Children of Monte Maria Cristina

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Streets of Monte Maria Cristina are crowded with children who wander aimlessly instead of going to school. These children of Muslim refugees are practically deprived of all any rights.

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Benaysa Ahmad Mohammad: “This street used to be called Road Khokar in the past i.e. it was actually Street A and now it is Road Khokar. I was born in this street, number 11. We used to live in Maria Cristina hills. My mother, as I said, was born in Kaniada, in Kaniada de Vino…”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Yamina Mohammad Ammar: “We were born and bred in the neighborhood of Kaniada de la Mortee. We moved from there, Kaniada de la Mortee, to the hills from childhood.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Benaysa Ahmad Mohammad: “And we moved from there to here. Me, my brother and my little sister were born in here but not my older brother, he was born in the house above, of course we had rented there”.

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Yamina Mohammad Ammar: “And we became acquainted with each other here in the hills, with all the residents, all the alleyways, the whole neighborhood, and all the streets. The name of this street is Bidasoa. You get my point? When we came here, the majority of neighbors were Spanish but now none has remained. We had clicked with most of them, with all the neighbors no matter Muslim or Christian.

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Naeem Mohammad Ali, Lawyer: “Muslims, who were used to be called by this name in all military documents at the time, were deprived of any citizen’s rights. So, as it is stated in the documents, anyone who could afford a living in this city was considered not as a resident but just a dweller. ‘Resident’ is a legal term and denotes legal settlement in a neighborhood with the entirety of citizen’s rights which regretfully was not true for Muslims and they were not valued.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Yamina Mohammad Ammar: “Before giving a residence card, they gave us a blank colored paper sheet which was of no use. You get my point? They had told us we would take up residency. Even I would not be granted residency for I had been born there… you know what they did to me? Sure you don’t. They told me I had been born in Farhana whereas I have proof for my birth place.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Naeem Mohammad Ali, Lawyer: “In 1985, there were conditions prevailing due to operationalization of immigration law, the law which was first … by … how can I put it?...was approved by changing the system into democracy. This law was introduced in a democratic period and was enforced on some 40 thousand Muslims the majority of whom had been in this city and land, the law which was unfair in our views and treated individuals as strangers and foreigners in their homeland. Tierra Omnium association is composed of a range of individuals at the head of whom is Omar Duddu and they decide to send out a summons for Muslim community to elicit their reaction in this regard. In no time period was this idea that this movement would end up like this. An assortment of protests and rallies which lasted for approximately two and a half years that by collecting evidence and documents came to the fore. As well as that, the affirmative response of the Barbarians to this summons baffled them.”

TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Yamina Mohammad Ammar: “We had called it ‘Necua’. This was the only evidence we had in our youth and it was of no use.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Naeem Mohammad Ali, Lawyer: “Census card, as the name suggests, was just a number for counting the population. It would never allow you to travel, even across this 180 km to Malaga or the 120 km to Motoreil, these are the nearest borders to this area, this card wouldn’t allow you to purchase, to work, to provide housing, scholarship, government aid and in all it wouldn’t grant you any right. Of course you were liable for it but it wouldn’t allow you any right.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Yamina Mohammad Ammar: “This is our childhood”.

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Fama Mohammad Alaal: “Here?”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Yamina Mohammad Ammar: “This is me

