Classmates fight for a young Iranian


Published in German daily newspaper “Tagesspiegel” on 22 February 2010
Source (German):;art270,3037731
English translation kindly provided by Josh Manning

UPDATE February 26 2010, “Berliner Morgenpost”:
14 year old boy from Iran may stay in Berlin
An Iranian boy who faced deportation may stay in Berlin and attend school for the time being. This was decided by Erhart Körting, Innensenator [minister of the interior of the senate of the federal state of Berlin] and member of the Socialist Democratic Party. The 14 year old Ali is allowed to stay in Berlin as long as his father stays, said Körting.
[The rest of the article is not accessible without remuneration]

by Hadija Haruna

A 14 year old high school student is facing deportation, but his fellow classmates are protesting against it. Though, their chances are slim since deporting him is not a problem for the authorities.

Arrived: Ali Derakhshan attends a school in the Moabit quarter of Berlin. Photo: Uwe Steinert

“Ali should stay”, states a poster in the classroom of the 8th grade of the Heinrich von Kleist Secondary School. They made T-shirts, started signing petitions, and wrote a letter to Interior Minister Ehrhart Körting asking why their classmate has to be deported to Greece.

Ali Derakhshan’s short life has a long history. In 2001, his father fled to Germany from Iran to seek political asylum. Ali and his mother tried to follow him, but it did not fold out as planned. For this reason, they entered Germany illegaly with a visa for Greece. Six months later, Ali and his mother were deported out of the blue to Greece. The traumatic experience has caused deep anxiety with Ali, who has to undergo therapeutic treatment. “We all wept. My mother had to quickly pack a few things. We had to leave our anguished father”, said the now 14 year old.

The next year, Ali lived with his mother in Greece. They could not go back to Iran, nor were they allowed in Germany. According to Non-EU State Regulations, refugees must live in the first state they entered with their entry pass when relocating to the EU. However, the father is allowed in Germany. Because the mother must sustain herself with temporary jobs and Ali is often left on his own, the parents do everything in their power so that Ali could return back to Germany where his father, grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousins reside with unlimited residence permits.

It was 2008. Ali had just entered the 5th grade at Heinrich von Kleist. Two years later, the next letter from the authorities arrived: Ali should go back to his mother in Greece. The young boy was fearful that he would be completely alone again in Greece as he had no one there except his mother, who had little time to spend with him in the first place. “They know absolutely nothing of what it will do to us, him, and his family. Our class is like a big family and without him, an important part of it would be missing.”, wrote the classmates in their letter to Körting. Ali’s classmate Selena Bakalios is disheartened: “How does this fall on someone who is so engaged and doing so well in school? He is settled here, speaks good German and simply belongs here.”

As Ali told them his life story, his classmates were appalled. “It’s unimaginable what he has gone through. You can see that he has not forgotten his past sadness”, said Salena. During class, she has observed it again and again. “Ali would have tears in his eyes. We would take him in our arms and continue pushing forward.”

When the news came in that Ali had to part from his friends, neighbors, and family; everyone was shocked. “It was a catastrophic development for him to again have to leave his home”, said his teacher, Sabine Meiners. He is at least allowed to complete the school’s final examination. Alain Lingnao, Ali’s and his father’s attorney since 2007, had tried everything to secure their stay in Germany. “It is now up to the Commission of Cases for Hardship whether he can stay here under humanitarian grounds”, said Lingnao.

Though still the chances are slim. Deporting him to Greece does not flinch the authorities. It doesn’t interest them at all whether the 14 year old is forced from his home. For this reason Commission, member Pater Martin Stark from the Jesuit Refugee Services has brought up Ali’s situation in the Commission of Cases for Hardship. “My aim is to keep him here so he can continue going to school.”

(Appeared in the Tagesspiegel on 2/22/10)


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