antiAtlas Journal #5, 2022

antiatlas-Journal #5 - AIR DEPORTATION: Editorial AND TABLE OF CONTENTS

William Walters, Clara Lecadet & Cédric Parizot

William Walters teaches politics at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. His interests include security, secrecy, migration and governmentality.
Clara Lecadet is a researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research. She works on deportation policies, deportees’ grassroots movements in Africa and refugee camps.
Cédric Parizot is anthropologist at Aix Marseille Université/CNRS, IREMAM, Aix-en-Provence. He is one of the initiator and coordinator of the antiAtlas of Borders project. His interest includes borders, mobility, space, as well as the relations between research and art.

Keywords: air deportation, borders, migration, civil aviation

antiAtlas Journal #5 "Air Deportation"
Directed by: William Walters, Clara Lecadet and Cédric Parizot
Design: Thierry Fournier
Editorial office: Maxime Maréchal

antiAtlas Journal
Director of the Publication: Jean Cristofol
Editorial Director: Cedric Parizot
Artistic direction: Thierry Fournier
Editorial Committee: Jean Cristofol, Thierry Fournier, Anna Guilló, Cédric Parizot and Manoël Penicaud

To quote this article: Walters, William; Lecadet, Clara; Parizot, Cédric; "antiAtlas-Journal #5 - Air Deportation: Editorial and table of contents", published on June 1st, 2022, antiAtlas #5 | 2022, online, URL :, last consultation on Date

Adrian Paci, Centro di permanenza temporanea, 2007, video still (excerpt)
Courtesy of the artist and Kaufmann Repetto Milan / New York and Peter Kilchmann, Zurich

1This issue of the antiAtlas Journal offers new research, archives and interventions on air deportation in Europe, the Americas, Oceania and Africa at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. It builds in part on the findings of The Air Deportation Project (directed by William Walters, in collaboration with Clara Lecadet and Cédric Parizot) which is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada (grant # 435-2017-1008). But it also includes additional contributions that were selected out of a call for proposals. Thus, together with research articles examining the role of aviation in the management of migration policies and contemporary borders, readers will find original propositions and format from activists, testimonies of deportees, as well as interventions by artists.

Most of the time air deportation operates below the radar.

Civil aviation is a key infrastructure that the governments of the Global North in particular use for forcibly removing people subject to deportation. We give the name air deportation to this system of coerced mobility. Occasionally air deportation becomes visible either because a deportee’s struggle gains attention in the media, or an activist group challenges an airline for its complicity in forced migration, or a government decides to make a chartered flight a mediatized operation. But most of the time air deportation operates below the radar. While activists, journalists, human rights organizations and artists have drawn attention to the particular forms of violence and secrecy that accompany removal by air, our knowledge of what air deportation means for the struggles of migrants and refugees, for borders and migration governance, or for the stakes it raises regarding the becoming of our societies is less developed. Likewise our understanding of its ramifications in the airports and countries of destination.

How do various aspects of aviation interact with deportation practices and policies of states? In what ways does aviation empower states, bringing global reach, flexibility and intimidation to their dreams of immigration enforcement? At the same time, and conversely, in what ways does aviation expose immigration enforcement to new forms of bureaucracy and disruption? In what ways has the iconography of commercial aviation – logos, liveries, symbols, etc. – become a counter- language for antideportation activism?