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Fama Mohammad Alaal: “This is my aunt and this is me myself.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Yamina Mohammad Ammar: “Childhood days.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Fama Mohammad Alaal: “Yeah,,, childhood in the neighborhood.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Yamina Mohammad Ammar: “This is my first son in his childhood, I gave birth about 40…51 years ago. He is around 8 months old here…”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Fama Mohammad Alaal: “I am the daughter of Isha Mana Hamo and my father’s name is Mohammad Alaal. I was born here in the hills in 1955. Since 1955, I have had only one card, the census card, and no other cards. I can neither exit nor enter; by and large I can do nothing, just nothing”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdol’vaafi Alhamuti: “My father works here in construction business and they asked him for a generous pay slip to be able to legalize his family’s stay. When he landed a decent job with a high salary, he didn’t get round to legalizing my status. He passed away in April, 2005 and since then our status has been legalized. Four of us are still illegal. Our home is fully legal and holds residence and municipality permit. In order for the municipality to put you on the list, it asks you for the deeds of your house which have to be registered in your name and the deeds are in my name because I was the heir to it. Upon submission of the deeds, I was required an I.D. card and I offered my passport which they did not accept. They said they couldn’t record anyone’s name with a Moroccan passport although the house was registered in my name.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Naeem Mohammad Ali, Lawyer: “In point of fact, one’s situation changes in terms of their status and in some cases it’s very different. In some households of ten, for instance, only five of them hold residency and the other five are illegal. Some cases are exceptional in this way. From my perspective, when all household members were born in the same place, you cannot count 5 of them as Moroccan, 5 of them as resident immigrants and the other 5 as Spanish, can you?”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdol’vaafi Alhamuti: “Some of them are twins born on the very same day, month and date. They are twins but one holds residency and the other not, how on earth is that possible when both were born on the same day? How come one is legal and the other lacks residence card when they are twins? When one of them intends to travel, he has to travel with his brother’s residence card and after arrival; he needs to post the card to his brother so that he can also travel just in case.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Naeem Mohammad Ali, Lawyer: “There are some individuals as well who in spite of taking an oath of allegiance and adopting Spanish nationality i.e., after undergoing all the procedures for assuming Spanish nationality, were incarcerated for a minor offence and lost their nationality and after emancipation this person could neither go back to Morocco for he was no longer considered as its resident and held no relation with that country, nor stay in Meleea because he lacked residency. These exceptional and extraordinary circumstances led to the current situation indicating that those regulations were not sufficient or did not include all Meleea’s people because many of Meleea’s dwellers or its Muslim citizens remained on the border of these regulations. Many of whom were refused using immigration law and consequently failed to take a residence card and had no right of assuming nationality; as a result, they are living illegally. This state of affairs caused that presently a collection of 100 or 200 people, if we can call them a collection of course, of 40 or 45 years of age on average are living under illegal circumstances. Just because these people were born in Meleea, Morocco reserves no right for them, that is to say, they hold neither a Moroccan ID card nor a Moroccan passport and they can’t even obtain one because there is no indication of their being Moroccan.”

TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdol’vaafi Alhamuti: “The plan of legalizing citizens was not fully implemented in 1985. Thousands of people from Meleea whose ethnicity was Barbarian took residence card and were known as Spanish residents, however, the government neglected some 60 people who had been born in Meleea and they are still living illegally in their city. I used to have medical insurance. After I came of age, they took that from me because I hadn’t been registered as a resident on the list from Meleea’s municipality and now I am under psychiatric treatment. Just now, number 2 in the clinic was me and I was refused examination because my medical insurance had been invalidated. Upon taking out medical insurance, I have no right to refer to a family doctor. If something happens, I’ll have to go to the emergency ward and pay all the expenses. My pills are about to finish and they don’t write out a prescription for me. They say it is not possible because I don’t have medical insurance, because I don’t have residence card.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Fama Mohammad Alaal: “I have just nothing. I should undergo two surgeries but I can’t, I can do neither of them. Never, never have I seen a doctor. I managed to leave to go to a doctor once and then I wasn’t let in, I begged them quite a lot and said I am from the hills, Maria Cristina hills where the monks live… till they let me in. When I reached … what you may call it? … The Agency bureau, no, not the Agency, I mean the Immigration office, in there they tell us we don’t have a work contract, well, how am I supposed to have a contract when I don’t have any legal documents? I can’t have a job without a permit; I have to have a work contract. They tell me to go and they themselves will land a contract for me.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Interviewer:

“Who are they?”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Fama Mohammad Alaal: “It beats me. They know that better. And now we have submitted our documents and our file is at State Agency at the moment, they tell us everything is going well. That’s what we bargained for, residence papers and that’s flat. We just want them to help us, just this. Residence card, medical insurance and that’s all. I don’t demand a job or anything special from them, now I’m 58 years old. I just require a residence permit and medical insurance from them.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdol’vaafi Alhamuti: “Wherever we go and whatever we want to do is to be complained at for not having residency. It is required to have a residence card for opening a bank account, so is for getting a driving license, just for anything. They ask me for it and I don’t have one. Once again I asked for one but my lawyer said… said they say no. Their response is surely negative because my file is short of a work contract. If I make a work contract, I will miss the monthly financial aid I receive from the government and the result of my residence enquiry may come as positive or negative. If it’s negative, I will have missed both the monthly financial aid and the residency.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Jose Lewis Lopez, SATE-STEs syndicate: “In order to use the schools and public educational centers in Meleea, a citizen’s status has to be legal that is they should have a residence card. You don’t exist without a residence card, no actual existence, which is why there is an unconventional institute in Meleea named Morocco-Spanish school. This institute comprises many people and is a center run according to Moroccan regulations not Spanish educational system and upon issuing a certificate, it is faced with lots of problems because it can’t award an officially Spanish certificate. So what happens then? They are distinguished in two ways; one is that they teach Islamic religion and the other is they hold Arabic training classes. These circumstances are highly important for part of people in Meleea. What’s more important is that people without residency can refer to this center.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdol’vaafi Alhamuti: “I go to class but not in an adequate center rather in a Morocco-Spanish school. I would really like to study in a center other than that but since I don’t have residency I am not granted the permission. They are all from Morocco because those from Meleea are considered as a minority, they are so few. The majority of them lack residency.”

TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Jose Lewis Lopez, SATE-STEs syndicate: “Educational atmosphere in Meleea enjoys exceptional circumstances. Firstly, the majority of students getting compulsory education are ethnically equal, approximately %57. 36 per cent of these students are of European descent from Meleea, %7 of them are of mixed race and %1 of them are Jews. Another point is that the number of students has significantly increased in recent years. When we speak of a budget cut in education that is to say 41 fewer teachers and 2000 more students which is the exact meaning of educational reform. It means we had a remarkable growth in the number of students. Educational level in Meleea and Suta is the lowest in comparison with the European capitals.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hussein Miman Abdolqader: “I am from Maria Cristina hills, from Maleea. I am a father of a big family and in exceptional circumstances. At present I am out of work like many other fathers. Since long ago, they have abandoned us here in this neighborhood, in Maria Cristina hills, how can I put it, they have abandoned us in God’s care. Our teenagers, about 17 or 18, are through a lot because they didn’t finish school which is why they have lots of problem finding a job. They also can’t go into the army or sit state recruitment tests since their educational level is lower than other centers in the country. They couldn’t even work a bit.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Jose Lewis Lopez, SATE-STEs syndicate: “When speaking of dropping out of school at early ages, we see that its average in Spain is double compared to the rest of EU members (around %12.8 in Europe and %25 in Spain) but our statistics here in Spain is twice as much as that in Europe i.e. %37. This situation will get worse compared to last year. Reforming and austerity measures shouldn’t ignore these circumstances. As can be seen, these circumstances are very unsettling because we are speaking of the youths who are low in level and these individuals will definitely fall prey to unfavorable situations in a society that wishes to flourish in calm and clash-free circumstances. These facts and figures are so threatening.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “We knew each other from the very beginning.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “… From our neighborhood, since we were children.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “Since school, we have always been together.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: Yes, we have always been together.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Interviewer: “What do you study?”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “I am doing a course in electrical work.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “I intend to do the same.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “I am very interested and I’m doing just well.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Interviewer: “Why are you interested in this field?”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “Since this can be a first step to getting a certificate at least equivalent to a diploma.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “And that we can become an electrician in the future.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “If they know you have a diploma, you will be employed as an electrician.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “There are so many people in Meleea who need a job.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “We have lots of jobless people in here.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Jose Lewis Lopez, SATE-STEs syndicate: “In Suta, Meleea and all the areas included, we witness a yawning gap between various educational centers. What does that mean? It means that in private centers we often see the students whose fathers culturally, financially and professionally have a high standing compared to the whole Spain, even higher than Navarra (an Industrial province in the north of the country) or even Madrid (the capital). Instead, in state schools there are the children of parents who have the lowest cultural level in comparison with other countries and this causes the gap between the educational centers of these two cities to be significant compared with the level of internal centers or the EU.

Maria Cristina hill is in outskirts of the city. Its students generally go to the Mediterranean school which is considered among centers with difficulty. Some go to the Spanish school which also has exceptional circumstances in its course of action. This area simply houses the unemployed population of over %50. It goes without saying that such a high level of poverty and the likelihood of being socially outcast exert negative effects for Meleea in the future.”

TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdolqader Alfonti: “As with work, there is not a precise information database to which one can refer for queries or submit their resume. When you go to turn in your CV, it’s as if you gave them an invalid football match ticket; it’s of no use, just no use. Here only and only connections are useful. In here, work contracts are just transferred from one friend to another. Only one’s interests are that matter. It’s always a question of doing a favor and that you must always pay the price for it. Job-seekers’ office and other related offices are just for mocking the jobless. For mocking the jobless, why? Because … for example every year they draw up a plan to recruit one thousand people but you will never know when your turn is to get a job. Three or four years may pass and every time you sign the papers for the dole and still no news whereas some individuals are called upon every year, how come? Just because they are so-and-so’s friend or an acquaintance of … or they have voted for so-and-so’s party or they did someone a favor and in return …

Here is like a banana republic.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Naeem Mohammad Ali, Lawyer: “In Meleea, there is a historical debt to Muslims and it’s been nearly 40 or 50 years since then and that was for the reason that they never had the right to use and have the minima in the society; the minima which gave them the right to study, to progress, to major in an academic field, to find a job and to shape their own future. This tardiness in the recognition of rights led to the highest rate of unemployment in this area in terms of population compared to the whole Europe. It is worth noting that we have the highest rate of birth as well and that’s because most Moroccans cross the border to deliver their babies in the city hospital and this causes an increase in the rates. In my view, this high rate of birth of course has another reason and that’s the lack of quality education which is due to the belated recognition of these citizens’ rights which are equally held by all in Spain”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hussein Miman Abdolqader: “The matter of fact is, there are lots of people in this neighborhood who are in terrible circumstances. Of course not just in this place but also in other neighborhoods as well. I talk about my own neighborhood because I think this neighborhood is in a worse condition than others. I talk about Kaniada, as well as Rina Rekhenta, Kaber Risass, Maria Cristina hill and Atake Seku. These neighborhoods are in the outskirts of the city. The neighborhoods which have been oppressed the whole life regarding unemployment, facilities, equipment, progress and security.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdolqader Alfonti: Living in Meleea is so difficult, really difficult. Housing is another problem we have here. The government doesn’t provide housing in here. The buildings constructed are far from here and in the outskirts; somehow away from here and the Muslim community is settled out of the city, totally separate and among them are Spaniards or rather we are Spanish. For instance, there is not a health center in Maria Cristina hills; an old woman of 70 in need of just a doctor’s prescription for her drugs has to foot it all the way down and then all the way back up, while, there must be a medical center here or a pharmacy and the presence of a physician to write out prescriptions and deal with emergencies is essential. You have no idea how difficult it is to go up and down this hill path just for a prescription. The same condition holds true for dealing with matters related to the municipality, registrations office and other official affairs.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Benaysa Ahmad Mohammad: “I came here around 8 or 9 years ago and it is totally deserted now, just look. Of course there are 2 kittens with their mom. Once one of the neighbors told me, can’t remember exactly

where, he told me he had found a snake in here, so huge.”

