16 July 2017: A Weekend Disruption
The MotM Weekly is typically sent in intervals congruent with the title of the email, that is, weekly. It’s been just over a month since the last dispatch, and wanting to keep this from becoming The MotM Monthly (even if that does have a really sweet alliteration), here is a quick note to break the silence. A longer story is on its way. There has been a doleful ache daily as I watch time tick by, missing the moment to share more of the experience of lives switching between worlds, for the migrants as much as for me, but of course in radically different ways.
In the meantime, I want to share the latest profiles that are on the site now (see the journey story of Yanks, 20-years-old and from The Gambia, below, plus more on the home page), and a bit of tactical news that can affect directly the longevity and depth of brutality that currently defines the migrant crisis.
Italy is right now considering port closures to NGO vessels. As I posted on the MotM Facebook page earlier this week, fear begets fear: as Italy continues to be abandoned by the EU in the face of the crisis for its isolationist reasons, the Italian government is forced to weigh actions of its own grounded in similar sentiment.
It’s an extreme and stunning possibility when you consider there have been over 2,000 migrant deaths so far this year on the Central Mediterranean route (constituting movement from Libya to Italy), a figure that would certainly be higher if not for NGO efforts. These are missions, of course, that must be made as a result of the largely absent rescue response of the EU and Frontex (the coordinated EU border patrol and coast guard organization in the Mediterranean).
As EU logic has it, if you don’t rescue anyone in distress on the sea, you haven’t got to help them once they land on your national territory either.
So NGOs, functioning as humanitarian not political agencies, remain overwhelmed at the helm of rescue endeavors; and Italy may react now to the onslaught of otherness with the kind of fear that has motivated the EU to withdraw its own substantial support. And there are calamitous effects to face from this:
"...migrants and refugees in desperate conditions, who have endured abuse and violence in Libya, and risked their lives in the Mediterranean, would be forced to endure additional days at sea while states tussle over which port they should be taken to…” (Source: EU Observer)
With that, it’s worth reminding you that MotM is a place to hear stories, not political analysis. I’m no wonk. Then again, these stories and the politics surrounding them––and, actually, dictating them to a large degree––are becoming increasingly intertwined. So I am going to have to find a way to articulate the particularities of the subject in which I am not yet an expert but an observer. It remains to be seen, but I expect more questions being raised from that initiative than answers.
To help clarify this, let me suggest a brief list of humanitarian organizations MotM follows on Twitter. They are a few among many other huge-hearted people and groups doing very brave things and sharing the profound details of it daily. Put them in your feed if you’re on the platform and just watch. Look into the images and hear the words. It sounds silly to say that so plainly, but sometimes I’ll flick through the feed and be shocked at how easy it is to read the whole string of it in a blur, so it bears declaring outright. Because when I stop and look at the singular encounters shown (the faces of people, the sprawl of the sea, the details of the ship deck, etc.) it all comes rushing in.
We can create a version of the world we want to see with social media. In my own (MotM’s), that world is drawn by images of the sea and all the people it tried to swallow. It’s far away from what I know in New York and Stateside more simply. It has the ability to affect your day, and that’s the point. If you’d like to disrupt yours, here are a few selects from the MotM follow list that I recommend, among many others: