An Italian member of our rescue team wrote a moving text on the tragedy that has opened the eyes of the world to the humanitarian tragedy that is still unfolding in the Mediterranean. By Alessandro Porro.
Five years. It took five years for Europe to forget the Lampedusa tragedy. On October 3 2013, a boat that departed from Libya sank near the island, causing the death of 369 people. This resulted in mass outrage and shame at the time, leading to Italy proclaiming a day of national mourning and reviewing the laws on reception and integration of refugees.
In the wake of that deep mourning, Italy started the Mare Nostrum search and rescue operation, saving thousands of lives.
After a short time, Europe suspended Mare Nostrum and replaced it by sea border control operations: the European society reacted again and gave way to the rise of civil search and rescue missions, financed by private donors. The Aquarius mission is the result of that reaction, it was born as a way to fill a void.
Five years later, we are the helpless witness to yet another sharp change of course in Europe. Politics now openly hinders sea rescues, increasing the danger in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Aquarius will arrive tomorrow in the port of Marseilles where it will have to stop indefinitely, due to being deprived of its flag for the second time, preventing us to work as an ambulance of the sea. Criminalized as if rescuing human lives was a crime.
This is a very painful page in European history.
Now, we ask the civil society to speak out, sign our petition and demonstrate to give a voice to those who remain alone to die at sea.
Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/W2l10_cwcFk
Photo credits: Laurin Schmid / SOS MEDITERRANEE