2 In order to answer these questions, the contributors to this issue have taken over in an original way the exploratory editorial format that the anti-Atlas-Journal is trying to offer. The militant group Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants reports on the protest campaign launched in 2019 against the involvement of British Airways commercial flights in the deportation of migrants, through a contribution based principally on the wealth of iconography assembled in the course of this action. Other articles develop interesting circulation between a text that combines experiences with analysis, and a documentation including photos, videos, diagrams, maps and administrative documents. This is the case of Helen Brewer who reflects on the limits and possibilities of the direct action she and 14 others took to stop a deportation charter flight and speculate towards the future of anti-deportation resistance in the UK. Likewise, Aino Korvensyrjä and Rex Osa discuss the challenges posed by militant observation and by the documenting of these practices in Germany after 2015 and in post-deportation situations in Nigeria. As for, Clara Lecadet and William Walters, they extend this discussion around forms of militantism by retracing the history of anarchist collectives in France in the 1990s and 2000s. By articulating or blurring different registers of expression (literary, academic, etc.) the contributions of Barbara Lüthi, Friederike Kretzen and Marianne Büttiker, on Switzerland, and that of Angela Smith, Australia, call on readers to reflect on their relationship with deportation and on the implications of these migration control practices on their societies.

While other contributions might rely less on iconography, the compilation and analysis of testimonies and numerous administrative documents obtained through formal requests, unpublished tables, maps and diagrams add significantly to the archives on deportation in Europe, in Oceania or in the Americas. Sarah Zellner discusses the role of Frontex in the EU’s air deportation infrastructure. Her article documents a polymorphous air deportation infrastructure where national, bilateral and European pathways intersect to exclude people on the move. Inspired by dramaturgical sociology, Amalia Campos-Delgado proposes to consider the state-led and crafted visibility of border practices as “dramatic performances”. She examines the mass deportation of 311 Indian citizens from Mexico and the intentional official visibility given to this expulsion, as well as the backstage dynamics concealed from the public eye. As for Lucio Cascavilla, he completes this unique documentation through accounts and videos, stressing both the singularity of the experiences of the deportees and the difficulty to document and expose the violent they are subjected to.

Besides, the lack of iconography of certain articles, as well as the need to reproduce maps and diagrams from their originals, in fact testify to the obstacles that researchers encountered in collecting visual or aural records, as well as the opacity which the authorities try to maintain around air deportation. Some contributors have exploited the gap between, on the one hand, rich and full ethnographic descriptions that immerse the reader in the field, and on the other, the absence of iconographic or audio documents. The few elements that they have chosen to retain are used less as illustrations and more as photographic negatives, as they underline the impossibility of capturing the traces left by deportees or by those awaiting a decision, whether in the visual or sonic landscapes of airports. On the one hand, Katerina Rozakou’s article discusses these issues by offering an ethnography of voluntary deportations conducted in the Athens International Airport by the IOM Greece in collaboration with the Greek police ; while Maxime Maréchal reflects on them through his unique study of the language interpreting practices in the waiting zone in Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle in Paris. In all, this issue offers, much more than counter-visibility, a practical and experiential reflection on the material conditions of air deportation and on the many ways of making it and its effects visible and audible.


3 Table of contents

William Walters, Clara Lecadet and Cédric Parizot
Éditorial et sommaire (this article, french version)

William Walters, Clara Lecadet and Cédric Parizot
Introduction: Air Deportation, (in)visibility, Power and Resistance

Helen Brewer
How to stop a Deportation Flight

Marianne Büttiker, Friederike Kretzen & Barbara Lüthi
"Action Black Autumn": the Genesis of Air Deportation in Switzerland
Amalia Campos-Delgado
Bordering Theatrically: Mexico Mass Expulsion of Indian Citizens

Lucio Cascavilla
The Stigmata of my Deportation


Aino Korvensyrjä & Rex Osa
Deportation monitoring in Germany and Nigeria: Assymetric Strategies, Solidarity and Activist Knowledge Production
Clara Lecadet
Video interviews with Members of the Deportees' Malian Association

Clara Lecadet and William Walters
Struggles against the "Deportation machine": on the Anarchist Track

Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
Dear British Airways...

Maxime Maréchal
Extra-territorial voices: Language interpreting practices in the waiting zone of Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport


Katerina Rozakou
An Airport Ethnography of Volontary Deportations

Angela Smith
Air Deportation and the Settler Colony

Sarah Zellner
Frontex as a Symprom of the EU's "Deportation Syndrome"

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