TIME CODE: 25:00_30:00

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Police: How are you? What are you doing?”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Benaysa Ahmad Mohammad: “There used to be Mr. Julian’s confectionary here, so did his sons Enrique and Pepe. They were all from this neighborhood. When his spouse, Mrs. Karmina died, Mr. Julian became so lonely; he closed down his store and left this neighborhood to live with his children. With the passage of time, others left as well. The boy calling me just now, Nene, used to be our neighbor. You know what’s wrong with the media here? Here all the media belong to the Right wing, such as the Meleea newspaper, El Farro and the like. That is why instead of putting out various items to tender, they give some to these media, some to Meleea’s TV and that’s how they divvy up everything.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Neighbor: “The Right wing has bought up all in here, but not us, not our dignity.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdolqader Alfonti: “Nothing works properly in here. It doesn’t work because nothing is in its own place. Everything is sort of arbitrary for we are in Spain but looks like we are not. As though we really are not in here because Spanish laws are not enforced here like other parts of the country. The problem is that in Meleea, matters are dealt with differently from the peninsula. The result is that we here are not regarded as part of Spain. Meleea is just nominally part of Spain otherwise laws are not applied in here as they are in Spain.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Benaysa Ahmad Mohammad: “Here you can see a prison next to residences. The point of fact is they have no clue how far they should be placed from one another but here it’s some 30, 40 or 50 meters. Of course there is a building much nearer, further up. Here is where kids play, they are playing by a prison, imagine what they are to be as they grow up?”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Neighbor: “They say kids can’t play here; they mustn’t play here for this and that.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Benaysa Ahmad Mohammad: “For your information, these teenagers have been our neighbors a whole lifetime. He is more intimate with my older brother, they are close, of course I think he is older than my brother. Yeah, right, you used to live down below.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Neighbor: “No, I’ve always lived just here, my father used to live there. I used to live here with my grand dad and other family members, in the unit upstairs, and then I purchased a home in the east in 1986.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Benaysa Ahmad Mohammad: “I thought you lived down there.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Neighbor: “I used to be with Pedro but basically lived here; it was my residence from the beginning. It was 1975 when I went down there to live but I had been living in here as of 1959 to 1975. Then again I moved back here to this neighborhood because as I said I’d purchased a home. I used to be living with my grand dad up until 1986 when I bought a home. I’ve lived here all my life. Those homes up there were built around 1920 or 1930; they were traded by the Ministry of Defense and now they say they are illegal. These two houses are illegal, why? Because the prison was built there around 1980, so, who has occupied this place? ... Yes, the Ministry of Interior has done for building a prison in the area. It’s always been so. I know that in the peninsula and other areas prisons are constructed outside the cities, however, they say we’re illegal and they’re legal. By the way, how have they constructed the buildings in Maria Cristina hills? How come? Because they belong to the state constructions but are illegal. They deem legal what they favor and illegal what they don’t. For instance, constructing a football pitch for kids is illegal in here but constructing high towers from which the precincts of the prison can be overlooked and from the terrace of which narcotic drugs can be tossed in is allegedly O.K. and legal. Why? Because the project is run by the Ministry of Interior.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: The police pass by here from time to time and when they do...”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “About cannabis, lots of it is tossed into the prison and in return stone is hurled from there. It’s likely the stones tear apart one’s head and knock them down.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “Just recently, you are pelted with stones out of the blue.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “I live just behind the prison and there also you can find the stones. Now whether they toss cannabis or money, this can’t be continued. How many heads are to be aimed at with these stones?”

TIME CODE: 30:00_35:00

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Naeem Mohammad Ali, Lawyer: “For exacerbating the situation further, if possible, a prison was opened up in Meleea, 1994. Old Meleea used to have a prison when it was built, when its historical sites were built and the word has it that all those who used to come to Meleea were prisoners because it was like Alcatraz so to speak on the grounds that on one side it’s surrounded by water and on the other side it’s desert as far as the horizon, is it not? Meleea’s prison at the time was Victoria’s prison which dated back to 1400 something and was somehow a Third-World prison. The brilliant idea of building a prison struck men and vice and misdeeds intensified far more. What I mean is that as the proverb goes “we were poor and granny delivered us”, this is roughly what has happened to these people.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “It’s no big deal to have the cemetery in here, the problem is when they burn dead bodies, they are cremated and the stink is insufferable.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “It spews lots of smoke and as I look at the cemetery I don’t utter a word, no nagging but I guess the fumes it belches out are detrimental to one’s health. You burn wood and it smells, so does a human when cremated but the latter is very reeky.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Mohammad Abdo’salam: “Where shall I begin, we were born here, me, my four brothers and three sisters. From my memory, Meleea and its mount were all rocky, goats and stuff... Meleea has transformed a lot since 1955. My parents came here. My father had a store in Meleea mount, a cafe in Peligonne. In 1958, he imigrated to Germany and stayed there for 20 years until retirement. When we all grew up, we went to Spain because I had backed from Germany in 1992 after being abroad for 17 years. When I returned here, to Maria Cristina hills, I saw the prison and the antenna... the revolving antenna and the communication antenna which causes the people’s death of cancer without them knowing.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Benaysa Ahmad Mohammad: “They should have placed the antenna in the pines where there is another antenna as well. That wouldn’t harm if they had put it up there, but they put it up here, this antenna I mean. There’s another one over there as you see now.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Mohammad Abdo’salam: “The worst thing ever we have here in Maria Cristina hills are the choppers that fly very much low and leave us deaf.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “Look how low they are flying and the dust they raise, just look at the dust.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “It kept flying so low that it blanketed the whole neighborhood with dust and mud. As I got out, I covered my mouth with my shirt otherwise I would get sick; everybody should do so because they’ll go sick, I for one have an allergy.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “From those islands, The Jafarieh islands, they haul cargo, they do so every day.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: They fill the neighborhood with dust...

