All of us were in total disbelief and AMAZEMENT at what was going on here in our most immediate and personal reality/iesand I guess, only the fact that we were all experiencing this nightmare TOGETHER made it possible for us to be sure that it really WAS happening!
It's hard to describe this kind of violence they were using on us, because it's not enough to speak about the physical violence.When being caged up by these totally inhumane and so willfully hurtful and brutal characters, it's also a level of psychological violence which is more subtle and less obvious in any kind of "show and tell" explanation, but it is the FEELING,
A very painful feeling this type of violence causes which cannot be brought down to simply fear and distaste (helplessness, hopelessness, exposure, panic, fury, despair etc. ) but it is something that can actually inflict a lot more harm than any physical violencebecause this type of psychological warfare is nothing but a directly agonizing exposure to the kind of machinery which 'ordinary' human beings are being molded into. It gives a horrifying image of the toxicity of the mental obscurations which people all over the world have mutated to oblige to. The complete lack of empathy, compassion and loss of Love, to give way to a closed, compartMENTALized mind, which has lost all means of sensual functioning, but can only receive orders of rigidity and dogma, and is itself, only driven by fear and insecurityThe Tumor of the human consciousnessonce mutated it begins to attack all the remaining healthy cells in its absurd and diseased obsession for GROWTH rather than the freedom and DIGNITY FOR INDIVIDUALITY
THIS is what hurts, these mental bruises, which people are inflicting on people all over this worldin the historically ever present pecking order of hierarchical power and oppression, greed and self-important competition, a game where playing means losing, means giving up LIFE to be allowed to play, starving compassion to feed only ego, to become only a pawn, a puppet, a mindless servant (slave) to the rules of a game that is playing with YOU
Okay, it seems like I've gotten somewhat on a tangent from the story, which is something I must try to reduce or I'll never get finishedbut it's just that it is THIS, precisely this, the mental slavery which people around the world are subjected towhich in turn causes them to oppress and condemn fellow human beings and living creation in general.
It's so PAINFUL to witness this although it happens everywhere and all the time. There ARE ways to defy this "losing game" in your own lifeby simply CREATING those open spaces of freedomopen and inviting everyone to join and contribute with love and respect the colorful diversity within this boundary-less spectrum of Uniqueness and Individuality
Oh no, it seems like I must put some kind of boundaries on MYSELF right now, because I'm not able to stop getting side-tracked from this already over-dimensionally long account of what happened in this totally unbelievable experience of a scenario which is so blatantly, painfully COMMON in this World.
(Back to the story)
After having been threatened with the gas, we were somewhat reluctant to continue making any noise, but the position I was in, arms and legs tied in a knot and handcuffed to the bench, making it impossible to move became unbearable very quickly. But after some dislocation of wrist and shedding of some skin and with the help of the other girls to pull (despite their insisting it couldn't work), it was finally possible to get at least one hand out of the handcuffs, enabling to bring myself into a more "comfortable" position.
But immediately the police were back in the cell (there was a window through which we were being observed like in a zoo, so there was not much that one could do discreetly). This time they chained me to the wall, with arms outstretched and upward (making the blood flow own) and they closed the handcuffs very, tightly, VERY tightlyIt was so painful I knew I could never stand it. But this time, there was no escape no chance.
I don't know exactly how long I did stand it before I raised a total screaming HELL. I shouted VERY angrily in the face of the policemen (two now), that they'd "BETTER WATCH IT!" Because when what they were doing right now in this cell would revealed to the outside legal services, they could be prepared for "A LOT OF TROUBLE" and I repeated many, many times, SCREAMING, partly because of the pain, partly because of my incredible fury. "YOU WILL BE IN A L O T OF TROUBLE!!!!!! DO YOU HEAR ME ?!? A LOT, A L O T OF TROUBLE FOR Y O U !!!!!!!!!!!!!"
And then an amazing thing happened --He released me ! (from the wall). Maybe he understood the word "trouble". It was a little victory.
