Remember the Schiphol Fire

The disaster  known as the Schiphol Fire took place in the night of October 26th 2005. At the eastern end of the airport stood a detention complex. The fire took place in Block K, where migrants were being held for administrative reasons: they were either undocumented or had exhausted the legal means to obtain a residence permit, e.g. as asylum seeker These people were not charged with any crime or trespassing, they were being detained solely to be returned to their country of origin. As a result of the fire eleven of them died of suffocation, some 15 were injured and many of the survivors were traumatized. The exact origin of the fire has yet to be established beyond reasonable doubt. So far, only one man has been indicted and convicted to three years.His name is Ahmed Isa, he came from Libya and nearly died in the very fire that he is supposed to have caused.  In reality he is the first victim in many ways: he got burnt himself when he tried to extinguish the fire in his cell. Then he was detained and isolated. It is a classical case of blaming the victim, scapegoating and denial of truth and justice. Ahmed Issa was finally acquitted in 2010.

One reason why the fire could so easily spread and kill so many detainees, was that it was a temporary facility . It was constructed by assembling rows of sea containers and putting a roof over them.  The argument for  overlooking most regulations on safety and construction was that people would be detained here only for short periods, so there was no need to invest in facilities that are standard in regular prisons. And it was  both a fast and cheap way to solve a political problem. The building itself is even against the law, but allowed by decree of Minister of Justice Donner!

You,step back, or I will shoot you through the head

The marechaussee (military policeman) barks his words in my face. Before I realize it, I am looking in the barrel of a shotgun. The eyes of the man are sharp and I freeze of fear.  Many of us have been released on time from our cells, but we are not complete yet. I hear the shouting and the howling of the people who are stuck inside. I hear the bonking of their powerless fists on the cell doors.

I have to  go back. No man must die in here. All of a sudden the woman from Ukraine comes to my mind, I think back to last Wednesday. I saw her then in the recreation room. In tears, taking leave from her husband.That image grabs me at my throat. She is stick in there, but this woman has to come out. I don’t want her to die. It cannot happen. I want to go to her.

“The woman in cel 14, we must save her”, I shout to the others.But I don’t get a chance. Before I know, a weapon is pulled and pointed at me. Within half an hour I am looking deat in the eye twice. I fled out of a burning cell and now I am about to be shot dead. Only because I want to save somebody’s life.Hello Everyone,

We commemorated the fire and the dead. On the 26th at the monument on Schiphol Oost, and on the 28th of October in Casa Migrante in de Pijp in Amsterdam.

These words of Chafik Chnachi are the preface of his book #Alarmbellen, published in 2016. The book is available in Dutch for 20 Euro’s.

Omslag Alarmbellen


If you can read Dutch and write English, please help us and translate this page!

De luchtfoto hierboven geeft een beeld van boven. Vrienden, familie en kinderen zijn welkom.

De werkgroep Vluchtelingen Haarlemmermeer organiseert op woensdag 26 oktober om 7 uur ’s avonds  een  samenkomst bij het monument. Wie daaraan mee wil doen kan contact opnemen met Jo van der Spek of Papa Sakho.


De belangstelling voor de brand is nog steeds groot. De ramp is niet vergeten. Maar de lessen zijn nog niet geleerd. Want nog steeds worden afgewezen vluchtelingen en andere mensen zonder de juiste papieren opgesloten in gevangenissen, en nog steeds is er brandgevaar.

Revijara Oosterhuis van Stichting LOS schreef ons “Top dat jullie dit doen! Zijn jullie wel op de hoogte van het rapport dat wij zojuist hebben uitgebracht? Waarin wij concluderen dat de Lessen Schipholbrand in de wind geslagen zijn. Misschien vinden jullie het leuk om hier ook aandacht aan te besteden.

Chafiq Chnachi heeft een boek gemaakt over zijn leven in en na de brand. Het heet #Alarmbellen. Ik hoorde het  van Mustafa Muhjahid. Het is te koop via  voor 16,50 Euro.

Papa Sakho en Jo van der Spek  zijn nog steeds actief als M2M, Migrant to Migrant. We helpen de beweging Wij Zijn Hier in Amsterdam in hun streven naar een Normal Life.


We Are Here

To Make a Life Again

Together as One


Laat je ons weten of je wilt komen?



Laat ons weten of je komt, wat je wil doen en of je een slaapplaats nodig hebt! Of heb je slaapplaats voor gasten van buiten?

Tip: goedkoop met de trein kan via de Facebook groep  “NS Group-tickets”


Jo = 0686263381 m2m<a>

Sakho =  0684189631 papasakho10<a>


Hartelijk dank en hopelijk tot ziens op vrijdag 28 oktober



Casa Migrante

Van Ostadestraat 268, 1073 TV Amsterdam


Hartelijke groeten van Papa Sakho en Jo van der Spek


M2M Migrant 2 Migrant

Address: Van Ostadestraat 49c

1072SN Amsterdam NL

Dit zijn de namen:!.html#slachtoffers

Het rapport van de Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid:


Ten Pol 1438AH, Oude Meer


Casa Migrante