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “No way can I breathe a day without pills. I have been this way since childhood. I was born here in the mount and all those born here have the same problem. Dust and dampness has also invaded the homes...”

TIME CODE: 35:00_40:00

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “Ample dampness that exists in here is due to the beach near here...”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “In summer, it smells bad in the house...”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “The house gets full of flies and mosquitoes. My doctor has told me for one to take pills every day when I have a shot.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “Yeah, for my whole lifetime...”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Neighbor: “Now we are two households with this problem.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Benaysa Ahmad Mohammad: “Look, what about this antenna? Doesn’t it pose any problems? Sure it does for us.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Neighbor: “What do you mean?”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Benaysa Ahmad Mohammad: “That’s the worst thing ever, the worst thing ever that exists...”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Jose Kabu Gelaya, Active Ecologist: Every neighborhood has its own problems but our main problem is with the dumping site in which garbage is recycled. We have an incinerator which burns some 120 tons of various refuse in Meleea per day and is the only recycling system and next to which is a neighborhood where the whole building scrap of the city is dumped. So that’s one problem on one side and on the other side are the heavy-goods vehicles which pass through the neighborhood and cause problems for the neighbors such as shakes, noise and some more.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Mohammad Abdo’salam: “What can I say? They are washing a truck!!! They are washing a truck 300 or 400 meters away from the homes and what noises they make! We have had it with all this noise,,, plus the stink from the refuse out there, and the ashes which are from the garbage but are poisonous. These have a negative effect on not only the neighborhood and Maria Cristina hills but also on the whole Meleea, however, mostly on us ourselves. Every summer they close that site for a month and clean the machine and stuff but it’s too stinky for us to leave the house.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “This machine is an incinerator in which they drop the garbage. Here we have broken glass and may cut our feet. Empty bottles and lots of other refuse...”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Benaysa Ahmad Mohammad: “Here you can no way walk in the streets in summer due to the bad smell...”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Neighbor: “You have to rewash the clothes for they smell too bad... you should have a room or something in your house to hang them inside to dry.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Jose Kabu Gelaya, Active Ecologist: “The problem with the incinerator is that it was made 10 years ago with this presumption that Meleea will face land problems burying the waste and that was why they thought burning the waste was the best solution but the problem is an incinerator does not annihilate the waste; rather it reduces its mass and turns harmless refuse to dangerous refuse. On one side there is wet garbage which is in a pit, is burnt and something should be done about it. The existence of ash and waste is the outcome of a burner which can’t do what it’s expected to on the grounds that it has been made for 107 tons of wastes a day while it is a decade that it’s received 120 tons so it should keep burning at a speed higher than the desired one. Moreover, the ash and residue of wastes are in turn changed into dangerous wastes for which there is no safe landfill in here and they are transformed into ample fumes that spew out of the incinerator and that’s probably our worst problem because we are talking about toxic compounds such as dioxins and furan which are the components of mustard gas.

What makes the neighbors concerned is that many think such diseases as cancer, asthma and respiratory problems are linked to the air they breathe in the area. Further research reveals that such diseases are more common among those living in the vicinity of incinerators. Not just here in Meleea but in most European states.”

