Lublin Refugee Center is going to Close
According to the Gazeta Wyborcza, the Office for Foreigners declared that the refugee center in the city of Lublin will be closed until the end of February 2011. A group of Polish intellectuals from all over the country condemned the decision.
“We have too many centers and to keep them open is very expensive. Thus, we are going to close the refugee center in Lublin too” said Ewa Piechota, the spokeswoman of the Office for Foreigners.
The asylum seekers who reside in the center worry about the situation as they do not know what will be happen to them in near future. What is their dream? They just want a peaceful future for their children. “We are used to being here. Now it is like our home. I feel good in Poland. I hope we will manage to stay here. My husband will find a job and our children will go to school,” said Louiza, a mother of three children, while she looked at her sleeping children. All of the children were born in Poland and the youngest one, Rayana, is just two months old.
“I remember my first student from Chechnya. She was seven years old and afraid of everything,” says Urszula Jędrzejczyk, a teacher from Elementary School No.31 in Lublin.
At the beginning of the school year, the Polish pupil’s parents watched a documentary film about the Chechen reality. Also, they filled out a form, on which they were asked whether or not they hesitated when they learned that their children would go to the same school as refugees. Many of the parents said that they do not hesitate.
“Why does it disturb me? We know that many Polish children study abroad too,” said Agnieszka Różycka, one of the Polish mothers of pupils in School number 31.
After the decision of the Office for Foreigners, a group of Polish intellectuals from across the country protested the closure of the center in Lublin. An open letter signed by several well-known people like Prof. Maria Janion, a historian; Kinga Dunin, a journalist; Herbst and Robert Biedroń, activists from the Campaign Against Homophobia; Prof.Małgorzata Kitowska-Łysiak, an art historian from Catholic University College (KUL) in Lublin; Prof. Jadwiga Mizińska, head of the Department of Philosophy of Culture UMCS; and Dr Tomasz Kitliński, an academician from the Institute of Philosophy UMCS. Among those who signed the letter, is a student who lived for years in front of the center. He says that the proximity of refugees has never been a disturbance.
On November 2nd, Dr Tomasz Kitliński organized a press conference on Wrońskiej Street in Lublin, right in front of the refugee center. He explained the importance of the refugees and said, “We hope that our letter will address the conscience”.
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco