Monday, November 3, 2014

"Living here in Russia is like living in hell on Earth" -African Migrants In Russia Tells Their Stories

They say all that glitter is never gold, not as a country sounds means better hope for a living.. Many Africans have flee their countries to live in another man's country in hope of making a better life, some it favors, some never live to tell their story while some due to shame of returning home empty hand, stay living in agony.  Here are stories of African migrants in Russia, narrating experiences based on racisms in Russia. The tales are too long but I edited the story.....

Remy Bazie, 28, an  Ivory Coast migrant who was struck in the face with an iron bar at a crowded Moscow train station last November for no reason. they damaged his jaw to the degree that doctors had to install a metal plate to hold it in place. It took Bazie four months to raise the $3,600 to undergo surgery.  His story is not uncommon, Russian civil and human rights leaders say. African migrants face widespread hostility and racism that usually go unpunished.
"Living here in Russia is like living in hell on Earth," said Osman Kamara, 35, a Liberian who fled civil conflict in his homeland 10 years ago, only to fall victim to a skinhead attack in Moscow. "They don't like our color. Going out is a problem. Maybe if you go out, you might not return."
Some Africans say that after arriving here, they heard the Russian word "obezyana" directed at them so often that they initially thought it meant "black person." It means "monkey."

The brutality Africans face is a far cry from the welcome they received during the Soviet era, when students from the continent were lured in large numbers by offers of a free education, particularly those from newly independent nations that were "building communism."
"They are coming to Russia believing there will be a good job and this is a way of getting into Europe," said Penny Grenfell, racial task force coordinator for the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy, which provides medical and legal aid to Africans. "A lot of them think this is part of Europe. They think Russia has the same culture as Europe."

The migrants often end up stranded, with no official documents that would allow them to get decent jobs and little or no knowledge of the Russian language. The most common work they find is distributing fliers, advertisements and free magazines around subway stations, jobs that earn them less than $50 week. Most live up to 10 people to a room.

John Steven Abumen, 39, a Nigerian who works part time as an English tutor, said he had been attacked three times in the 15 years he has lived in Russia. He has been stabbed in the arm, suffered a broken wrist and has a protruding lump on his upper chest, an eye injury and a dislocated knee that never healed properly. He walks with a limp but can't afford the surgery that doctors have recommended. A large welt on his shaved head is the result of being hit with an iron bar, he said.
  "I woke up in the hospital three days later, " Abumen recalled. "I was almost blinded. I still don't sleep properly now." He said he reported two of the attacks to police, but no action was taken. "In Russia when you fight back, you are at fault," Abumen said as he flashed the small red canister of pepper spray he now carries for protection. "They told me, 'What are you doing in Russia? You're to blame.'
 " Sometimes law enforcement officials themselves are the antagonists, said Agnes Blais, a volunteer with the Civic Assistance Committee, which offers legal and humanitarian aid to migrants, Africans "have lots of problems with police," she said.
 "They are threatened with arrest. And the police often take money from them."

The committee took up Bazie's case and collected donations for his facial surgery. The group provided him with a lawyer and interpreter so he could file a grievance. His case is under investigation. Although the Russian press picked up his story, no one has been held accountable.

Fabrice Kanda from Congo, said a year after he arrived 3 men jumped on him and took away his guitar and his passport. Kanda filed a police report but was told that "it would be too difficult to find the guys," he said. The Russian government also denied his request for asylum.
 "I thought I had escaped from death, that I can find a new life, but my suffering has only continued," Kanda said.
Some migrants said they would willingly return home if they could afford the plane ticket, and if their lives there weren't at risk. But many others said they were ashamed to go home empty-handed, having left to seek their fortunes. Others, like Abumen, who came to Russia on a university exchange program, are reluctant to leave behind Russian wives, partners and children.

 "There is such pressure," said Blais. "They would rather live in hard conditions than go back without money."

This report was funded by a grant from the International Center for Journalists.


Oge chukwura said...

Russian r very wicked people

Eddy Duke said...

Why are they complaining if they don't want to leave?