Voices from the Balduintreppe – Interviews

Here you find some parts of interviews with people who experience life at Balduintreppe everyday.


 audio-extract of the following interview and from our zine, for reasons of repression spoken by a friend

everyone is having a dream:Edit

Europeans came to Africa

a matter of options

everythin is drained out of you

categorize you

its a lot of stress

not easy to live with Germans

a slave mentally


A matter of perspective:

In December the Hamburger newspaper Mopo published an article, claiming to have brandnew information from an Westafrican dealer himself talking about how drug dealing is organized and refering to the informations of a policemen from Bremen (?!), the Mopo is making conclusions about the situation in Hamburg. In the article the Mopo doesn‘t mind to claim, that drugworkers from Westafrica would already be trained in their homecountries to sell drugs, that they would be trained how to behave conspirative and how to hide drugs in a bush or under a car and that they would learn that even in German prisons life is better than in their homecountries. Although they are citing their interviewpartner saying, that he is earning 300,- € a month, the Mopo is sure that the drugworkers would earn 1000 to 3000 € a month.

However, let‘s not discuss about the quality of journalism, but after reading this article with some drugworkers from Westafrica, we were having an interesting discussion and coming to a totally different conclusion. Here some parts of the discussion:

Keita: They are saying their own ideas, what they are thinking. They are saying that these Fulas are trained, this one is a false news. They are saying that they are trained in Africa. This one is not true. Everyone, I think every human being has a brain. When you have your five common sense, than anything that you want to do, maybe you can do it. If you like to do something, than you will do it. They say that all these things is increasing. It is due to them. Most of this people who are doing this, they don’t have work, they are not given any chance and they are given only house, and money for food, and they tell you: eat and sleep.

So, this is not the aim of everyone, to eat and sleep, as a young man. You have to plan for your own future. You have your parents to help, you have everything, many things, your personal life and other things, so…

They think most of them earn 1000 €. Ok, lets assume that they are earning 1000 €, every month, according to what they said, but the average salary in Germany is more than 1000 €. So actually, when somebody gets a job, he will not continue drug dealing. And more or less it’s very hard to do it. It’s risky and it’s hard,because you do it continously. When it is cold, you are outside, when it is hot, you are outside, you are standing all over. Its a very hard job, more than sitting in an office. Its the hardest job so far. But it is not a job, its just a matter of having another option. Many people are doing this, because they are not having another option. That is the last option that they have according to what they expect. (…) Most of the people are doing this due to the frustration that they have. If they want to solve this problem, the only thing that they should do, is to create jobs, keep jobs, even there are many jobs.

But there is one thing that they mention saying that, two things:

One, they said most of this people are Fulas, this is a lie. Second, they say that they are trained in Afrika, this is not true. Is drug dealing trained? (lauhging) This is not true. It is impossible to train somebody how to sell drugs, it is impossible. Because even nobody knows, nobody knows how to, there is no, it is impossible to say that, have they ever seen that there is a school for drug dealing or this is a institution for drug dealing, to learn how to drug deal? Even in Africa it is not there.

The real fact is this: everyone is having a dream to become somebody, at least to benefit, to built, to live a good life, I can say, like how the German people are living. Everyone wants to live a good life, and this is the philosophy that African people have. That if you are in Europe, you should be something, this is the philosophy that we have. But in the real fact it’s not this. And they think if you are in Europe automatically you can have a job, and this is not what is happening. Many people, they will come to Europe and it will be like a disappointment to them. They will see hard I know? But it will be very difficult to go back to Africa, because you don’t have even documents to send you back to Africa. So the only thing, you search for jobs, maybe I can say more than a year, more than 2 years. Than you are frustrated, you say ok, no problem, this is my last option, I have to do drug dealing, because there is no employment. You do it, you just enter in the street and do what you want, this is the only thing. And they are saying that it is Fulas that are trained, its not true.(…) Drug dealing is even more common in the white people than in Blacks. Black peoples are the last class of drug dealers.