TIME CODE: 40:00_45:00

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “The incinerator affects our health and makes us sick.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “ much so that we can’t breathe well and develop asthma and allergies.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “The smoke and fumes billowing out of there are harmful to people.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “My face flames, I go all red. I itch all over, eyes, nose, just all over.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “I had a blocked nose and could barely speak. I had sore eyes and achy head, I for one never complain of anything, I don’t know... that situation was unusual for me.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Jose Kabu Gelaya, Active Ecologist: “Meleea is much beholden to this neighborhood because historically people in Meleea have always hauled their garbage up to here. In the 1970s, there was only half a kilo of waste produced a day and logically we had no incinerator and it would all be taken to El Boquete to be burnt.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “There is some stuff... I don’t know what, it’s black and stinky. The smell drifts along up to this place, terrible stink. Here is filled with flies, mosquitoes and the like... I can remember here being full of water, it would come up to here. Now, it’s brimming with that black stuff, that whatchamacallit. That’s the garbage we have here and is no good. That’s why they have covered it, what’s worse is it’s near the cemetery. They attack and bite...they bite and harm you... this terrible stink aside, one fly or two get into your mouse and nostrils and you should grin and bear it.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Jose Kabu Gelaya, Active Ecologist: At first only one incinerator had been made with a capacity of 50 tons a day, however, on the day of unveiling, the waste amounted to 60 tons for all calculations had been made on the basis of the 70s’ statistics and on the grounds that it took a decade to manufacture the incinerator and the statistics were no longer valid. We called that ‘smoke factory’ and at the time nearly all across Meleea we had a smell of smoke for example in the nights when we had a weather inversion. That incinerator was unusable which is why the current incinerator was made in the 1990s and works much better than the previous one and as for the protection of people against pollution you won’t see the smoke from that previous burner. Nevertheless, we are talking about the pollutants which are not visible and for this reason there is no concern about this regard outside the city. As a matter of fact, the relation between the diseases and the incinerator within a several-kilometer radius is very much direct and as with Meleea we are quite all involved because of living at a distance of 2 or 3 km from the incinerator.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “A neighborhood with such an altitude that the beautiful shores of which are catching to the eye...”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Karim: “The bad point is that we have this landfill, cemetery and prison in here...”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdolqader Alfonti: Prison, incinerator, heliport, arsenal, TV and mobile communication antenna, yes we have them all here...”

TIME CODE: 45:00_50:00

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdol’vaafi Alhamuti: Yeah, our neighborhood is derelict, there’s nothing good in here.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdolqader Alfonti: “The people have misused the mount since who wants a waste incinerator in their neighborhood? Who wants this armory in their neighborhood? No one wants such things, so the people have cheated their way into here.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Naeem Mohammad Ali, Lawyer: “Therefore, this is the status of the neighborhood to which the locals have got accustomed to and this cannot be perceived by other means. It’s just right that one can adjust themselves to any circumstances but it happens when all such conditions as tranquility, hygiene and morale which all people in a self-governing city aspire to have exist and those petty rules that municipalities lay down concerning the magnitude of noise pollution, decibels, hygiene and so on should be enforced in entirety. Of course these are all


SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Mohammad Abdo’salam: “When I was little, the neighborhood used to be different, something quite different without the prison. Although they dumped all their waste here, at least they wouldn’t burn it and we wouldn’t get disturbed, but now we do. And this antenna didn’t use to be here but now it is which harms us and the presence of a mobile communication antenna undoubtedly equals cancer.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hussein Miman Abdolqader: “I don’t want my neighborhood to be the best but I do want equity in it, at the very least.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Interviewer: What would you like to do first when you get your papers?”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Fama Mohammad Helal: First, I’ll see a doctor because I’m badly ill. I have such an inexplicable pain. That’s what I’ll do in the first place when I get my papers, God willing.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdolqader Alfonti: “Here, you should fight for your rights, they are used to it. If you can’t do so, you will never be granted your rights.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdol’vaafi Alhamuti: When I go to the Agency bureau, they say the only way is to marry a national. Why on earth should I marry a national while I am too young? I haven’t reached the age of marriage yet. They must hand me my papers to shape my future and run a business, just this.”


Everyone has the right to a nationality. (Article 5, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

WHO (World Health Organization) regards sound waves higher than 65 decibels as dangerous. A helicopter produces sounds of 105 decibels.

In the 1980s, Mayer Gonzalo Hernandez confirmed that the incinerator is located 137 m off the residential areas while at the time the law had specified 2000 m of distance at the very least.

No rules have been established for specifying the distance between mobile communication antennas.

Neither Meleea’s social welfare commission nor any representatives of the company in charge of the incinerator (REMESA) intended to visit the team supervising this project.

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Hamid: “When I obtain my electrical work certificate, I’ll go to Germany because in Spain and particularly in Meleea, the conditions are not adequate.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Abdolqader Alfonti: “No one wants to stay here, no one. This valley is an obstacle otherwise the people can’t stand this place. Life is unbearable here for the one who is out of work.”

SOUDNBITE [Spanish], Mohammad Abdo’salam: “What can I say? Here everything has been politicized and barely do the people protest. No one complains. Nobody objects when it’s necessary. They stay in their homes, that’s the way it is.”


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