Tag Archives: asylum

Brussels’ Afghans Flee Taliban

Brussels’ Afghans Flee Taliban | 20210821 | Afghan refugee interview* by Kristen Cattell (USA) & Michel van der Burg (Holland) at the ‘Afghan camp’ inside the Béguinage Church in Brussels, Belgium – March 17, 2014 .

*One Afghan gentleman – who asked to remain anonymous – told us about his journey to Brussels. Interview anonymized by reconstruction using a disguised voice-over and visual and auditory imagery (organ Félix Snyers) captured March-April 2014 in the Church of Saint John the Baptist at the Béguinage in Brussels.

“When you are working with America or other organizations in Afghanistan the Taliban is a big problem. I was with the forces in Kandahar Province for one year. This was a big, big company in Kandahar. After one year the Taliban send some letters to my family saying, ‘Your son is working for the enemy.’ And they said, ‘He will come and he will work with us.’ Then I went to my home. And after the Taliban found out about me, I came to Iran, then I went to Europe, and this country.”

NL vertaling – translation dutch :

“Als je voor Amerika of andere organisaties in Afghanistan werkt, is de Taliban een groot probleem. Ik was een jaar bij de strijdkrachten in de provincie Kandahar. Dit was een groot, groot bedrijf in Kandahar. Na een jaar stuurden de Taliban enkele brieven naar mijn familie waarin ze zeiden: ‘Uw zoon werkt voor de vijand.’ En ze zeiden: ‘Hij moet bij ons komen werken.’ Ik ging naar huis. En toen de Taliban van mij wist, ging ik naar Iran, en vertrok vandaar naar Europa, en dit land.”

Reportage by Kristen Cattell (USA) & Michel van der Burg (Holland).
Remastered 2nd edition of film first published in 2015 (Béguinage shadows | 20151115).
Brussels’ Afghans Flee Taliban | 20210821 | michelvanderburg•com

TAGS #1Memo #michelvanderburg #BeguinageProject #houseofcompassionbrussels #Beguinage #church #Afghan #camp #refugee #tent #shelter #interview #Taliban #Belgium #Brussels #KristenCattell #asylum #undocumented #sanspapier #diversity #rights

LINKS More about the Beguinage Project here http://bit.ly/1HZguvY and here https://michelvanderburg.com/?s=Beguinage

Samir Hamdard ~ Afghan Refugee Camp Brussels Beguinage Church


Samir Hamdard ~ Afghan Refugee Camp Brussels Beguinage Church ~ In March 2014 Kristen Cattell (USA) and Michel van der Burg (Holland) traveled to Brussels, Belgium to meet a group of Afghans living inside an old Catholic church – the church of Saint John the Baptist at the Béguinage (Beguinage Church). At the time, nearly one hundred Afghan refugees had set up camp within the walls of the seventeenth century compound. We made a reportage and interviewed several people including Samir Hamdard (Ahmad Samir Hamdard) .
Samir the tireless activist of peace, justice and solidarity, was the spokesperson for the afghan refugees in Belgium – he died following a terrible fire accident that happened today a year ago (July 2019).

We thank Samir Hamdard and the other Afghan refugee friends who welcomed us and gave the interviews (note : full report of the other interviews in a follow-up later). Special thanks to Isabelle Marchal and others whose works were on display in the church and are shown in this film. Félix Snyers on the Béguinage church pipe organ.

Special thanks also to priest Daniel Alliët – host of the camp – who when retiring in 2019 started a new life for the church as House of Compassion – officially March 21 , 2020 – @houseofcompassionbrussels – http://www.houseofcompassion.brussels .

More about the Beguinage Project here http://bit.ly/1HZguvY and here https://michelvanderburg.com/?s=Beguinage

Reportage by Kristen Cattell (USA) and Michel van der Burg (Holland) | Beguinage Project .
Film : Samir Hamdard ~ Afghan Refugee Camp Brussels Beguinage Church | 20200729 | Michel van der Burg | michelvanderburg.com | miracles.media

Samir Hamdard « We Want Justice ! »

Samir Hamdard « We Want Justice ! »
Afghans sans-papiers spokesperson Samir Hamdard (Ahmad Samir Hamdard) demanding justice…regularization of the belgian afghan refugees with no papers… the ‘sans-papier’…20 nov 2013 on the arrival of the silent solidarity march for afghan refugees in front of the Belgian Federal Public Service for Justice (FPS Justice) building at the Boulevard de Waterloo in the City of Brussels, Belgium.
Film (20191115) ~ Samir Hamdard « We Want Justice ! » by Michel van der Burg – michelvanderburg.com | miracles.media

Refuge Atelier Marcel Hastir – Paulus Newsletter

Host Country Belgium – PaulusRundbrief Nº495
When you drive from the Flemish countryside to the city of Brussels, you are greeted at the city limits by posters that welcome you in four languages – that inspired the title for this Paulus Newsletter’s theme: La Belgique – Pays d’Accueil ! … Belgium has always been a destination for the politically persecuted …

Refuge Atelier Marcel Hastir
In this newsletter ‘Zufluchtsort Atelier’ (Refuge Atelier) by Susanne Fexer on the atelier of Marcel Hastir in Brussels, Belgium, where he helped save the lives of countless people during the Nazi terror.

