The Impact of European Refugee Policy in Europe
Exhibition | Scenic Presentation | Panel Discussion
We commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the death-in-custody of Oury Jalloh with a day of art and action. The event includes a specially commissioned foyer exhibition, the official launch and scenic presentation of the play The Most Unsatisfied Town by Amy Evans, directed by Daniel Brunet, and a panel discussion moderated by Noa Ha, urban researcher (board member of Migrationsrat Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.), with Mouctar Bah, human rights activist (Initiative Oury Jalloh), Canan Bayram, politician (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen), Eddie Bruce-Jones, legal expert (Oury Jalloh International Independent Commission) and Mai Shutta, human rights activist & refugee (Oranienplatz & Ohlauer Straße).
In cooperation with Sharon Dodua Otoo, Witnessed Series and Africavenir
In the early hours of 7 January 2005, Oury Jalloh, a man seeking asylum from Sierra Leone, was apprehended by German police authorities in Dessau and shackled by his hands and feet to the floor of a cell furnished with nothing other than a fireproof mattress. Several hours later a fire broke out in the holding facility. Police authorities neglected to respond to fire alarms in a timely manner, and Oury Jalloh was left to burn to death in his cell. Three years later two of the police officers on duty at the time of the incident were prosecuted on charges of wrongful death. The defense argued that Oury Jalloh had intentionally set himself alight with a cigarette lighter concealed in his clothing. After a trial lasting over fifty days, the police officers were acquitted of any wrongdoing.
The Initiative Oury Jalloh, an organization founded by friends and family of the deceased, appealed the verdict, insisting that the trial in Dessau had been mishandled. Five years to the day of Oury Jalloh’s death, the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe overturned the verdict and re-opened the case against the police. This unprecedented decision brought urgent attention to the contentious triangle of asylum policy, racism, and police brutality in Germany and in the European Union as a whole.
The Most Unsatisfied Town by Amy Evans
Since his arrival in Germany as a refugee, Laurence has tried to do everything right, taking the kind of job no national would ever want and making friends with his neighbors, even the families of those who tease his children in school. He’s found the formula for survival, or so he thinks, until one day his closest friend mysteriously disappears. When the body turns up charred beyond recognition, a search for those responsible begins, forcing Laurence to take a closer look at the town he was so ready to call home.
Development of The Most Unsatisfied Town began in September 2009 at the ICI Berlin Institute of Cultural Inquiry and involved direct contact with activists working on the case, including Carl von Ossietzky award recipient Mouctar Bah and Yonas Endrias, Vice President of the Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte. A rough draft of the script was presented to the public in December 2009 at an open workshop hosted by the ICI Berlin, where audience members were encouraged to share their feedback on the work-in-progress. A revised draft of the play incorporating that feedback was presented to the public as a staged reading in April 2010. The script will be published in 2015 by Edition Assemblage as part of Witnessed, a series of new books chronicling the Black experience in Germany.
Amy Evans (playwright) is a New York-based playwright whose work explores the impact of borders, loss and movement on the human spirit. Amy began writing for the stage full-time following the premiere of her award-winning first play, Achidi J’s Final Hours, at the Finborough Theatre in London in 2004. Other plays include Many Men’s Wife (Tricycle Theatre), The Next Question (HB Playwrights Foundation), Unstoned (Soho Theatre), The Big Nickel (Soho Theatre) and The Champion, a new play inspired by the life of Nina Simone. She is an alumnus of the Institute of Cultural Inquiry Kulturlabor in Berlin, Hedgebrook Women Writers’ Residency, BRICStudio Performing Arts Residency and the Tricycle Theatre Writers’ Group. Amy’s plays and poetry have appeared in several publications, including Velocity: The Best of Apples and Snakes performance poetry anthology (Black Spring Press, 2003); Mythen, Masken, Subjekte: Kritische Weißseinforschung in Deutschland (Unrast, 2005), a multi-disciplinary publication on critical whiteness studies in Germany; and How Long Is Never? (Josef Weinberger, 2007), a collection of short plays written in response to the crisis in Darfur. She holds an MA in Theatre Arts from Goldsmiths College.
Sharon Dodua Otoo (Project Coordinator, Limited to You) is a Black British mother, activist, author and editor of the book series Witnessed. She co-edited the first publication of the series The Little Book of Big Visions. How to be an Artist and Revolutionise the World with Berlin-based curator Sandrine Micossé-Aikins (edition assemblage, 2012). Sharon’s first novella the things i am thinking while smiling politely was published in February 2012 (edition assemblage). The German language translation die dinge, die ich denke, während ich höflich lächle, appeared in October 2013. Her latest novella Synchronicity (in German) appeared in August 2014 and will be published in English at the end of 2015. She lives, laughs and works in Berlin.