We remained the rest of the night in jail.I don't know, maybe I even slept for some moments, but I don't think so. Not only because the floor was hard and cold and I only had a T-shirt on, but also my mind couldn't rest, despite being very tired. In the morning, we realized that we would probably stay locked up here for all the 48 hours, before we finally were even brought to another cell at the immigration police. And then who knows what would happen there, maybe we would get deported straight to the border, who knows maybe we'd stay there for 180 days?.
Despite the total lack of information, somehow, I don't know exactly how (I guess it was an info exchange from the boys cell), the rumor seeped into our cell that the immigration police were totally overburdened with 200 people and that was why we were still being kept here. And the explanation for the outrageous mistreatment in this police station was only because these cops were also already completely sick of our being there and would like to just get rid of us quickly.
Still, even if this were an excuse for us to be treated like shit, which it surely shouldn't be, then it still shouldn't prevent them from letting us make ONE phone call on behalf of All of us Just to inform the legal services who and where we were to at least spare these poor and overworked police our constant and SO tiresomely repetitive demands for our basic rights.
But they didn't even want to communicate with us at all; they only wanted to speak with force. Our faces were glued to window - through which WE could be observed, but through which we could also observe THEM - and watch everything that was going on in the office.
"Who is in the Zoo? You or me?" I held pieces of the Salami and bits of old bread which we had refused to eat to the steel barred window pane and pretended to offer to feed the exotic animals behind the barsjust for entertainment.They were NOT amused.
Anyway, this morning (27th Sept) at about 0800, I asked to be allowed to go to the toilet. One thing I forgot to mention all along is that, on the way out of the girls' cell, we always had to pass by the boys' cell, which had a quite different ambience from ours. First of all, they were always completely visible, with no privacy at all, since they were in a sort of open cage. Then they were also in a very much smaller space, although there were a lot more of them inside. But we could easily exchange info as we passed by and also they could follow vaguely the condition we had been in for the past long hours at this police station. Otherwise, it was definitely easier for the girls to keep an eye on the boys than for the boys to have any idea of what was happening in the girls' cell, which was completely closed off and around the next corner.
This morning they were all huddled and piled together, about 15-20 of them, lying mostly on top of each other, because there was much too little room for all of them in that small cell/cage. Well, at least they didn't seem cold (like we were) and this morning they all seemed to be sleeping. Probably because we had kept them awake all night with our surreal sound façade and jail house technoand sure, they must've been able to follow vaguely that there was some crazy stuff going on in the girls' cell into the wee hours of the morning And who knows what kind of a night they had.
Of course, I didn't allow them even an opportunity to sleep in this morning, because I had the outrageous demand, as I came back from the toilet, to request ONE MORE TIME my right to a phone call. When we passed the office where all the phones were, I made a move as if to go in, saying, "Excuse me but I REALLY need to use your phone" but instantly the police were all over me.
They tried to manoeuvre me back to 'my' cell, but I decided to really make a clear point about this, then and there, using the opportunity of being outside to let them know that I refused to spend any more time in their custody, as we had 'officially' paid and been told we would be released. I did not see why I, or anyone else, had to spend any more time locked up here.
And if they did have any reason to further detain us, then I had the right to contact our legal service. I very simply WOULD NOT go back into this smelly stale-aired cell, until I was allowed to do so. I said all this but, of course, at the time it was futile to try to communicate sensibly with any of them. The two Czech girls who had been with us at the beginning were separated from us early on already. They told us that they would be released, having to pay a fine of 15,000 Ck (which they said they could never afford) but who knows where they were now. Anyway, there was no one there to translate for us anymore. Also, the police were definitely not interested in dialogue because they were all only interested in ONE thing, which was to put me back into the cell no compromise, no phone call.
And then came the infamous incident which, in police reports and press releases of the Ministry of the Interior, I was described as a completely wild and in-fury-raging-out-of-control alien. (I was described as an "alien") who, judging from their version, proceeded to kick, smash and attack everything and everyone in sight.
