13.Mar.01 - Online demonstration @ www.lufthansa.com
Online-Demonstration against Deportation Business The antiracist network No one is illegal and the solidarity organization Libertad! call for a virtual blockade against the Lufthansa homepage.
The public criticism against the Deutsche Lufthansa company is growing stronger. Antiracist activists have continously protested at airports and travelling agencies and were even present at the yearly shareholders meeting, accusing the airline of "deportation business". No one is illegal and Libertad! are now announcing the extension of these protests to the world wide web.
If companies engaged in this kind of dirty business are creating their most important branches in the internet, then this is the perfect place for a massive protest. Just like a traditional sit-in, thousands of internet users are invited to show their criticism in a temporary blockade of the Lufthansa homepage. This is only possible with a large number of participants, and for that reason no one is illegal and Libertad! call international groups and organizations to join in the preparation of this action. So far, the date has not yet been decided upon, but for the day x we can expect wide-spread participation.
Every year there are more than 30 000 people deported from Germany by airplane. The Lufthansa company, offering its "world wide net of connections", sells the vast majority of the so-called "deportee-tickets". Consequently, "Deportation Class" is big business. But it's not only that. Since 28th of May 1999, when the Sudanese citizen Amir Ageeb died on board of a Lufthansa flight as a result of being ill-treated by three German borderguards, the company is exposed to constantly growing demands to renounce this dirty business. No one is illegal has since stressed the legal responsebility of the captain in case of a passenger travelling involuntarily dying. Consequently, the captains' association Cockpit has recommended its members to refuse the boarding of people forced aboard or wearing handcuffs. The public workers union ?V called its members inside the Lufthansa administration board to take measures to stop the deportation flights.
It got even worse for the Lufthansa management when the company's bad image was noticed in the United States. In this year's January 29th issue, the Wall Street Journal dedicated an extensive article to the debate over the deportation flights - bad publicity, and even worse so, since Lufthansa had just explained to their shareholders that the USA was the "future strategic market". A market which Lufthansa plans to conquer via the internet. In 2005, the eCommerce-portal, today only selling about 10% of the tickets, shall be responsible for 40% of the company's total turnover.
Electronic capitalism may be very profitable, but also its risks are considerable. For that reason, Lufthansa, together with other international companies like Siemens and Telekom and, not to forget, the German Federal Police Agency, has become a member of the so-called "Commission for the Protection of Infrastructure". This circle dedicates itself - far away from public opinion - to the improvement of police control over the net. In the executive board rooms fear seems rife of being targeted by hackers - as CNN, yahoo and Microsoft already had to experience. And they might be even more scared about an increase of political net activism.
However, in October 2000, when Lufthansa instructed their lawyers to intimidate a no one is illegal - activist, they already gave proof for their receptiveness to net criticism. If an art exhibition against deportation didn't disappear from the net, Lufthansa would bring him to court and make him pay a considerable fine. This quite conventional behaviour resulted in a campaign by dozens of internet projects around the world who showed their solidarity by mirroring the exhibition in question on their own sites.
So, one may be curious about Lufthansa's reaction to the coming online-demonstration. If activists together really would manage to block the access to the homepage, in spite of the company's high capacities to maintain its internet presence, it certainly would not contribute to the customers' trust in the eCommerce portal, where they are to book their future flights. We are optimistic. We believe that criticism to deportation flights is shared by lots of people, so that a massive and international demonstration will take place. To make sure everyone's possibility to take part, we will release in time a user-friendly protest software. And in the meantime protests at airports will continue.
7th of March 2001
no one is illegal and Libertad!