“We Need You, But I Think You Also Need Us”

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On Behalf of the Trampoline House Mohamed spoke at The Antifascist May Day in Copenhagen. The crowd was huge and the atmosphere amazing. Here we bring the printed version of the speech.

by Mohamed

My name is Mohamed. My country of origin is Somalia, but at the moment I am seeking asylum in Denmark and live in the camp near Roskilde called Center Avnstrup. Today I would like to say a few words about a new culture house and meeting place for people living both inside and outside of the camps. The name of this beautiful place is The Trampoline House and it’s located on Skyttegade in Nørrebro.

But first of all let me say thanks for inviting The Trampoline House to participate in the Anti-Fascist May Day. I know that you are all here to show your support to the revolutions in Africa and the Middle East. And I know you are here to fight racism and discrimination and show support to migrants and asylum seekers. That makes me feel that we share ideas, and that makes me feel very welcome. Unfortunately The Trampoline House as such could not be a big part of the demonstration today. As you know, asylum seekers are in quite a different social and legal position than people with citizenship. People feel insecure about taking part in political events like this. It’s hard to fight for your rights when you don’t have any. It feels like being in a battle that can never be won.

There is probably a reason that the camps are placed far away from the public and the city. The camp is a kind of open prison. You can come in and go out of it, but you don’t have any freedom. There is not much meaningful to do in the camp, and that is actually very stressful. You wake up in a room and spend much of the day in the same room. But human beings need changes, they need to move, they need to do things. I don’t think any Dane would like to spend 24 hours that way. There is also very little interaction between the Danish people living in the vicinity of the camps and the asylum seekers.

Anti-Faschist May Day - Foto: Jakob Neerbek

Is it humane to place people in a place like that?

The Trampoline House is a user-driven culture house for asylum seekers and Danes working for a just and humane asylum policy. For me the Trampoline House is the real alternative to the camp. Thank God for this house! It’s a welcoming house that offers free transport to and from the camps for asylum seekers. Here I am back as a human being. Here people from different nations and with different cultural backgrounds share their common problems and do things together. The house is full of activities: Social and legal counseling, language classes, IT workshops and many other things. We also arrange cultural events and political debates. At the moment we’re running three workshops on gender positions: One for women only, one for men only, and finally one big discussion on this issue for both women and men.

To maintain this house with all its activities we need all kinds of support. And we need all of you who support asylum seekers. We need you, but I think you also need us. The Trampoline House wants to eliminate the distinction between ‘them’ and ‘us’ – and we really need each other so we can create a new ‘us’. That’s why we would love for you to come and visit us and do things with us. Join us at our amazing Friday dinners where around 70 people eat delicious food and have fun – it’s every Friday and it’s the best Friday place in town.

It is a big privilege to speak to so many people who really want to listen and also practice my freedom of speech. As you know, this is not possible in all parts of the world. Thanks a lot for your attention, see you in The Trampoline House, and have a fantastic May Day!