photography and multimedia journalism association

Lampedusa in Berlin

In the center of Berlin, Germany, in the district of Kreuzberg, there is an African refugees protest camp. Dozens of Africans have lived there in tents for months demanding the right to work legally in Germany. The camp is called "Lampedusa in Berlin" because most of Africans living here have came to Europe from Libya via the Italian island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean.

Many of the refugees had not planned an emigration to Europe. They were immigrants in Libya, legally working, earning good money and sending their savings back to families in Africa. They have lived in comfortable conditions, haven't had to pay taxes and bills.

But, during the Libyan civil war, in 2011 their idyllic lives were shattered. They were forced by former President Muammar Gaddafi's forces to leave Libya; most sent on overloaded boats to Lampedusa. The move was part of Gaddafi's revenge on European Union for bombings and support for rebels within Libya. Gaddafi wanted to change Lampedusa into a living hell and sent thousands of Africans to the island.

After two years spent in refugee's camp the Africans were granted asylum and permission to work in Italy. Italy, however, suffers from lack of jobs due to the ongoing global economic crisis and many of Africans from Lampedusa moved to the strongest European's economy, Germany.  But, it became immediately clear that they are not able to work legally in Germany or in any other EU country outside of Italy. Now, caught in this limbo, they wait.

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