Stop Mare Mortum denounces refugee deaths in Mediterranean
In a performance, the organization reminded onlookers of the tragedy which saw close to 900 refugees drown off the shores of Lampedusa
Almost three years ago to the day, on April 19 2015, a disastrous boat accident left close to 900 refugees dead, while the vessel was in Libyan waters south of the Italian island of Lampedusa. And Mare Mortum wants to make sure that not only the dead be remembered, but to bring attention to the fact that the situation has not changed. “The deaths in the Mediterranean aren’t stopping,” comes the sober reminder.
This message was shared through a performance in Barcelona’s centric square, Plaça Universitat, where participants passed refugee life jackets to each other in a human chain formation, ultimately leaving them in a pile on the ground. Each person wore a white blindfold. The scene was set to evoke the tragedy that struck – and still strikes, to this day – the shores of the Mediterranean.
Stop Mare Mortum, a citizen platform denouncing current European migratory politics and aiming to change them, is set on calling attention to the deaths of migrants, risking their lives to brave the Mediterranean Sea and to find asylum on the Italian shores of Lampedusa, closer to Africa (some 110 miles from Tunisia) than it is to Europe.
Inasmuch, the organization denounced the fact that migratory routes have become “mass graves.” Stop Mare Mortum also criticized a “hypocrite Europe” which “contracts other states to patrol their borders on a basis of terror and death.” They also decried politics that “turn the right to migrate into a crime” and that “criminalize solidarity,” referring to the NGO Proactiva OpenArms, currently facing charges in Italy for a rescue operation.
In the principles listed on their website, Mare Nostrum also pledges to “denounce the constant deaths in the Mediterranean,” which they consider a “new form of genocide in the 21st century.” Their name makes reference to Mare Nostrum, the Roman name for the Mediterranean Sea (literally, ‘Our Sea’), a moniker also used for a 2013 refugee salvage operation undertaken by Italy.