African peoples are the last class, because they are the one who are in the street. People, who are in the street, are the people who are seen. But people who are making the drug to enter, are not seen, because they do it professionally and they have somebody who backs them, who is working in the government, who have a, maybe who have a very big post. This drug dealing is something like chain, it can not go without somebody working in the government, in a service. Its a chain work, and the first from the chain work, it is the citizens themselves are the first, than the last are the Africans. So thats why everyone is saying it’s African, it’s Africans. They are the ones who have the worst name of it. They are the one who will have the worst name, because they are the one who are seen inside the streets. (…)

The dealer, his wish is not to be a dealer. Because nowadays you realize that most of the dealers are young and they are in strength. They have the strength to work, they have the intelligence, they have the capability, they have the capacity, they have the power, they have the focus, they have the heart, they have the bravity, they have everything. But at the end, they will tell you: ok, we will give you money for your food, we will give you a house, maybe six people, eight people in a house, you will sleep and drink, you will wake up everyday, in a life, everyday, everyday, at the end they will tell you, ok, we will deport you, when you are left weak. Your strength is gone, your capacity is gone, your ambition is gone, your capability, your capacity, your intelligence, everything is being drained out of you. Because this is the meaning of the, it is drained out of you.

The only thing that they should do is to develop people, but not to degrate people. To make people create but not to degrate people. (…)

Its a lot of stress. This is the stress that people are going through, but the person who is feeling it, is the only one who knows it. Who is feeling the pain, is the only one who knows it. But people outside will be talking. And, what they think. The person will be taking risk. People will be insulting, some people will be humiliating them. Some people will racist abuse them, some people will even insult them, all these things, we will face all these things. Police are catching them, torturing them, all these things are … still you are having that true faith that maybe one day… Because nobody lasts in drug dealing. Only you are looking for a certain capital, maybe that, from that capital you know that I can help myself, I can build a family from it, I can help others. And you will stop. You start creating another business, that is legal. Than your life goes on. But where is the foundation that they are giving? They are not giving any foundation. So you have to create this foundation for yourself. How do you create this foundation for yourself? When you are not having a job? I ask you. (…)

Abou: Sorry, me I have one point only. I understand what this man is saying, he missed only one point. Its false, its not true, no African is trained in Africa to come and sell drug in Europe. Me I only blame the EU and the police, the cops. Why? Because people in Africa, not even only in Westafrica, the whole of Africa and Asia, leave their homeland and come to Europe because of persecution, because of bad dictatorship, because of political reasons. They come and seek asylum in Europe. Most people enter through Spain, Italy and Greece. The EU policy is a bad policy. The EU is saying, ok, any country you’re first arriving and make your fingerprint, is responsible for your asylum and your situation. Now, you know that, Spain, Italy and Greece is very poor country in Europe. Now they say, ok, this people, if they obtain their refugee document from that very country, Italy, Spain and Greece, they are allowed to work only in those countries. When they know that there is no work in that place, their citizens don’t have anything, how do they expect foreigners with their refugee passport or refugee status to have a job there. So the frustration given people to come and sell drug in richer countries like Germany, Finland, Norway, and Switzerland, is because this people have their passport from Italy or Spain, refugee document, they are telling them, ok, the EU give you right to travel within these rich countries and within these poor countries in Europe, you have the right to travel, and live for three month, but you don’t have any right to work. Now, for example, you come from Italy, with your refugee status. You can’t find a job, you have your wife, you have your father also, your mum, and you can’t go back, you have political problem if you go back, your life is in risk, or you will die. You can’t go back, there is no way. Now the European said, you can stay in Italy, you can work in Italy, you can’t find a job in Italy, but they tell you ok, you can move to another country.

The Germans tell you, ok, you can’t work, but you can stay for holiday three month. How can you stay for holiday without job, how can you make life? In some cases for example, those who seek asylum in Italy or in other places, if they come and seek asylum here, they tell you no, you are not qualified to seek asylum here, because already your hand is in Italy, your fingerprint is in Italy, go back to Italy. They can’t give you no job, they can’t give you no house in Italy. They can’t give you even 200 euro, what do you expect to do? You will sell drug. The cops, if they want people to stop selling drugs and if the EU wants people to stop selling drugs, let them make, in a way that any person who obtain document from Italy, Greece or Spain, refugee document, will be allowed to work within the EU. Than even it is 500 EU, 800 EU, people will prefer to take that than to sell drug. You understand. but, what they are saying, nobody is trained in Africa to come and sell drug. Ja, most of the people don’t even see drug. Me, I never see drug, cocaine with my eye in Africa. I only see it here. So all what they are saying is rubbish, its not true. If they want people to survive like them, I don’t say they give us the same standard of living, but let them provide us another way, also we can survive without selling drug. This is rubbish, how can somebody live in the world without money and nothing. You sleep outside, you have no job, you need to eat. You need to wear close, where do you have all those things. If you see a chance of selling drug and making 200 € per month, or 500, you will do it. So I blame the EU. I think this message is going to the EU. The EU has to change their policy and has to say, look, any refugee from any country should be allowed to work within the EU countries, freely. Than there will be no selling.

