All posts by MH


This is my story — a story that I got to share with all of you, who want a better world, who want change, who want to live and want . . . just to be free. This goes to everybody, but mostly to those who have moved to other places, looking for either a change or just because you wanted to create another path of living.

I’ve been in Berkeley long enough — long enough to feel like it’s my home (if there is such a thing), long enough to fit into the community and long enough to realize that here, now, is the time and the place to change the whole world

I’m not from Berkeley, not from the Bay, not even from the USA . . . I’m from some tiny beautiful islands next to Morocco. I chose to be here, I chose to live my life and do the things that I’m doing here, even if the government is bad, even if Capitalism is taking over . . . this is where I’ve chosen to live for a while because it is a time of change, a time of the revolution, and maybe it should be started in the so-called first country.

Myself, to be able to be here, I got to get married because my visa had expired. Being illegal meant that once I left the country I couldn’t come back for ten years and I didn’t want that at all because I got some roots in here already. I was lucky and my friend helped me out. I did not mind — the whole process of paperwork has just been another game, one of those stupid games you have to play for the future.

My situation has been not so bad. I got arrested on March 20 in San Francisco protesting the war on Iraq, which was one of the craziest and most delirious experiences ever. My friends and I were in jail for 17 hours, got solidarity from inside and outside and the cops let us go.

The INS interview to see if my status was “real” went ok . . . still I’m in process. We’re under the poverty line, which says that the minimum income in a household should be $1,500 a month. We did not make that money, it’s all about money, so either we have to get a sponsor or work more. For two to three years I have to be checked by the INS, which is Homeland Security right now.

It’s a game, if you lie . . . you get what you need . . . if you don’t play, you get screwed and you got to go.

I just want to say, that we have to change this world. People should be free. People should be where ever they want to be, without racism, without depravation, without going through the whole system of lies and bureaucracy.

Some people want to do things, but the system oppress them, they are not free at all. We cannot allow the government to choose for us. We shall be free.

Don’t let the evil system put you down, be who you want to be . . . and if you don’t like what you see, change it!

Lucha. No dejes que el sistema te joda, se libre.

One World – No Borders

This a story for all those who have compassion. This is a story for all of you who ever train hopped, or have ever got arrested. This is a true story for those who don’t follow the system’s laws, to those who are human, for you. Here is the story:

Pavel (not his real name) is a powerful guy. He’s been doing Food Not Bombs in different states, goes dumpster diving, socializes really well with all kind of people, knows a lot about politics and knows how to survive in this nowadays society.

Pavel has traveled a lot and he likes being in the U.S.A . . . I guess so.

But there was something happening with Pavel — whether he was politically active or just trying to make it, he was not an US citizen.

His visa had expired a while ago, before the summer time. Therefore, to be able to keep staying in the USA, where he wanted to be because he wanted to, he and his punk friend got married.

As for those who don’t know what the whole process of becoming a US resident or citizen takes, I here give you information. The “ alien’ has to apply for an Adjustment of Status and the couple has to submit their last three years of tax returns, copies of birth certificates, passports, finger prints, pictures, doctor’s appointments, almost more than $1000, patience and comedy. Well, Pavel and his punk friend got married before the summer time.

Pavel went on an adventure, and like those of us who don’t want to pay corporations, who don’t like capitalism or want to support anything regarding the system, his way of traveling cross-country was train hopping.

But it wasn’t so easy. Pavel got pulled off by the border patrol guys and got charged with misdemeanors for trespassing. He and his friends were held in the county border jail for two days. But Pavel wasn’t from this country, so they released his friends, but not him. For him, the situation got worse.

When he got arrested he did not have a passport, but because he was arrested by the border patrol people, they called the INS — that is supposed to be illegal — but they did it anyway. They checked his status on the INS computer and it showed that he had been illegal since March. It didn’t even matter that he was married to an American . . . noooooooooope! He just wasn’t a citizen and they didn’t like that.

He was in jail for two days and five more days waiting to be picked up by the INS people and go to the INS JAIL. His bail was up to $10,000. Bullshit! Pavel talked to some official and asked him if he could go back to the Bay Area and fix his troubles there, but of course they wouldn’t let him.

After 1 week in county jail, he was transported to the INS jail. He, and all these immigrants characters where together, mostly Mexicans.

They were all driven in a small van that was really crowded. The patrol borders kept discriminating against the Mexicans — singing songs like “la cucaracha” and making fun of them at all times. The guys needed to use the toilet and the cops wouldn’t let them go alone — they had to go together, and in handcuffs. They were all transported to a plane. They weren’t allowed to have a lot of stuff on the plane, so Pavel just took some books with him.

In the plane, funny and awkward things happened. Pavel had dreads and the INS mother fuckers kept joking about his looks and how they should cut his hair off because he had shit on him. But still, he feels that he was not treated as badly as the Mexican men. Probably because Pavel was white he was treated a littler better than the Mexicans, who the INS kept making fun of, telling them shit all the time, acting racist, treating them really poorly.

When Pavel got to the INS jail, first he had to wait for 6 hours in a small cell with 30 people — he couldn’t even lay down or stretch. Then, they moved everyone to a big dorm. He got a visit by a doctor asking him if he had any medical conditions. Pavel answered that he was vegan — that was his condition, that was the way he had been for a long time — but that did not matter at all. Pavel says that it was depressing that they would have 30 or 50 people all in one small cell, all non-US citizens.

Pavel was in the INS jail for 2 weeks. For those two weeks, the cops told him he had the right to make telephone calls, and so he did. But here is another important factor of this system — they never told him that the calls weren’t free. Now he ows them $300 ..yeah! See! It’s all about money. You could make a free call in jail . . . but you get charged later . . . isn’t that sick?

Well, Pavel got the chance of getting in touch with his people in the Bay Area — he even got a lawyer form the National Lawyer’s Guild. Since he was mobilizing in jail and getting hooked up with his people, they organized to help him. The Humanist Hall, Food Not Bombs and his wife sent letters to the INS and the jail staff to complain and to get him set free. In the end, they lowered the bail to $1,500 and the folks at the Humanist Hall paid for it.

Pavel says he’s really thankful to all the folks who helped him and also to all the solidarity that people showed for him and all those people out there. In the INS jail, he got to meet interesting people — non-US citizens, but humans. He got to read a lot, got to draw comics and think. He was also getting helped by Sun Young, a good lawyer from the NLG.

Pavel is now waiting for his court date in December. That day will be the day where the awful system is going to decide if he can or can not stay in this country. Who’s to choose that? Who’s to say where we can go? Who’s to say where we got to live our lives?

Hopefully, that day won’t be so bad and our friend will get to stay here, because here is where he wants to be. Here is where he is. Keep fighting and thanks to all those friends who help him — and fuck the evil INS.