Credits | Links
Text based on quotes (translated) from the Editorial by Annick Dohet-Gremminger in the bimonthly Paulus newsletter (PaulusRundbrief N°495) of the Katholische Gemeinde Deutscher Sprache Brüssel Sankt Paulus – the Catholic Community German Language Brussels St. Paulus.

PaulusRundbrief N°495 is available digital from the archive at the Sankt Paulus site – http://www.sankt-paulus.eu

Film : Refuge Atelier Marcel Hastir – Paulus Newsletter (20191004) Michel van der Burg | miracles.media

Béguinage shadows

 

Béguinage shadows | 20151115 | Final cut today at Vimeo of our Afghan refugee interview* at the ‘Afghan camp’ inside the Béguinage Church in Brussels, Belgium – March 17, 2014 .

*One Afghan gentleman, who asked to remain anonymous, told us about his journey to Brussels. Interview anonymized by reconstruction using a disguised voice-over and visual and auditory imagery (organ Félix Snyers) captured March-April 2014 in the Church of Saint John the Baptist at the Béguinage in Brussels.

“When you are working with America or other organizations in Afghanistan the Taliban is a big problem. I was with the forces in Kandahar Province for one year. This was a big, big company in Kandahar. After one year the Taliban send some letters to my family saying, ‘Your son is working for the enemy.’ And they said, ‘He will come and he will work with us.’ Then I went to my home. And after the Taliban found out about me, I came to Iran, then I went to Europe, and this country.”

More about the Beguinage Project here  and here

Reportage by Kristen Cattell (USA) and Michel van der Burg (Holland) | Beguinage Project .
Film : Béguinage shadows | 20151115 | michelvanderburg.com

TAGS #1Memo #michelvanderburg #BeguinageProject #houseofcompassionbrussels #Beguinage #church #Afghan #camp #refugee #tent #shelter #interview #Taliban #Belgium #Brussels #KristenCattell #asylum #undocumented #sanspapier #diversity #rights

Afghan refugees in Brussels – Beguinage Project

 May 28th, 2014 report* from the Afghan refugees camp in the Saint John the Baptist church at the Béguinage in Brussels (Belgium) – click 1st image to start slideshow

Beguinage Project

In March 2014 I traveled to Brussels, Belgium to meet a group of Afghans living inside an old Catholic church. At the time, nearly one hundred Afghan refugees had set up camp within the walls of the seventeenth century compound. There were camping tents and make-shift walls within the Baroque interior. Respectfully abiding by the teachings of Islam, the main religious practice of the Afghans living in the Catholic church, there was one side for woman and children and one side for males.

Their shoes were piled up outside of the doors of their tents and warm pots of chai were passed around during mealtime. On a sunny afternoon dozens joined in on a game of cricket, cautious to not start a scene or cause too much noise. All they could do at this point was wait for a potential interview date and hope to receive legal status in a country that they could only half-heartedly call home.

A majority of the males I spoke with were well-educated; most speaking French, Dutch, and English in addition to their native Afghan language of Dari or Pashto. Their skills and experiences as translators, guards, and service men in Afghanistan had threatened their livelihood and ultimately forced them to flee their homeland. The priest of the church, Daniel Alliet, opened the space to the Afghan refugees because he disagreed with Belgium’s asylum policy.

One Afghan gentleman, who asked to remain anonymous, told me about his journey to Brussels: “When you are working with America or other organizations in Afghanistan the Taliban is a big problem. I was with the forces in Kandahar Province for one year. This was a big, big company in Kandahar. After one year the Taliban send some letters to my family saying, ‘Your son is working for the enemy.’ And they said, ‘He will come and he will work with us.’ Then I went to my home. And after the Taliban found out about me, I came to Iran, then I went to Europe, and this country.”

At present, the situation continues to evolve: the church is now used as an Afghan community center instead of a shelter, some have been granted alternative housing accommodations throughout the country, and many refugees were granted the right to stay in the country legally. In Brussels, and around the world, Afghans are facing the harsh realities of displacement while others are struggling to resettle without official resident status, nevertheless, their strength is what binds them and they tirelessly continue to fight for justice.

Text: Kristen Cattell / Photography : Michel van der Burg

Special thanks to Isabelle Marchal and the many friends that welcomed us , and also others whose works were on display at the church and are shown in these pictures.

* Update Sept 6th 2015 – Our full report first appeared May 28th, 2014 (via the now no longer existing web site “Rising Afghans”) and is now fully included here.
Republishing of the short second photo report that appeared also then , will follow soon (the Inside Out project by JR – with original portraits by Chiara Ravano – at Salon Mommen, Brussels.)

Update Nov 15, 2015 – Added video “Béguinage shadows”

Update Nov 19, 2015 – Added info (below) on the  silent solidarity march for Afghan refugees in Brussels Nov 20th 2013 – “Belgians and Afghans demand justice”

Belgians and Afghans demand justice

Belgians and Afghans demand justice – Video report by Michel van der Burg. Belgians and Afghan refugees demand Belgium changes its asylum policy.
Speeches by Amir Mohammad Jafari (12 y, student and Afghan refugee in Belgium) & Simon Gronowski (Belgian lawyer) 20 nov 2013 on the arrival of the silent solidarity march for Afghan refugees in Brussels. « link to full post »