Keita: The European people only want Africans to have bad reputation, this is the fact, but they forget that they were the first people to travel to Africa… And destroy Africa. That we are the first people to travel to Europe, but its the Europeans that first travel to Africa and rip all the materials, all the national resources that is in Africa, and they are the people who stole the national ressources. And our grandfathers are the one who were used as slaves and robbed. What I am saying is clear, 400 years are back, Europeans travel to Africa and they, because there was an interest for them. And with that interest is what we are coming to find. Because there is a word that I believe: What goes around must come around. That means that anything that you do will show a reflect in the future. It will reflect in the future. European people traveled to Africa before and now is the turn of Africa to come

Abou: The Europeans first went to Africa, before Africans start coming to Europe. And the trouble why Africans are leaving Africa and come to Europe is create by the Europeans, to my understanding, because the killing of all these African leaders is going by Europeans, the European interventions. … And those people now they live in extreme poverty. And in state of fear, their lives are in danger, you understand. Those people, because Europeans went to Africa, create war, fight their leaders, kill them, now there is war in Africa. What do you expect Africans to do? Their lives are in risks, their lives are in danger. They have to come to Europe. They come to Europe and they have no opportunity, no job. They have no access to nothing. What do you expect them to do? (…)

Keita: They are making people to hate Africans. Because most of the people, when they see you in the street, automatically they categorize you as a bad person. They categorize you as a criminal. And that person, that is categorizing you as a criminal, you are more good than him. In the real sense, I am telling you, this is a fact, in real sense you are more good than that person, that is categorizing you as a bad person, as a criminal. because that person, maybe he is benefiting only himself. But the person that you are categorizing as a criminal maybe he is feeding thousands of people. He is helping thousands of people. He is taking the risk, he is taking all the difficulties, he is not even enjoying, perhaps. The only thing that he wants is to help. But people, the governments of European countries, they only want to see Africans to be criminals. And they only want to make the public belief, that this people are criminals. (…)

We are trying to explain about the situations in German, how Africans feel, and how difficult they are going through. This is what we are trying to explain, and what they are publishing to the public, this will make the public to be more afraid of the people. This will make the public not to give a chance to the black people.


What would you like to tell to the public?

A statement from Kekeme and others: The reasons that majority of us are here

First reason is that we have no work and most of us are responsible person with the hope that Hamburg is a city where one can find many opportunities. It is clear and understandable that it is not the will of anyone of us to do what we are doing today. We want to work, but there is no possibility for us.

I know some of the neighbours may see us as criminals or have negative view towards our actions, but as I mention earlier that this is not our will.

The police brutality is also a thing that is frustrating, though control is normal in other way, but we need freedom of movement in any part of the country. Now even when you are going to the mosque or to the supermarket, they will control you and tell you to abandon the place or the area of St. Pauli for twenty-four hours. And St. Pauli is in Hamburg.

Finally big thanks to the natives of St. Pauli for they are standing by our sides in both day and night to see us to have our freedom which is obligated to all human.


One week after the police raid with 300 police in Bernhard-Nocht/Hafenstrasse in July 16, Chat with Gomez

When you come into reality, when you talk to the people, you will find out, that they are not criminals. They are not bad, they don‘t steal, and don‘t rape. They are just selling marihuana. You know, in some countries it is legal. In my homecountry it is seen as medicine. I am selling, what I am smoking.

Last week, when there was the police raid, I was coming from the Reeperbahn. I was realy surprised and I was argueing with my friend, if they are here for us. My friend said: „They didn‘t plan this only for us, it‘s too much police.“ But I realized it was for us. They came as like they are going to fight. We don‘t have weapons, we are not aggressive. They overstate it, people are not criminals. Some people are only coming for friendship and they were included as criminals. But this is not the reality. I think what they found was too small. They took 34 persons in a realy brutal way, although no one was resisting. Everybody who was black was arrested. And they found nothing with them. They let them sit for hours in cable ties, so that the blood did not run anymore in the hands. They treat us like dogs. Why? We are human beings as well.

