The ability to move is something that many may often take for granted. Movement toward change, peace or safety is not accessible to all. For some, the right to movement is being actively denied. In Germany the term gegen has become one of significance and holds an immeasurable amount of political weight.
Through Noise Manifesto in 2014 Paula Temple released her track titled “GEGEN.” The term is a very powerful and complex word in German. With two opposite meanings it translates to “against” but if applied to time it means “around.” It is a word of tension and a term that drives protest. A club night called GEGEN Berlin creatively took the term and uses it as a tool to lead a very specific mission. The collective strives to break the structural identity and to be “Against yourself. Around queer narratives.” The aim of the party according to their website “is playing with the solitude of the political meaning of gegen as a suicidal mechanism of the ‘self’ or the sublime crisis of enemy subtraction as the aggression of dialectics.”
Gegen is a term being used heavily by protesters, specifically now with the upheaval of refugees and asylum seekers in Germany.
“Sadly Europe has been closing its borders especially since introducing Frontex, making agreements, supplying arms that are causing unnecessary cruelty and murder to innocent people. As refugees fleeing for their lives it is shocking we are creating similar conditions and hateful rhetoric as what happened in 1930s pre-WWII for political gain,” says Paula Temple. “My personal hope is in our efforts to diminish the climate of hate with an overwhelming climate of empathy. This is not do-gooder blah blah, this is life and death.”
The O Platz Refugee Movement in Berlin is a group of refugees driven by self-organized protest and who are choosing not to accept the disfranchisement by the German state. The group set up a protest camp/home base at Oranienplatz in Kreuzberg, Berlin. Through a list of demands and by publicizing the cause through protest and media, they hope to achieve peace for refugees in their state.
The group demands mandatory residence. The Residenzplicht is a unique legal requirement that is affecting foreigners living in Germany; rather, they are applicants for refugee status or those given temporary stay of deportation. Under this requirement refugees are required to remain in a certain area which is a violation of human rights.
O Platz demands an abolishment of all “Lagers” which are forced refugee camps. According to the organization’s website these locations are “mostly completely isolated from society, under inhumane living conditions and constant surveillance by authorities and Lager-guards.”
This group demands an end to deportations and also The Dublin III, which is a European Union law that the O Platz group deems “nothing else than a network of human trafficking between European countries.”
“I have freedom of movement, I can go in and out of countries. Since moving to Berlin I have been lucky enough to travel the world, meeting many techno communities and queer communities who share a sense of care and responsibility for each other.” – PAULA TEMPLE
HYENAZ, an electronic band from Berlin that have evolved a cult following for their immersive live shows, were inspired by Paula Temple’s track. They released a special edit this month that lays angry punk vocals over the tune, yelling for a desire to move and evokes a jarring sense of solidarity. It is abrasive, but that naturally reflects the political situation at hand. This is an edit specifically made for the refugees and asylum seekers that are in need. HYENAZ says, “The urgency of its siren-like lead synth speaks to the militarized policing of national borders and the desperation that pushes people to risk everything in order to exercise the human right to move freely.”
According to a statement from HYENAZ, “So many assumptions are made about why people choose to move, who has the right to move, and who does not, who can simply travel on a whim and who must risk everything to leave their lands for others. Our sense of time and space is increasingly unbounded, as access to knowledge, art and the public sphere shared through electronically mediated communication. Yet so many still have to risk death or internment to cross national borders physically, with access to migration arbitrarily determined by pieces of paper distributed along class and racial lines.”
The track is available for purchase. For each purchase Paula Temple and HYENAZ will personally double the sale and the whole amount of funds will go to the Berlin O Platz Refugee Movement, who is tirelessly providing to help to refugees and fight for their rights. Funds will go toward the constant need of resources and money to pay lawyers fees, help to run education tours, or to provide food and activities for mental health relief.
Paula Temple says, “I’m not expecting anything big with this, simply being part of the dialogue for empathy, however your support here and now would be much appreciated. Please buy the edit, even if you never liked ‘GEGEN.'”