My rather humble version might be less spectacular, but at least it is true
First of all, I want to clarify one definite thing: it was the policemen who did all the kicking and the smashing and everything which could be described as an assault. All I did was, in defiance to all the above, which they were doing to make me moveAll I did was: NOT MOVE.
Now, if this is what, by German definition, is called "Widerstand gegen die Staatsgewalt" (direct translation: "Resistance against State Violence" then, okay, I must say that I WAS resisting their state-sponsored, mindless and definitely heartless violence. I was just someone (alien or not) who had been brought here and confined for the last day and night, to be under constant exposure to a seemingly never-ending stream of unnecessary brutality, whether it be physical or psychological, I had been severely mistreated (surely no more than others). I had been humiliated, dehumanized, insulted. I had been refused the most basic rights. I had been threatened and subjected with measures way beyond the basic rights of the police.
And yes, I RESISTED this unnecessary and unjustly violent behaviour, and the only way in which I resisted was that, when they tried to put me back in the cell, one more time illegally, I simply did NOT MOVE and I did not LET THEM MOVE ME.
This very quickly escalated into a most intense kind of "battle" between our two very different motivations. For them, it seemed extremely important that they put me back into this cell. Despite really hating to cause conflict or cause people to become aggressive, at this moment I was first of all not given a choice, because I DO NOT compromise my freedom nor my basic rights. And secondly, it seemed like I was only doing these ungentlemen a favor because they seemed to be immensely happy that I had given them an opportunity to do what they liked to do most
I will try to describe the whole sequence as precisely as possible, with a reminder that my personal field of vision was a little limited when there were several big men grabbing a hold of me from all sides at once. Definitely it was not soft.
At first, they just tried to push me, pull me, whatever, but I didn't move. And this I could only achieve by holding on to various furniture, door frames, etc And I was holding on A LOT and to remove me, they would've had to either rip my arms off, cut them off or beat them off and I'm glad that they only beat or tried to beat them off. I think they also tried removing each finger, one by one, but in this case, I would usually let go and grab something else very quickly. But, believe me, even in the stress of the situation, I would not have made the mistake to grab a policeman (although there wasn't much else around) simply because it would've been so obviously counterproductive to standing my ground.
And surely, according to the description of the police, where I was supposedly 'attacking' them, then I don't know, but they must've been doing a considerably terrible job (at their terrible job) to not be able to constrain - as many as they were - one young girl. And to then even allow her to proceed "kicking them several times" and "smashing their uniforms" and even "injuring them" as it states in some reports. (And what they accused me of originally, but I guess they decided to take that back when the case became such a hype, probably in fear of sounding too incredible)
Even if I didn't know from personal experience that this didn't happen, I wouldn't have believed that this could happen. Not even if it had been a fully trained and super-violent "alien", I would've quite thought this possible. And I do think that the police are used to constraining a lot more hard-core calibers, so it seems ridiculous that they suddenly wouldn't be able to prevent one girl from kicking and smashing everyone.
As goes for me personally, even if I do shamelessly admit how much I would have enjoyed to kick and smash these so unjust and deserving policemen,it is just such a totally absurd accusation. Because no matter how agitated I was or however tempting the idea might have been .come on, I might be a little crazy sometimes but I'd hope to say I'm not completely STUPID.
If I really wanted to kick a policeman, surely I wouldn't choose to do it in a police station. So, one more time:
I did not attack or even touch any of them in any confrontational way except for trying to remove their illegally covered ID# badges, which I really wanted to see for a good reason.
If there was any physical contact on my part, it was in self-defense. They were hurting me a lot, by beating or twisting all parts of my body which were 'stuck' from moving into the direction of 'my' cell. So it's possible that, if they twisted my leg in such a way that I couldn't bear the pain, I may have tried to shake off or remove my leg from the constraint, but I would hardly describe this as kicking someone. Besides, I was receiving enough painful treatment as it was and surely tried to avoid worse abuse and even in the state of adrenalin rush, I know very well that any physical conflict from my side would've probably been the ticket to get my head bashed in properly. So I can only confirm one more time: I'm not quite so crazy as to try and match a physical fight with several policemen.