It makes me depressed what is happening. What people are thinking is realy different. People here are nice, but what people think… Sometimes I go on the street and people say to me that I am a bad person. They will judge you according to your actions, but the reality is different.You can not judge somebody, while you don`t know him. You have to know what is going on his mind. Or you have to know why he is in that situation. You can only know that by integrating with them, by talking with them.

This is what people should do, talk to the people and know what is on their mind, and know their problems. I think for every problem there is a solution.

Work is one of this solutions, but how can somebody work without the working permission. So when there is no legal job, some people will be frustrated. They don‘t give you work. I have tried a lot of times. When they don‘t employ you, you have to employ yourself.

They are saying we are economical migrants, but in my country there is a dictatorship. Our opposition leader is in prison. When people go to a demonstration, they end up in the prison as well. It is strange to say, that we are economical migrants. The people here on the street made a lot of sacrifices to come here. They just need help to help themselves and to help their families, their brothers and sisters.

Here we could contribute to the society. It would be good for the comfortness for them and for us. Before you give me everyday a fish, it is better to show how to catch the fish and I will survive without you. Even if you are not there tomorrow, I will survive. And I will not even steal your fish.

And the sadest part of the story: When you go to my homecountry, you will find out, how people are open, how people are hospital, how people are carrying about for you people. They like to make you comfortable. Here it is in the opposite way. But I think it is the ignorance of not travelling.


Life in Hamburg, experiences with the police: Chat with Ibrahim, Amadou and Kekeme

Ibrahim: Hamburg ist very famous for Blacks, you understand? In Germany here, it is long time, many people said, in Germany, the best place for Africans, for Black immigrants, is Hamburg. Because here, its long time for Blacks, so you can be in other cities where there are too much of racists. But in Hamburg, I think now, things are changing, because the way, the police are acting on us, definetely, is very terrible. For example, when they see you in a criminal area, they controll you or anything, thats very normal. But even out or anywhere you are, even if you are going to the mosque and doing prayer, its a problem. Sometimes they will wait you out of the gate, at the gate of the mosque, you finish praying, you go, police controll. Especially this plain close (…unknowable), anywhere they are following you.

There is mosque here, turkish mosque, at Reeperbahn here… There is a place where they invite people to go and eat, have free food. Its a house, where they give you free food,you take breakfast or lunch. If you go there sometimes, the police will wait you at the gate. When you go, they stand in front of you, control, you know. Sometimes its crazy.

Amadou: Sometimes, when the sun is out, like you want to go to the park to enjoy yourself with the sun, you go there, its a problem, police everywhere, police you know, its crazy.

Ibrahim: You know, they will controll you, they will communicate your documents. When they see you, they say you are a criminal: “We tell you to leave this place.“ Even they don´t see you anything, everytime communicating your documents,communicate. Or they will meet you, they say: „why are you here?“ Like you tell them: „I come here to eat or I come here to pray.“ They will give you a map: „Leave this area 24 hours!“ If you don´t mind and you see them again the same day, they will take you and you go sleep with them. You know, its crazy.

Amadou: Sometimes they break you, they search you, they see nothing in our pocket, here, on the way you are going, they didn´t see you nothing, they say: „Leave this area.“

One day, I told him, but me, I am going to pray, here is mosque. I say,after, when I pray, I can pass and go back to Bahnhof, he says: „No, when we meet again here, you will go to station.“

You have right in control anywhere, also in Africa. If you do anything against the law, they have right to controll you. But sometimes you are on the way, you are going to the mosque, or you are going to the supermarket. Especially civilian police, because the other police, when you don´t see nothing, they don´t stop you.

They have right, but you are on the way, you are going, they stop you, they ask you, they don´t find anything with you, so why they controll you, they say: „Leave this area until tomorrow.“

Ibrahim: Or sometimes they are attacking you. They will not even tell you: „Police“. They will just come and rush you, you know, grab you, like you did something wrong.Thats not normal, that is very abnormal. Even you are sacking somebody, it is very civilized, just come and tell: „I am a police.“ We are all human being, its your right, you are doing your work. They just come and attack somebody.

