An act of solidarity in the face of state barbarism

by Chris Bertram on July 25, 2018

Faced with pressure from populist parties, more and more countries in Europe are backsliding on their commitment to refugees. One aspect of that is the EU’s new enthusiasm for Australian-style offshoring and for detention camp like facilities in Europe itself, as well as increased attempts to criminalize those who act in solidarity with refugees. Another is an increase in deportations to countries, like Afghanistan, on the manifestly false pretext that they are now “safe” destinations. Well thank goodness that some among us have the courage to stand against this kind of thing and to set a moral example. There is no obligation on people to comply with unjust immigration laws and often a duty to take a stand against them. [So well done Erin Ersson, student at Gothenburg,]( for preventing, at least for now, the deportation of a man to Afghanistan.



Z 07.25.18 at 8:09 am

What a heroic action!

Let’s not forget that after the Aquarius, it is now the Sarost 5 which, after having rescued forty migrants (more precisely, after having given them shelter after their rescue by another ship), which is being denied entry by Malta, Italy, France and Tunisia, with the predictable horrifying consequences. And let’s not forget that at the June, 28th meeting, the EU recommended that partnerships be expanded and strengthened with the Turkish, Libyan and Moroccan coastguards to have them intercept departing boats and to have them bring back the migrants to their own shores and recalls – in somewhat threatening words – that “tous les navires qui opèrent dans la Méditerranée doivent respecter les lois applicables et ne pas faire obstacle aux opérations des garde-côtes libyens” (all ships operating in the Mediterranean Sea must respect applicable laws and not put obstacles to the operations of Libyan coastguards); i.e do not try to save drowning people and certainly do not take migrants aboard.

Terrible times.


ph 07.25.18 at 10:56 am

Agreed! Courage is required, especially in light of this recent poll which reports:

“In a new Hill.TV/HarrisX American Barometer poll released Tuesday, an overwhelming majority of respondents, 76 percent, said they would not vote for a “socialist” political candidate, while only 24 percent of those polled said they would vote for a socialist candidate.”

I’m not a fan of the latest photogenic star of the Democratic party who claims to be a ‘socialist.’ I’ve lived all my life in nations that have real socialist parties – and boast of their deep socialist traditions. Which is why I supported and continue to support Corbyn irrespective of what the ‘polls’ say, or do not say.

There are lots of people who’ve invested decades to improving the lives of others, who didn’t go to BU (50k per), who don’t conform to any particular stereo-type, and who have the integrity (like Sanders) to stand on a podium at Liberty University, for example, and declare his support for a woman’s right to choose.

This young woman in Gothenberg is taking a big risk for all the right reasons.

Accept no imitations, please.


harry b 07.25.18 at 1:09 pm

Grace under pressure. What aplomb!

And just a word for some unnamed person at the airport authority, for deciding not to use force to get her off the plane. Someone risked (and maybe will lose?) their job for a decision effectively to support her, and presumably had to make the choice without warning.


Catchling 07.25.18 at 5:31 pm

harry b:

And just a word for some unnamed person at the airport authority, for deciding not to use force to get her off the plane. Someone risked (and maybe will lose?) their job for a decision effectively to support her, and presumably had to make the choice without warning.

Yes and no. Applying force to a white woman could also get the airport in trouble, which is one reason it’s especially valuable for people like Elin Ersson to do what she did.


PatinIowa 07.25.18 at 6:59 pm

She’s twenty-one and a Social Work student at Gothenburg. She may not be entirely in the clear:

The next person who complains to me how unengaged and entitled college students are will get a stern talking to, I promise you. I see youngsters like her every day.


alfredlordbleep 07.25.18 at 10:36 pm

When Ocasio-Cortez was seventeen, she put together enough loans and scholarship money to go to Boston University. —David Remnick, New Yorker

Once upon a time that was praiseworthy, eh?


ph 07.26.18 at 12:43 am

@5 ” I see youngsters like her every day.” Really?

I’ve never seen anyone display this much courage. I’ve certainly never done anything remotely as brave, and I’ve done some stuff and know plenty of others who have, too. As others have noted, Elin Errson (appears to have) reacted to an injustice. Yes, we see people of all kinds display similar acts of courage, but rarely on this scale and over an issue. It doesn’t look to me that she’s at all comfortable with the attention, but she’s taking her stand.

This isn’t taking a teacher-approved day-off from class to ‘demonstrate solidarity.’ Elin’s put her own skin in the game, as you observe. I hope her parents are proud.


Faustusnotes 07.26.18 at 6:57 am

Sanders is a graduate of University of Chicago, current fees 51k per year. If you keep trying pH, one day you will get something right. Besides thread jacking, that is, at which you are a master.

I was very happy to see this woman do this. Apparently she was part of a team who bought tickets to Turkey. That’s a big commitment. But hopefully this very public demonstration will increase pressure to change policy, because it’s not a sustainable form of direct action.


Lindsay Thomas 07.30.18 at 5:59 am

I admire her bravery in this video although as you can see she is frightened a bot but choose to stand her grounds and people were amazed by her resolution. Her parents could have been so proud of her.

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