Zerai Kiros, Eritrean human rights activist living in Frankfurt, is one of the organizers of the ‘Ride4Justice’ campaign. In the interview, he explains the underlying reasons of the Ride4Justice project which aimed to bring attention on the situation of migrants in Libyan detention centers where thousands of people are trapped, in a growing climate of political tension and military instability.
Can you present us the Ride4Justice project?
My name is Zerai Kiros Abraham, I am from Frankfurt and I have been living there for a long time, so I see myself both as a Frankfurter and as Eritrean, especially with what is happening in Libya. I could not sleep knowing the situation of Eritreans in the Libyan centres. We asked ourselves ‘what could we do, what could we organize?’ This is not the first campaign, we did a ‘Ubuntu Campaign for Black Refugees’ but we decided to create the Ride4Justice project because the Libyan situation is a double issue: we speak of black refugees who are detained in detention centres. Because we live for a long time in Europe, we decided to gather local people, newcomers and refugees here, to give them a voice.
The idea was to use bicycles in the project because cycling is a national sport in Eritrea. These people fled from Eritrea, they are cyclists and we had a team of refugees. We said: ‘Let’s use this project to raise awareness regarding refugees’ situation’. We chose it and even though we did not have any supportive organization, let’s do it! If we do not do it by ourselves, why are we waiting for the support of others? We are doing social justice, we do not represent any political interest, this is about humanity.
We started in Frankfurt, on 1 May, because we thought it was better to travel from cities to cities, to talk, to have debates with people, to raise awareness. We are happy and proud to achieve it with bicycles. From Frankfurt we went to Koblenz, then from Koblenz to Köln, then from Köln to Aachen, then from Aachen to Maastricht, and finally Brussels. This is a very good journey, with a good team, with a good atmosphere, we met a lot of refugees from different countries who support us and host us. It was fantastic: this was not just a campaign, but also a way to be together and share love and support. We will continue to fight for the right to justice in this way and we don’t want to make it only as Eritreans, but include Ethiopians, Germans, Belgians… People can freely join us.
What do you hope to achieve today?
The movement #EnoughIsEnough started this fight about torture, slavery, violences against children, boys, girls, women… We wanted to create something to show people’s conditions in Libya, to highlight how high the danger is. We also wanted to say ‘Enough is Enough’ to the European Union who supports dictators, regimes, militias, thanks to financial and material support, just to protect the borders and the Mediterranean Sea. We condemn that kind of policy and we want to stop the EU categorizing the refugees. I think that we want to represent our brothers’ and sisters’ voices and in the same time to cooperate with organizations like NGOs to help the refugees in Libya.