But yes, I did try to rip off their ID # badge. And this was simply because, they were at this point handling me so rough, that the girls in my cell were screaming at them, demanding to know their numbers. These girls were also witnesses, at least from the part of the battle where I was already quite near the door of the cell (yeah, they did finally manage to move me..). And together we were all demanding, very loudly, to know the ID #'s of these much too violent police.
What was really, really irritating was that, on top of being illegally rough with me, illegally detaining me and illegally refusing my request for a phone call, they now also illegally covered their ID number badges with their hands. I was not really in any condition to memorize six-digit numbers while being contorted and thugged about. But sure, I tried to see and I would've tried to remember them, if I would've been allowed to see them, but every time I even looked at the badges, they quickly put their hands over them. This did make me angry, very angry, and I really had had enough of them at this point.
To lock people up who were unjustly accused of breaking unjust laws, like participating in a demonstration, is one thingbut to then just go ahead to willfully break their own laws...that's just the limit of all the hypo-crazy I could take. So, I had enough and I grabbed one badge and pulled it as hard as I could. But it was very frustrating; it just didn't want to come off, despite really pulling hard. And additionally to my pulling the badge, the police were pulling my arm to pull it off the badge and eventually succeeded. I didn't notice that this caused two fingers to be cut very deeply, until I suddenly saw so much blood everywhere and wondered where it came from.
At this point, it became almost surreal.. Despite my finger having a huge chunk of flesh dangling in a gushing flow of blood, I felt no pain. And at the time I didn't even have an idea how much of it had been cut, since this was the final stage of our struggle and - I don't know about them but I was on a soaring rush of adrenalin. It was because of this, I had been able to hold the force of my static resistance and to receive all the beating without giving in. I was so pumped full of shock waves, that I could feel nothing except the rush of such a raging reality that I couldn't even believe it was really happening. It was more than surreal, it was SURE REAL. The fact that there was suddenly blood everywhere made the already raging moment into a total splatter scenario.
I realized that with one flash of the wrist, I could splash blood everywhere. And I admit it was somewhat satisfying to splash my blood on the cops, because even if I couldn't give them any other kind of trouble, at least I could make them nervous enough to get an HIV test. They did seem to panic a little about all the blood and that's when I got kicked through the door at last.
I kept one leg outside so they couldn't close the door. Sure, I knew it was a bit of a risk to keep my leg outside of the door because it they really wanted to, they could really hurt me by slamming the door closed which they did but again, I felt no pain, at first. But after they began to kick the "escaped" leg very hard, I eventually did go through quite some agony. At the end, it was only my foot left in the door, which they also kicked and stepped on with a lot of force and squashed it inside the door and I had to, at some point, scream in pain and save my foot from being too badly hurt. The steel door slammed shut.
The show was over and I was back in the cell, my heart racing and blood rushing through my ears and out of my cut fingers. It wasn't only dripping; it was almost a continuous flow of deep red blood, very thick and dark and within minutes, there were puddles of it, all over the floor.
My friends in the cell were very concerned and for the first time, I had a chance to look more closely at the injury. Beneath the pouring fountain of blood I saw that there was a huge, dangling chunk of flesh, which was only barely attached by a piece of skin. They offered me pieces of their clothes to soak up the blood but I was afraid to put something not clean on such a deep wound for risk of infection. Of course, the cops didn't bring me anything, not even toilet paper.
Still I felt no pain. I was numb with rage. The most lucky thing for me was the love and care from the friends in the cell. They were wonderful, not only in this moment, when they were so gentle and tried to help me relax and calm down after all the brutalitybut during the whole time. It was them who even made it possible for me to not lose my mind which is what happens very quickly when I get locked up like this.
