A few days ago I returned from Veldhoven, The Netherlands, where last April 13 in a breathtakingly fascist act of racism, the mayor of this small Dutch town evicted over 600 Eritrean youth attending a conference; kicked out of their hotel and forced to leave the city in the middle of the night.
I am not talking about Eritrean youth from Eritrea, these were mainly citizens of EU countries of Eritrean ethnicity, 600 of them, threatened with arrest and forced onto buses at 0 dark thirty and expelled from the city limits.
Their “crime”? Being Eritrean, that is supporting their country publicly in the midst of a racist and fascist fusillade of attacks by right- and left-wing Europeans against any and all things Eritrean.
These over 600 kids were attending a conference that has been held in a European country every year for the past 12 years, and was previously held in the Netherlands in 2008. Not one time has there ever been a complaint against these youth and their conferences, members and supporters of the Youth Popular Front for Democracy and Justice (YPFDJ), what used to be the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF) before Independence in 1991. I, and other prominent Western journalists (i.e. Eric Draitser and Glen Ford), have spoken at seminars sponsored by the YPFDJ and can vouch for their consciousness and discipline.
While I was in Veldhoven, I made a futile attempt to talk to the mayor about why he had tried his damnedest to stop the conference from the get go, and went so far as to publicly invite hooligans, many of them actually Ethiopian refugees pretending to be Eritreans, to come to his town and attack the conference? So he would have some reason, anything really, to get his locally buddy, the fascist judge, to put the kibosh on the Eritrean youth conference?
The mayor declared, and the judge upheld, a “State of Emergency” due to a “Threat to Public Order” and the fascist “rule of law” saw over 600 young, black, mainly EU citizens, guilty of no offense other than their ethnicity and political beliefs, evicted not just from their hotel but from the entire city in the middle of the night. Can one imagine the effect on 15 and 16 year Eritrean kids, to be kicked out of their hotel and run out of town, riding a bus in the darkness not knowing where to go, with maybe another fascist “welcoming committee” in the next town?
The conference started on Thursday and over 100 “Eritrean protestors” showed up, nary an Eritrean flag amongst them, and began their best to raise hell outside the hotel and conference center. Three Eritrean youth attending the conference got beaten up pretty badly and several cars entering the facility were attacked and damaged.
Interestingly enough this was being actively supported if not directed by a well known Dutch “human rights activist” (a good buddy of the honchos at Amnesty and HRW as well as the director general of MSF/Doctors Without Borders) and university professor, who cell phone footage shows her ranting and raving against Eritrea and provoking the “protesters” to carry out their attacks. Finally the town’s police force stepped in and arrested most of the demonstrators, with not a one a of the Eritreans attending the conference being arrested.
While in Veldhoven I spoke with a couple of policemen who had been a part of arresting the counter revolutionaries at the demonstration and they were not happy about the mayor having them all released without charge shortly after. Their point, being that they associate the African refugee community with a spike in crime in their neighborhoods, was if those seeking political asylum act like hooligans attacking persons and property and were arrested for it they should have been turned over to the immigration authorities to be deported for cause.
I spoke with an employee from the hotel conference center who had been working during the Eritrean Youth Conference and they confirmed that there had not been any problems with the Eritrean youth attending and they were surprised that they were kicked out of their hotel in the dead of the night en masse, that they knew of no reason it should have happened.
Doesn’t the EU have a “Constitution” protecting all of its citizens from such a blatant, unprovoked, racist act of fascism by public authorities? Isn’t the so called “Human Rights” movement supposed to be up in arms at such naked oppression of an ethnic minority? Isn’t the European media supposed to broadcast this crime far and wide and expose such illegal acts by the fascist mayor of Veldhoven, The Netherlands?
Not a word of protest, not a word, from anyone in Europe other than the Eritreans and their supporters, few that they are in these increasingly fascist of times.
It is turning into Fortress Europe, facism pure and simple with its early exemplifications being its rabid treatment of a particular ethnic group, the Dutch version of “Nigger Trouble,” the well organized and active Eritrean Youth Popular Front for Democracy and Justice and their racist midnight eviction by the fascist Dutch authorities in Veldhoven, The Netherlands.
Thomas C. Mountain is an independent journalist in Eritrea, living and reporting from here since 2006. See thomascmountain on Facebook or best contact him at thomascmountain at g mail dot com.