It's somehow still unbelievable that happened... every time we encounter the absurdity of death in the asylum machine (and elsewhere) it's like the first time. One can never get used to this.... This communiqué is half a personal reflection and a collective statement. Born from grief and powered by rage.


On Wednesday March 12th, a friend from Afghanistan, Mohammad Gul died in Trieste (Italy). After stealing a gun from a police officer in front of the police HQ, he shot himself in the head. He died 5 hours later in the hospital. The media, the repressive and other ideological apparatuses say it was a suicide, but we know: it was a homicide! A homicide committed in the unfair asylum machine, perpetuated by the state, by all the incompetent, ignorant and indifferent institutions completely incapable to take seriously his call, cry for help. I knew him. I worked with him for almost 5 months. He was a wonderful person. We knew him before his problems started. Gentle and kind. Then he broke under the insane burden of asylum procedures and the insecurities that derive from them.

His asylum story was one of many. He came from Afghanistan. Risking his life on a 5000km long “journey” to EU. As a result, he lost his life where he thought he will be safe. He was a political refugee hoping to reach a safer world, where he could be kept away from the horrors of everyday life in Afghanistan. The horrors sponsored also or manly by EU and USA. He came to Trieste in October 2013. We met soon after. He was communicative, full of life as are many asylum seekers I know. This fact never fascinates me enough. But in January 2014 something changed in him...

He had Dublin (1), but it was cancelled a week or so before the homicide. When he got his invitation to commission letter, scheduled for June 2014, he said “But why, why I have to wait so long. I can't do it any more, this is too much waiting”. All the waiting, the imminent threat of a possible deportation, no working permission, no free movement outside Italy and all the other insane burdens of asylum seeking procedure fell on him. Asylum anxiety was joined by homesickness and paranoia. He missed his family, wife and children. He was preoccupied for them, “They are not safe... also I might not be safe anymore... I can't protect them, I miss them”, he more and more frequently repeated. Then he started talking about suicide. More and more frequently. We tried to help by talking, showing we care. But we knew that his insecurity was too deep for us to reach. We all sensed something dark is coming.

For 2,5 months we regularly reported his conditions to other institutions. To the ones we thought were more competent to deal with cases of extreme anxiety, paranoia and depression. The night before this homicide I called to Diagnostics and Treatment (Diagnosi e Cura), because he was again talking about suicide, crying and beating himself. When I explained his conditions to an operator the motherfucker replied: “Again him?! Fuck it, send him back to the fuck he came from. He should kill himself and put an end to this annoying calls for help!”. Can you imagine? After my angry response the insensible racist piece of shit agreed to connect me with a psychiatrist. I talked with him for 35min, trying to convince him Mohhamad Gul problems were real, not a joke! Not an instrumentalisation of his conditions, but a fragile reaction to the inhumane and repressive structures of the asylum seeking process in EU. The medic replied: "He has no psychological problems. His condition is just a shock-reaction due to the change of culture. If you call us every time he's not o.k. there is something abnormal in your method of work".

They knew! They knew it months before this “last” phone call! It could be all avoided! Some fucking bureaucrat had to take 5min of his time to find a more suitable accommodation for him. And some even say the state protects the fragile and people continue to think EU offers asylum...

And then it happened. Some of his friends were there too, they were waiting for the automatic renewal of the permission to stay. Some journals – in their total ignorance – wrote this was the cause, “he shot himself because the police did not prolong his permission to stay”, deceiving the public and not realising his pain derived from the inherently precarious conditions of life in the asylum machine. Back to the painful event, the media conveniently left out that moment, a brief fragment of time when he dropped the bullets and a friend tried to jump on him, but was stopped by the police. Of course a decent question would be why the police didn't try to jump on him in that moment. And why the police closed all the entries to the little square where it all happened, thus blocking also the ambulance for long 20 minutes? And maybe even rise questions about the burden of asylum procedures, unfairness of migration control and the insufficient attention from other institutions. But as always the media adopted a highly xenophobic discourse depicting M.G. as a terrorist, a mad man who almost caused a massacre. Concluding almost in a “thanks god he shot only himself”. Disgusting! By doing so they paved the way for the right-wing discourse before the right-wing even said something. But it didn't take long.

Soon after the first media report, right-wing parties started vomiting words of security for "Italian citizens", more control on borders, more restrictions in asylum procedures, and questioning free movement of immigrants in the Italian territory – indirectly promoting the need of CIE (centres of identification and expulsion) prisons. Massimiliano Fedriga from Lega Nord instrumentalised this painful event linking it to the events in Milano, happened a year ago, when an “undocumented immigrant” killed three persons with a pickaxe, to promote fear and radical anti-migration ideas.

But more control will bring only more desperation, more anxiety, more depression, less rights. There is no “just” or “fair” border control, nor there is a “just” and “fair” asylum procedure! For one and simple reason: controls can never be “fair” to those who remain/become subject to them.

Mohammad Gul's pain was the product of control in the asylum machine. It was a reaction to the totality of this meat-grinder and the non-life it produces. Not an exception, but a rule. The only difference was he did it in public and “quickly”. He publicly embodied the conditions of many other asylum seekers. The necropolitics of the asylum machine. This is why this murder uncovers all the brutality, the naked reality of the asylum machine.

And this is why cases like these should nurture our rage against inequality, rage against border regimes, rage against the asylum machine and other forms of state oppression. This why we scream: this was an institutionalized state-enabled homicide. A homicide!

Alternativa obstaja


1    Under the Dublin regulation an undocumented person becomes the responsibility of the EU country where the person's fingerprints were taken for the first time or where her/his the asylum request was applied for the first time. If the person decides to leave this first country of entry in EU and goes to another country, the Dublin regulation enables the deportation process back to the first country.

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