Anyway, it was important to make the best of the situation right now and this was to use the blood to write down all the identification #s, which we could read. Through the window, we could try to make out the badges also, but it was hard, because they are printed in such a way that they're very difficult to read from further away. But we did manage to get some down on a piece of biscuit wrapper. With the rest of the blood, we painted messages on the 'zoo' window, like "telephone" (written in mirror image so they could read it) and we really wanted to write "Fuck the police" but decided against it since we didn't know what this could lead to. With the rest of all the blood, I began to paint pictures, just to relax a little. My injured left hand, I held up in the air to try to stop the bleeding but it wouldn't stop completely.
In the meantime, the cops were busily typing away on the typewriter. Obviously, they were making some kind of protocol about this whole event. I had, of course, no idea what this would mean for me and my future. I didn't worry about it at all in fact, because I knew I hadn't done anything punishable. Little did I know that they were writing a completely absurd account about me 'assaulting them, kicking and smashing' and everything one could expect from an "extraordinary event alien attacks". Basically, what they wrote was completely true, with the only mistake being that they got ME mixed up with THEM.
I was, at the same time, quite "happily" painting away with the blood, surprised at how good a medium it was. The blobs of the deep, dark congealed blood, were so concentrated with "color", that they worked great for drawing long, continuous lines with your finger or the end of a shoestring (they let us keep shoestrings to hang ourselves). I painted a policeman, holding a placard (like in the police photos) saying "Public Enemy #1" and titled "I am the real criminal" and was just about to put it in the window for them to admire, when the door slammed open and three cops with sticks in hand burst in and shouted "Sylvia MACH! You come with us." I really thought that now they were going to beat the shit out of me and I backed into the corner and protected my head under both my arms.
They dragged me out of the cell very brutally. It seemed like a reverse scenario because this time I was very afraid to leave the cell. I made a last panicking eye contact with my friends and whispered to one, "Camera," on my way out.
I guess here I have to explain one important thing I forgot to mention earlier: One time when I asked to get some medicine for my sore throat (which they believed since I was sick and coughing and could hardly speak), they actually let me go through my rucksack outside of the cell to get it. Of course, I wasn't really looking for any medicine, but I was trying to find a way to smuggle the camera out and take it back to the cell which was a kind of "mission impossible" but it worked!
I rummaged through my bag, as if looking for a small object in the top pocket, while my other hand was inside holding the camera and the corner of my eye was watching the policeman watching me. In the first instant where I felt he wasn't paying full attention, the camera was under my shirt. Eventually, I said I didn't have any medicine after all and asked (croaked) something about some "hot tea", just to make distracting conversation about my sore throat, which of course, was either not understood or simply ignored. But anyway, I just made a hand gesture of "never mind" and quickly turned to go back to the cell, before he could see that I was suddenly pregnant with a camera.
The main reason why it was so important for me to get the camera was actually just because of the film inside. It was VERY IMPORTANT not to let them get the film. I didn't even know at the time HOW important!! I had no idea what an important piece of evidence this film was to become
For me, it was just my personal responsibility and obligation as a "freelance video activists" to make SURE that none of my "subversive" video material would fall into the hands of the police or other abusive motivations. That's way I was so very relieved to find the videotape still inside and that I had succeeded to get it out before they searched my bag. I was very tempted to film inside the cell because I actually had the camera and everything.
But although I usually know no limits when it comes to filming, this time I actually didn't want to risk it - one extra evidence that I must have been under IMMENSE pressure, if I didn't even film. This was because we were constantly being observed through the glass window and I knew that if they caught me filming, they would surely confiscate both film and camera, never to be seen again. So I took the tape out and gave it to the most "innocent" least-blacklisted one of us, and told her to stick it in her underpants and just make sure that somehow this tape manages to get outside. When I was dragged out of the cell so suddenly, I whispered "camera" to let her know to do the same with it.