In a video that surfaced this week, we see Elin Ersson, a young student from Sweden trying to prevent the forceful deportation of a 52-year old man to Afghanistan. She refuses to sit down on her seat, preventing the plane ‘s departure and the deportation of the man sitting in the back of the plane. She resists the intimidation by the cabin crew who demand that she sit, and by a fellow passenger who claims that Ersson is upsetting the other passengers. She agrees to leave the plane if the Afghani man is allowed to leave the plane as well. After a few minutes, they both leave the plane.
Elin Ersson is the heroine we need – making the fight for migrant rights into a daily practice. Her act of resistance poses a question to all of us: What kind of person do you want to be? In times when our governments criminalize support for migrants and subsidize holding camps beyond our borders, it is a question that we cannot avoid. In the past, we may have sought refuge in private comforts. But that time is over.
Elin Ersson takes back control. She not only attempts to save another human being from deportation. She also shows us, all of us, that we can make a difference. Do we want to enjoy modern amenities in spite of those dying around us or do we want to build a European society that upholds the values of dignity, freedom and the solidarity of all people?
DiEM25 was built by students, activists, artists, and citizens that want to make this difference. One of our strategies is called “Constructive Disobedience” – of which Ersson’s act is one great example. She disobeys the rules for the sake of a man’s live.
If you, too, want to make that difference, come join us.
by Lorin Brenig, member of DiEM25 Germany’s National Collective.
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