Medusa's Float or

02.05.2016 daHEIM

§§ 34,35 AsylVfG, or § 34a AsylVfG - the last judgment

Three women are drifting on a float. Their long hair is hanging way below their shoulders; their faces distorted by misery. They are crying. Their mutual grief makes them become sisters.

The three women from Albania are 31, 40, and 42 years old.

However, their tears do not make for the sea level to rise, instead they trickle away in the carpeting of room 114. The carpet's ground becomes the earth's maw, absorbing everything. One can tread down hope - tears will leave no marks.

The women have lost their grip. The wave of deportations threatens to capture them next. The float is cracking; it will soon fall apart. Desperately they are crying for their own and their children's lives. They drive on the open sea, no saving shore in sight. Present and future are thrown overboard.

The women's crying is reminiscent of a jeremiad. Their sobbing reflects the fear of the country they have left a few months ago. This country is Albania - a country branded by corruption, drug trafficking, and organized crime.1

Between those shipwrecked emerges a young woman, ready to break the wave just like a figurehead. Her speech on human rights and her demand of its universality for all human beings dies away within that room of 33 square meters, where a family of five stayed for eight months. Selma's words should be heard in the Chamber of the European parliament.

When asked where she is from, embarrassed she refuses to answer.

She speaks English with a British accent. She was three years old when her family fled to Great Britain in 1999 at the time of the war in Kosovo. Before crossing the passage by boat they had pulled a plastic bag over her head to repress her fear of water. For five years the family would live in Leeds. Then, one morning, the police rang the doorbell. Surprisingly, the family was deported. In the crack of dawn, life lost its promise.

When they learned that Germany would declare Albania as a safe third country, they immediately took off, leaving everything behind for a second time. They came here, hoping for a favorable decision before the new rule would take effect, hoping to obtain right of residence. They did not know the law well enough to realize that no one would grant them asylum because of the tragedy of their lives. They did not know that they would be stamped as labor migrants.

"We did not come because of bombs - we have fled an economic crisis."

40 years old Vitore's efforts to secure the livelihood of her family of five, when working as a hairdresser or selling Pide, Börek, and Döner did not result in sufficient cash flow. The family could barley survive in a land without future. They left their house in Tirana. Since September 2015 the parents and their three children have been sharing a room at daHEIM.

In the morning of April 29, Vitore is huddled up in a shabby armchair. The "victress" is broken at last. Scared of being deported by the police, she has withdrawn the family's ongoing application for asylum. As soon as immigration service hands them their Albanian passports, they must leave the country. The realization of what she has done leaves her in despair.

Vitore's husband's name is Agron - he was named after the Hellenic king, whose empire incorporated today's Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and southern Dalmatia.

Powerlessly, Agron is having a beer in room 114. Twin-headed Janos - representing war and economics - is not in sight.

§§ 34,35 AsylVfG or § 34a AsylVfG - the last judgment

On April 28 a letter in a yellow envelope was handed over to Kumrije, Valentina, Valdrina, and Fuad. That very letter sparked the quake, which now shocks the people.

Letters in yellow envelopes contain the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees's judgment on the application of asylum - whether one may stay or whether one must go. The color of the envelope reveals the decision. Yellow stands for rejecting claim as unfounded.

Kumrije and her children were asked to leave the country within a week.

Valentina will turn 12 on May 12. She is beyond pain and fear.

Being the daughter of a divorced woman she experienced social ostracism in Kosovo. The family is very poor. Valentina is scared of recurring hunger because there is never enough to eat, she is afraid of the wet, as she will not have suitable shoes. Her lips are blue as if in shock and give notice of the cold that will be her body's enemy in winter.

On ten pages the Federal Office justifies carefully, why application AZ: 5916710-150 was rejected. The transcript of the hearing, which serves as the basis for the judgment, is attached.

A desperate child is sitting on the bed of room 111.

Opens external link in new window1

caveng_KUNSTASYL photo Marsilda

Valbona, Vitore

The float of Medusa (Le Radeau de la Méduse) | Théodore Géricault (1791–1824)

caveng_KUNSTASYL photo Dachil Sado

The wave


face to face: to women from Albania

caveng_KUNSTASYL photo Joachim Gern

Valbona with her son Denis

caveng_KUNSTASYL photo Dachil Sado

Breaking the wave: Musaab and Selma

caveng_KUNSTASYL photo Joachim Gern

ERGO SUM: Kumrije Monroe fled from Mitrovica, Kosovo. Since January 2015 with her children Valentina, Valdrina and Fuad in Berlin

caveng_KUNSTASYL photo Joachim Gern

ERGO SUM: Mona Valbona

caveng_KUNSTASYL photo Joachim Gern

Kumrije with her children Valdrina, Valentina and Fuad


albona and Vitore


Kumrije with her portait of the series ERGO SUM behind.


Clad future... Walldrawing by Selma in the Museum Europäischer Kulturen

caveng_KUNSTASYL photo Joachim Gern

ERGO SUM: „I am trying to find myself. Sometimes that's not easy." Marilyn Monroe

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