Iqbal Mohammed, 38, is a resident of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He earns very little, from sporadic work, but he may well have inspired a new social movement which is quickly gaining momentum around the third world.
Since last Thursday, he has sat outside the front of his house, holding a placard demanding that the German government fly him to Germany, free of charge, and provide him with a house and a well paid job in the civil service. People paid little attention until Monday, when a passing Spanish tourist took a photo and posted it on their Facebook wall. By Tuesday evening it had gone viral.
The XYZ is one of the first news organisations in the world to track down Mr Mohammed personally, and ask him why he is doing this, and what he hopes to achieve. According to Mr Mohammed:
“I have seen on the news that people from my country, and countries in the Middle East and Africa, have been travelling to Europe and demanding to be let in to a country of their choosing, and the Europeans are letting them do it.
“To me, this seems unfair.
“Why should it be only people from the third world who can afford to pay people smugglers, and are physically capable of walking thousands of kilometres across Europe, who are let into Germany? I can’t afford money to hop on a boat to cross the Mediterranean, and I am not healthy enough to walk that far. But don’t I have a right to be let into Germany too, if I want it? How does someone who can turn up on Germany’s doorstep have any more right to be let in than me? Surely, I am just as deserving, if not more, given that I have less means, both financial and physical, than they?”
Asked how he was doing, Iqbal said that he had plenty of provisions, as others in his community had been happily feeding him every day, and pledges of money, food and clothing had started to flood in via social media. Several Facebook pages and groups have been started, attracting thousands of likes and members, with the aim of petitioning the German government to do everything it can to contact Mr Mohammed and arrange for him to move to Germany as soon as possible.
However, Mr Mohammed has been dismayed by what he calls “bureaucratic excuses” he claims he has received from German officials:
“They are one of the richest countries in the world. To claim that they do not have the resources to immediately meet the needs of every single person who demands entry to their country is just ludicrous.”
Interestingly, it is reported that this has sparked a new social movement across the third world, with a man in Burundi reportedly mimicking his stand since Sunday, making a similar demand of the German government. Three more people in Pakistan are “occupying” space outside a local community centre, who say they would prefer Sweden. And these stories appear to be the tip of the iceberg of a growing social media wave.
It is this latest development which pleases Mr Mohammed the most:
“What the people of the West need to understand is that if there is anyone in the world, anywhere, who has less than them, that is an injustice. As people who possess privilege, it is their responsibility to ensure that the needs of everyone on the planet who is less fortunate are met, before their own. I hope that I have started something which will be revolutionary – if people can turn up on the borders of a wealthy nation and demand to be let in, then that country has the responsibility to let in and take responsibility for the needs of anybody on the planet who desires to do the same.”
It’s your XYZ.
Photo by Faisal Akram Ether