AYS Weekend Digest 17–18/08/2019: “Rescued”vs. “Captured” and Salvini’s forked tongue…

Image for post
Image for post
Beatings in Libya drawn aboard the Ocean Viking, Photo Credit SOS Mediterranee

Many pages have been dedicated to the strategic use of “Migrant” versus “Refugee” in broader discourse, but little attention is paid to the concept of “Rescue” versus “Capture.” Arguably, considering the deplorable condition of most of the “camps” that people who are fleeing are required to go to, one could make the argument that most rescue is in some way a form of delayed capture or at least interception. However, this could be definitely strategically used to play into the further demonization of humanitarian rescue efforts. The situation is much more clear cut when it comes to the Libyan Authorities’ EU Endorsed interception and return of people to Libya. On the weekend, many noted that 278 people were “rescued” off the coast of Tripoli.

However, many have pointed out that these are better termed “Interceptions” or “Capture”, as all of those on board will be returned to horrific detention centres in Libya. The photo story posted by AFP of drawings of those aboard the Ocean Viking highlights the trauma of those coming to Europe. Read more here.

One can hear more of the in-depth report from the Khoms, Libya detention centre by listening to this podcast. But the horrifying details of bodies washing ashore while others languish and slowly die in detention centres highlights the horror of the situation.

Please listen to the podcast here.

In other news from the Western Mediterranean, around 47 people have landed on the Chafarinas Islands on Spain. There is no update on their condition.

It is unclear if this landing is related to the five people who called for assistance for a boat in the Alboran straight, at which time there was no rescue response for hours.

On a similar note, the actual goal of the big talk of Salvini, which is shared by all of the anti-migration politicians, is to direct all attention onto civil actors and private citizens. Open Arms remains stranded, banned from landing at Lampedusa, although 27 minors were allowed to disembark. Salvini is very proud of this, purporting to “defend” Italy from nefarious “invaders.” However, what he doesn’t note is that in the dead of night at the weekend, people landed without a problem, just not with the assistance of search and rescue organizations apart from the Italian coast guard.

The condition on board the Open Arms ship continues to deteriorate. Already four people have tried to make a break for Italy by jumping overboard, and were rescued again.

Although several Spanish authorities have given permission for the Open Arms to dock in Spain, this would be in violation of several treaties and laws and they are unable to do so. They cannot travel to Spain in view of the condition of the people on board, as they would not be safe. They must go to Italy. France has agreed to take 40 of those on board once they land. Needless cruelty on behalf of the administration.

This is a good time to be reminded that with regard to Salvini’s squawking, 92% of landings in Italy, as of July, happened WITHOUT the assistance of SAR NGOs. Facts are disposable, however, when it is more politically expedient to target all ire on essentially straw men — those who are not contributing to any pull factor, who are not bringing people, just saving lives. These are easier targets to whip up sentiment against and this allows Salvini to maintain his personal political brand and prance around as the defender of Europe.

The use of NGOs, civil society actors, grassroots organizations, and simple citizen humanitarianism as straw men onto whom to deflect all anger and public opinion is common practice in the right-populist governments. It is now a sadly common tactic in Croatia and Hungary in other areas. Make sure to stand with each other.


Aegean Boat Report notes that the number of arrivals on the Greek islands is higher than in many recent years, and has written an excellent text on it.

For the whole text, please go here.

In the meantime, 238 people arrived on the Aegean Islands (Lesvos, Chios, and Leros) on Saturday. Another 98 people arrived on Lesvos on Sunday. This is nearly 350 people over the course of two days.

In a chilling revelation, people who were set to land in a harbour on Lesvos had to land on a rocky beach instead, so as to not disrupt tourists.

The Greek Government continues to crack down on solidarity in the name of saving tourism. In a predicted move, as the historic neighborhood of Exarchia in Athens was long known for its anarchist community, after years of increasing gentrification and exploitation of the heritage of the area, the government is moving to sweep out squats to make room for more lucrative guests. Join us on a twitter storm on Tuesday to #SaveExarchiaSquats

In this vein, European Lawyers in Lesvos have received some more funding and will be able to work in the Olive Grove. To continue supporting their important work, go here.

Every day people continue to help those displaced in Bosnia, with the local community of Kljuc, Bosnia giving their all. See all of the families stranded along the way.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo Credit Sanella Lepirica

The weather in Bosnia can be very harsh, please support these local communities as people continue to come.


First Aid Support Team in Calais, France is in desperate need!

In Germany two upcoming deportations!

From Stop Deportation Group

Another group of Nigerians is being deported today from Frankfurt. For more information go here.

In a bit of very good news, however, a German court has ruled that TURKEY IS NOT A SAFE THIRD COUNTRY! This is patently obvious by now, but this small step can help significantly!

For more, go here.

We strive to echo correct news from the ground through collaboration and fairness. Every effort has been made to credit organisations and individuals with regard to the supply of information, video, and photo material (in cases where the source wanted to be accredited). Please notify us regarding corrections.

Apart from daily news in English, we also publish weekly summaries in Arabic and Persian. Find specials in both languages on our medium site.

If there’s anything you want to share or comment, contact us through Facebook, Twitter or write to: areyousyrious@gmail.com.

Written by

Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store