In central Brussels, hundreds of spectators witnessed, with approval or horror, a slick new tech startup, RefuGreenErgy, that converts the power of bicycling refugees into electrical energy—giving the refugees 24-hour periods of amnesty and 1.60 euros per day, and Belgians "green electricity" and a "guilt-free way to help others." A website, promotional video, and Facebook and Twitter accounts helped with the illusion. The launch event was exposed when a member of the public, who happens to work with refugees, revolted loudly against the concept—almost the first time this has happened with a Yes Lab project. (See reveal video and selected Belgian media coverage.)
The hoax—carried out by WAAR (We Are All Refugees), a group of "artivists" from Belgium and abroad, in cahoots with several refugee groups—was designed to call attention to the moral responsibility of developed countries for the so-called "refugee crisis," which is partly due to climate change (caused by rich countries) and partly due to colonial and current-day exploitation.
WAAR asks that you:
- Support the collectives and organizations of the undocumented, their occupations, and their demand for equality.
- Support passengers who have opposed the deportation of refugees by air, who are now being prosecuted by the Belgian justice system.
- If you are in Belgium, welcome a refugee from Maximilian Park (Brussels) into your home to allow him/her to rest and protect him/her from police raids.
- Visit asylum seekers in the Belgian refugee centers.