Rightwing nationalists push for keeping migrants out of their countries, even though their economies are sustained by the cheap and desperate labour force, created by the climate crisis. To defuse this paradox, Thomas Nail proposes to turn the model on its feet instead of its head by acknowledging that mobility has always been the reality of both people and nature.
The AEGEAN or the Anus of Death
Known as a boxer and poet, Jazra Khaleed draws a parallel between the two disciplines: his writing has the attack and punch of a fighter. The poem presented here, translated from Greek, concerns the fantastic world of undocumented migration between the 24th and 28th meridians.
the Aegean is a disease bomb
prostitutes with HIV
children with bloated bellies
Muslims with TB
saltwater groupers with gingivitis or lemon sauce
On the Island of International-Foreign-Friend-Processing everyone is out to make a quick buck. The mayor is an entrepreneur, the priest is an entrepreneur, the cop is an entrepreneur, the Neo-Nazi is an entrepreneur, the entrepreneur is an entrepreneur, the grouper is an entrepreneur, (all the mom and pop fascists are entrepreneurs)
in Turkish waters:
28th meridian / on deck you will sprawl
27th meridian / powder monkeys and all
26th meridian / heave ho the black ball
25th meridian / dead and drowned you will be
24th meridian and the 36th parallel angle / at the bottom of the sea
On the Island of Let’s-Drown-All-The-Syrians every villager has immigrant-diarrhea, and every refugee camp is an opportunity to barbecue immigrants, every concentration camp is dubbed a sports hall, freedom is a mistranslation. (The grouper doesn’t know enough Greek to get by)
the boat was carrying 60:
the final destination was Britain, but then
something doesn’t add up.
On the island of Let’s-Launch-All-Illegal-Immigrants-into-Outer-Space the port authority buries its head in the ground, the leftists bury their heads in the ground, the ostrich buries its head in the ground, the fascists eat the ostrich, the cops search all our nooks and crannies, the groupers eat the Pakistanis (you cannot accuse a grouper of racism)
barracks are turned into havens of hospitality
warehouses are turned into havens of hospitality
gymnasiums are turned into havens of hospitality
nightclubs are turned into havens of hospitality
hospitality turns into unpaid work
On the island of We’ll-Beat-the-Shit-out-of-You there’s many a slip twixt fascist and lip, local powers that be coordinate the immigrant flow, serve up bloodied grouper with corked Bordeaux, and organize minstrel shows for the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union. Men in balaclavas taste baklavas, their honey syrup the dripping sweat of immigrants.
In the Aegean
all the while
then they kneel before the cross
(hammer a nail into the grouper’s jaws)
In the Aegean fascists and fish stink from the head down
Published 11 February 2015
Original in Greek
Translated by Shon Arieh-Lerer
First published by Glänta 3-4/2015 (Swedish version); Eurozine (English version)
Contributed by Glänta © Jazra Khaleed / Glänta / EurozinePDF/PRINT
Eastern members of the EU are experiencing extreme depopulation, due to a combination of mass emigration and low birth rates. Nationalist governments pander to patriotic sentiments but consistently fail to address the social and political problems which drive young adults westwards.