Amadou: Here, not all of us, is sellling weed, some people come here for chatting. Though many of us sell, but some people come here for chatting. But you will meet with the civilian police, the person will tell you: „I want weed from you.“ He will offer you money, so you know a friend who will have weed. They will influence you, because you will not see to loose the money. You are not having anything with you. So go and take weed from your friend and sell it to him, and the same police will come and they arrest you as a criminal.

Ibrahim: Mainly when they came, the way they use to come is very hard. They come with fight, they just come and grab you, push you, you know, its terrible, it is very terrible.

Amadou:Police car, you know, they will just come and grab you, poooh, and take you without telling you: „I am a police or can i search you“ They will just come and grab you like a criminal.

Ibrahim: Last time (Anmerkung: brutale Festnahme eines Mannes durch einen als Flaschensammler verkleideten Zivilpolizisten und weiteren hinzueilenden Zivis), the way the person arrest this guy, you know, the person is like, if you see this person, you will think he is a mad man. For example, if you also have power, that person come and grab you like that without telling he is a police, coming and grabbing. What about if you are also try to defend yourself. If you go to court they say they fight the police man. The way they attack you is undone, its abnormal, its crazy.

Wishes and ideas

Ibrahim: Our wish ist to work. Our main wish is to work.If I have work I will never come here again. I am a cook, I study cook, But I don´t have work. I don´t have opportunity. If I have work, I will work.

Kekeme: To work, thats our wish. This is not our will. What we are doing here is not our will. I came to live here, this is what I want, but I can not do it… Normaly what they use to say you: „we have your fingerprint in Italy. So Italy is your place.“ In Italy there is no work. Germany is better, you can be better.

Ibrahim: You know, if you go back to Italy, you don´t have where to go.

Amadou: In Italy you can not work, Here you are not allowed to work… Even you want to work in Italy, you can not work. Thats why everybody is coming to the Asyl.

Kekeme: My intention, this right moment, I don´t think that I can stay here long time, you know. I have to leave, if there is no way, if there is no other option, than I have to leave. I will try another place. May I don´t have a better life? This is not my will. Its just because I don´t have work. Thats why I am doing this. If I have work, I would not do it. I try all my best. There is no possibility, so. I will decide, wether there is no possibility still, I will find another place to see, I don´t know if in germany, but I will try.

Ibrahim: We don´t came here to stay here, like we came here to St. Pauli, to stay here for ever. No, its just a temporary.There are people last year who came here, this year they are not around, even this year there are people who came, they are not around, people come like 2 month, they go away, so we don´t intent to stay here forever. Though we know, the police, you know, they are very hard on us. Things are getting tough everyday. Everyday we are seeing different situations, that was not happening before.

Ibrahim: Me in life, what I like is liberty. If I have my freedom, I am ok. If I have my freedom, its finished, but if you don´t have freedom, its like you are living in a hell. Its crazy always, because you don´t have anything to do by yourself. Its crazy.

Situation in the camp

Ibrahim: For me, I came Germany not long, because I have only one month in Germany, I am just coming, one month. They throw me in one camp and still they leave me and I am still there.

It is very difficult to live in that camp, even the toiletts, you can not use it. The food they are giving me, I can not even eat. Its very terrible, in the camp there are too many people. I don´t intent to stay here for long time. I am waiting for my transfer. Because of the difficulty, it is for my camp, thats why I came here. If I have transfer, they give me my flat,I have opportunities to go to school, I don´t come Hamburg. I stay in my house. But the camp I am living, a human being, you can not live there, it is very difficult. The food is not good, people are too much, sometimes even to use toilett is a problem. I don´t have my liberty in the camp. Thats the main thing. I don´t have my liberty, I don´t have my freedom there. If you go out, before eleven, they will close the door. I am not a small boy. I need to go out to have fun, like I go to party, you know.  Where I live, they close the camp. If you come late, you sleep outside. Its like a prison, if you are going, they controll your card, your Ausweis, everything. If you want to go away, they tell you, you can go away, but anytime you have appointment, you must go there and attent. So if I have appointment, I go back, but I can not live in the camp, because i don´t have any freedom, like a small boy, you can not do anything, see the one place, the food is no good, you can not go outside, meeting people, have your own feeling. For this I run away from the camp. I am waiting for my transfer in Hamburg. If I have transfer, I go and chase my dream, you know.