ECF statement on loss of life at the Mediterranean Sea

ECF mourns the continuous loss of life at the Mediterranean Sea which has sadly reached another peak last weekend. We commemorate those who have tragically perished at the Southern borders of Europe and express our deepest sympathy with those women, men and children who are still suffering at sea at this very moment.

  European Exports  by Rainer Ehrt (published as part of our  Drawing Citizenship  campaign organised with the Cartoon Movement in 2014)

European Exports by Rainer Ehrt (published as part of our Drawing Citizenship campaign organised with the Cartoon Movement in 2014)

On the occasion of the EU emergency summit in Brussels (23 April 2015), ECF calls for a courageous leap forward towards taking measures which truly reflect our humanitarian values and solidarity as Europeans. Those who arrive at our borders are called boat people and illegal migrants, but they are neighbouring citizens whose desperate situation deserves our full compassion and concern. To provide rescue, safe havens and shelter is a challenge which calls for a concerted action of engaged citizens, civil society and decision-makers in all European Union member states.

 Image from  Frontext  published in  REMIXING EUROPE , highlighting the migrants perspective (Doc Next Network, 2014)

Image from Frontext published in REMIXING EUROPE, highlighting the migrants perspective (Doc Next Network, 2014)

ECF has been cooperating with independent cultural voices that have repeatedly addressed the inhumane political complexities and heartbreaking realities at our borders in their vital work. We have asked some of them to share their thoughts in view of their ECF-supported initiatives and feature some of their previous and still ongoing critical media projects:

Lampedusa Mirrors is a theatre coproduction between Eclosion d’artistes (Tunis) and Teatro dell’Argine (Bologna) that was conceived in the framework of our Tandem Shaml Cultural Manager Exchanges. In 2015, young theatre makers from Tunisia and Italy developed a gripping performance which reflects on life at the island of Lampedusa as a symbolic site of the ongoing crisis.

This video documentary features the development process on location and the March 2015 premiere in Bologna:

A Lampedusa a ottobre 2014 abbiamo visto turisti in costume da bagno, artisti che facevano le prove, albergatori e pescatori al lavoro. Niente migranti. Il centro d’accoglienza vuoto. Non la solita immagine da telegiornale. “Grazie a Mare Nostrum”, ci disse la sindaca Nicolini. Poi, però, dietro l’angolo, il cimitero delle barche, gli effetti personali, i racconti dei lampedusani, i superstiti eritrei del Comitato 3 ottobre 2013, a ricordare il più grande naufragio del Canale di Sicilia. Il più grande fino ad allora, purtroppo. Non aspettiamo il prossimo, lavoriamo alle leggi, alla coscienza e a saperne di più.

Noi li abbiamo visti. Quelli che vogliono venire in Europa, noi li abbiamo visti. Hanno 10, 15, 20 anni e ne dimostrano 18, 30, 50. “Lo so che rischio la pelle in mare, ma io qui sono già morto. Una speranza al 50% è meglio che nessuna speranza”. Anche a noi serve una speranza. La speranza che possiamo ancora essere umani, non restando sordi alle grida di altri esseri umani. Ci servono leggi adeguate. Ci serve di aprire le orecchie a quelle grida e ci serve il coraggio di parlare per chi non può più farlo.
— Teatro dell’Argine (April 22, 2015)

A Cemetery Called Mediterranean Sea is a short film by the Spanish artist Malaventura produced for the European Souvenirs Show. European Souvenirs is a live cinema remix-performance on migration and media that tours Europe. The artists collective behind European Souvenirs describes their work as ‘a commitment to creating a space for humanistic dialogue and the dissolution of borders, for rethinking and remaking the European imagination departing from the personal stories of migrants.’ European Souvenirs was part of the Re-mapping Europe project, an investigative artistic project by the Doc Next Network. Its activities follow the principle of re-mixing of media as a method to re-view, re-investigate and re-consider prevailing imagery of migrants in European societies.