The International Day for Refugees takes place on June 20. On the occasion of this day, various church and civil society organizations have launched the action Beim Namen nennen. Accompanied by numerous local actions, the names and stories of all those who have lost their lives trying to reach Europe are read out on this or the preceding day.
Within these hours, more than 44,000 people are commemorated. 44,000 people who have been registered since 1993. However, the tragedy in the Mediterranean continues and repeats itself every day. On the other hand and beyond the Mediterranean, only abstract numbers of disappeared and deceased reach the public.
This year’s action is intended to remind us again that even abstract numbers are individuals who bring more with them than a political discourse about security and integration. They are families, young children or young adults who put everything at stake on risk in order to live a dignified life with equal opportunities. Fortress Europe denies this opportunity and ensures with its deterrent asylum policy that people have no safe escape routes to choose from.
Next year, names and stories will be read aloud again. Until then, we hope that the list will not become even longer.
The action Beim Namen nennen was accompanied by numerous local, artistic performances.
In cooperation with Alarm Phone Switzerland and the Maxim Theater Zurich, Seebrücke brought the documentary theater “Mediterranean Monologues” from Berlin to Switzerland. Providing a framework for the campaign, it was performed in a total of four times, in Zurich, Bern, Lucerne and St. Gallen. The “Mediterranean Monologues” tell of Naomie from Cameroon and Yassin from Libya, of political resistance, of a boat on its way to Europe. The texts were created verbatim from interviews lasting several hours and are performed with musical accompaniment.
It is not easy to listen for almost two hours to four people describing human fears, desires and hopes. But this theatrical performance forces you to stay seated and engage with the subject matter. The end result is a moving evening, with great acting and new reflections on the right to safe arrival.
Together with the Catholic and Reformed churches and the Solinetz Luzern, the names of all the deceased and the circumstances of their deaths were read out during 24 hours. Parallel to the reading of the names, the participants wrote what had been read out on white strips of cloth and hung them on a wooden construction in front of the church.
Damian Meyer, together with young artists, also created wooden memorial sculptures that deal with displacement and flight, but also with arrival and hope.
In collaboration with Sea Eye, an installation of tents and posters (#NowYouSeeMeMoria) was created on the Bundesplatz over the weekend of the action, drawing attention to the situation of the Greek camps and calling for their immediate evacuation. Four small and large tents stood fenced in front of the Bundesplatz, sending a clear signal to the National Council and Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter.
About 60 people and volunteers took part in the action this year in Geneva. Among them were representatives of the organizations Association pour la Promotion des Droits Humains, Vivre Ensemble or UNHCR. Private individuals such as Jean Ziegler were also contributing to this day. On Friday afternoon, visitors were able to enjoy a flamenco performance. During the two days, participants wrote the individual stories of the deceased on small strips of paper, which were then pinned to a wooden construction.
Accompanying the reading of the names and the circumstances of death, passers-by could visit the new exhibition of Seebrücke. The path migration describes the arduous journey from the African continent to Europe. In different stages, hurdles and risks are presented that people have to experience on their migration route. The exhibition can be found here.