the result of political whims and financial selfishness We continue to say that one day we will be held responsible for genocide Just like after 70 years Italians and Germans are still held responsible for the genocide by the Nazi’s and Fascists Look how she has grown? – She’s one year old now I am the vice-president of the city council of Palermo We represent approximately 30,000 immigrants here in Palermo Before, we weren’t properly assimilated either because to us, Italy was a transit country We’d work here for a couple of years and then go back home Thanks to the mayor, that has now changed What does this mean for Palermo? – I don’t understand all the commotion

We are witnessing a concrete example of liberty, equality and love Finally, the law lets us do what has been obvious to many for a long time But a lot still needs to be done, right? – Correct But you mustn’t underestimate people’s common sense which is often way ahead of that of the legislator To you, I will be love and passion, joy and magic, security and reality But also the one you look at, a never changing scent the taste of your kisses, the vibrations you feel and the warmth next to you In short, all emotions that go with being yours. I love you By the powers vested in me, I hereby declare that Elisabetta Cinà and Serenella Fiasconaro are now lawfully married Applause We are all touched by your love but we are also touched by your civil courage Liberty, equality and love The emotion we share here today, is way ahead of that of the legislator After a great delay, it has finally happened You have given them those – No, they’re not here Okay, I get it It is what it is Because the mafia is like Daesh, like IS

They’re fundamentalists, opposing everything that’s different The mafia wouldn’t even hire you as a killer if you weren’t 100% Sicilian The feeling of insecurity that pervades many of our communities is also present in Palermo, Sicily It is caused by what happened in the world, in Europe But we mustn’t generalise We mustn’t think that every foreigner is planning a terrorist attack I believe that a warm welcome can improve relations instead of cause conflicts Good afternoon and thank you for coming We are here to commemorate a police officer who lost his life on April 27, 1983 because he was doing his job This city has had mayors who were friendly with mafia bosses One mafia boss even became mayor This shows how far we have come, thanks to the sacrifices made by many who held on to their ideals even when the going got tough This is a very emotional day It means a lot to us Of course, the street sign isn’t going to change our lives but my father deserves this acknowledgement I won’t forget it We already knew Mayor Orlando He instigated the Spring of Palermo This is a difficult city, we all need to work hard It’s not just about the mayor, but the entire city council and all citizens There’s not a lot a mayor can achieve on his own. A bit, but only up to a point The city council and the citizens need to collaborate or nothing will ever change

Can you text me? – May I have your number? Of course. 36658 Goodbye Let’s go Can the mayor do something for us Palermitans? Give us a job Give us a job. We have families too We Palermitans all have families We have children Can’t the mayor do something for the Palermitans? Give us a job and we will work for our families He eats and drinks, he gets paid while we Palermitans die of hunger Things are bad everywhere, but here they are even worse Because Italy is cut in two halves North of Rome, things go well South of Rome, things get bad You are right No wonder we do bad things If the mayor gave us a job, Palermitans wouldn’t be doing all these bad things If the mayor gave us a job we’d be working from early in the morning till late at night, if we had to But if you can’t get a job and you have a wife and kids to support you are forced to do bad things If the mayor was an honest and good person, he’d give us all a job But he doesn’t do a thing That is my opinion Things would be better if Silvio Berlusconi was our president The government of Matteo Renzi and the politicians only think of themselves How are you?

I’m doing fine And how is Merhawi? Merhawi is in France Where? – In France Okay, that’s good That’s good In Eritrea I lived in Adi Quala I tried to flee from Eritrea, but I got caught and was sent to jail After that I went to Sudan From Sudan I travelled to Libya and now I’m here The patient said she gave birth on the small boat That’s a potentially very risky situation The mother could have bled heavily the two little boys could have had serious respiratory problems But everything ended well They have been very lucky It was around ten o’clock at night I was feeling nauseous But I never thought I was about to give birth A couple of women on board knew what was happening I told them I wasn’t feeling well and they said I was having contractions It’s called labour pains That’s when I gave birth, and everything went well They took care of us What are they called again? The Italians I was taken to hospital by helicopter At first, I was scared. And then When they told me I had given birth to two little boys I thanked God that I had arrived safely in the place where I wanted to be I am very happy and enormously grateful to God Their names are Hiyap and Evenezer Hiyap and Evenezer I want nothing but the best for them I want a different life for them than the one I had I want them to go to school and have a good life Not the kind of life that I’ve had That’s why I fled The story is getting very complex for many cities

because governments can’t solve it Imagine a refugee mother with a 3-year-old who has to leave the country She doesn’t go, for whichever reason, that is irrelevant If I say it’s out of my hands and the lady and her child end up under a bridge and the child then dies Just imagine what that means to a city Well, I refuse to let that happen Law or no law, based on my personal conscience as a human being I will not let that happen 27503201400611