Fri, 15 June 2012
On Monday, June 11, Joseph Monyde Malieny issued 'A Plea for protection', the day after Israeli authorities began rounding up South Sudanese living in Israel.
972 writes: "International organizations warn of a humanitarian disaster and pending war in South Sudan. Israel, however
On Thursday, June 14, I spoke with Joseph via Skype.
Excerpt on Sudan: "The situation is very very bad, and for me I have been away for a long time, almost 20 years. I know nothing about South Sudan, and since I left that, I don't know where my family is. Because my father was killed when I was ten, in front of me. That's what I know."
On Israel: "The theme that the Sudanese are a kind of disease instead [of people]. I didn't know that Israel [could] act like that before. Yeah, there is the feeling that we are not welcome in Israel, and we are then raided and deported. We are going to tell our people. We are going to also tell it to our kids. When a person is having a problem, they cannot come to Israel."
Matt: On Monday, you published a plea on the Israeli daily blog, 972 Magazine. What are you and others there in Israel afraid of?
Joseph: We are afraid of being attacked here. People are beating us on the street. And everywhere, even where we are living, you get attacked by neighbors or any other people who don't want you to be [here]. The situation is really bad for all the Africans, not just the South Sudanese.
Matt: And then the Israeli government has responded by calling for deportations of the South Sudanese there.
Joseph: Yeah. They [inaudible] to deport [inaudible]. And they deported. They didn't determine [inaudible]. So what they think is, the only person [who belongs] in their country is what I understood according to their policies [sic]. And when they talk, they talk connecting instead with Judaism and all of those things. And that's what happened.
Matt: And now they're arresting people?
Joseph: Yeah, they have arrested 470 South Sudanese and all of us we did [inaudible] and 300 people make [inaudible], by themselves.
Matt: 300 people so far? Oh, 300 people turned themselves in?
Matt: And how many have they arrested, sorry?
Joseph: They arrested 470 people.
Matt: Oh jeez. And are you afraid that they will come and arrest you?
Joseph: No, I'm not afraid because I have been arrested when I came here in 2006. I was in prison for one year and one month. And I was released after I [inaudible] with the charge. And [I was] one of the thousands that [were] arrested, some [held for] six months, others eight months. And all this. But no one is afraid of them because we take the decision to go back. They hate us, and they will deport us. Nothing to do.
Matt: And what is the situation there in Sudan? What will you do there?
Joseph: The situation is very very bad, and for me I have been away for a long time, almost 20 years. I know nothing about South Sudan, and since I left that, I don't know where my family is. Because my father was killed when I was ten, in front of me. That's what I know.
Matt: Yeah, oh my gosh. That's traumatizing.
Matt: And what has it been like living in Israel? You've been there since 2006. There's a small community - an African community - there in Tel Aviv. What has that community been like?
Joseph: Yeah, we have before just only Sudanese, and it was divided: Darfurians and Sudanese. And after [inaudible] in 2009, other African communities, they come in, like those of Eritrea, and the Ivory Coast and Ghana. And some, they got [inaudible]. Like some from Ghana, they call themselves [inaudible], and they got permanent residence. But on the side of Sudanese, they call them enemies - they are people from an enemy state. They did nothing to them. They have been arrested, and rarely released from the prisons. [Inaudible]. The same thing happened to two or three [inaudible]. And there is a very big number of Africans in Israel. According to their statistics, they say something like 50 or 60,000 people.
Matt: 50,000 people?
Matt: And I do a lot of solidarity work with Palestinians, and they've also faced... well, been forcefully removed from the land there. So what do you think of the idea that Israel is a Jewish state?
Joseph: Yeah, the problem that is between Israel and Palestinians is a historic problem, based on the bible. And I don't want to say something on the program because I am South Sudanese and [if] I might say something, it might be not good because I'm not a politician right now.
Matt: Yeah, I understand.
Is there anything that people can do to support you? I know that there have been some demonstrations in your support there in Israel. Is there anything that people are doing that you know of?
Joseph: Yeah, it happened four months ago. Not now. Now, everyone is against Africans. In [January], when the border authority announced that they don't need Africans and they need to deport them, we got a lot of support from activist people, like those who... musicians, others. They made a petition against our detentions and they sent it to the Prime Minister. And one was sent to the Minister of the Interior. And they didn't do any reply. We made a demonstration too. With those of [inaudible]. They heard about [inaudible]. And other ones [inaudible] for almost four months, and nothing happened. Again, they took Africans to deport. So the court could decide what the situation would be. And the court supported the government too. So the court case with the organizations, they didn't approve what is going to happen in South Sudan. So it feels that South Sudan is OK and we are going to be deported. And all the community [inaudible] they were very good, they were standing with us. But then some problems happened because there are a lot of Africans in South Tel Aviv and they are not working. They commit crime like taking other people's things. [Inaudible] a girl who I didn't see her, but I read about it on the news, that one of the Sudanese raped an Israeli girl and kill the girl. And another one, a Jewish... they wrote another one, from Eritrea. And because of the thieves, everything blows up. They demonstrate, they don't want Africans in their country. We threaten their democracy and their identity. So everyone is against us now, [regardless of whether we are from] Sudan or any other part of Africa.
So this is what they have now - there's no support, cause the authorities are talking in a way which is not helping. They are deteriorating the situation. Those like the Minister of the Interior and those of the border authority and the immigration office - they are increasing the problem instead of solving it and dealing with it in a legal way or another way. So the problem is they are putting fuel on the fire.
Matt: Yeah, they've called Africans there "infiltrators", "cancer", just terrible things.
Joseph: And they are disease carriers. And thieves. Everything. Nothing. It's not helping. Everything has been said by the authorities. And most disturbing is the theme that they are very [inaudible] people. I didn't know that before.
Matt: Sorry. They are very what?
Joseph: The theme that the Sudanese are a kind of disease instead. I didn't know that Israel [could] act like that before.
Yeah, there is the feeling that we are not welcome in Israel, and we are then raided and deported. We are going to tell our people. We are going to also tell it to our kids. When a person is having a problem, they cannot come to Israel. [Inaudible]. I mean, like some of the people, they are very good. Like the public [inaudible]. And we get here, and they are very friendly to us. And we are welcome to gather [inaudible].
Matt: So is it mostly politicians? Who is it...
Joseph: Yeah, the politicians. They have very bad policies on the refugees. Politicians don't have any kind of a policy that puts people to be accepted, or to examine individual cases. They are not helping here. You can be arrested, then see the judge and get a [sentencing], and that is all. You don't know what kind of permit you have. And the refugees are being denied, we don't know where we belong. Nothing.
For example, me, I've been in prison and I've met the judge. The judge said that now you are accepted, and you aren't going to be leaving. [Inaudible]. That time, I did not know because nobody told me about anything. Until it came up that we are going to be deported.
Matt: Well Joseph, I need to get going. It's been a pleasure speaking with you. I'm thinking of you all. I will tell my elected officials and I will tell people here what is happening there.
Joseph: Thanks. It's really good. I will give you a special thanks too because it is a kind of helping out. You stand with us and you are going to raise our voice to be heard everywhere.
Matt: Have a good evening.
Joseph: Thank you, Matthew. And have a good day there too.
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