In Paris, the BAAM (Office for the Reception and Accompaniment of Migrants) and the artist Pierre Delavie have just carried out an artistic action entitled “The raft of Lampedusa” to challenge the population on the effects of migration policies.
Explaining the allusion to the title to the Raft of Medusa, the artist explains “This drama shook the whole population, who felt concerned, this created a real debate within society. Today we are in indifference. ”
We may not agree. The eruption of the exposure of the Exiles onto the media scene in 2015 triggered a wave of solidarity throughout Europe – as well as reactions of rejection, volunteers came through it to get involved, donations came through it. In France, the question of welcoming “refugees” also provoked a large mobilization, it also divides, as well as mobilizes around the question of living together through the deportations of undocumented families (Sans Papiers) – Action that is witnessed by the Education Without Borders Network (RESF).
But this mobilization has undergone a humanitarian diversion, and the indignation that pushed against the migratory policies that create the effects we are seeing has been diverted to respond to the immediately visible effects, obscuring the causes as if they were natural. The successive press releases denouncing the insufficient response of the authorities serve to maintain this representation, as if there were no mass spending of resources mobilised in the service of the politics that have created this situation, human, police and military, technologies, from drones to the compilation of biometric data, hardware, obstacles and fences. The State is not insufficient, it is doing far too much, voluntarily in the direction chosen by our leaders.
The police steal the covers of the Exiles in Paris, the media are talking about it. The fact is not new in the capital, it is almost ordinary in Calais. We are in a society that has manufactured a police that is capable of stealing people’s belongings, including their most needed. The policemen who might protest against this kind of practice would be marginalized in the institution, Successive ministers cover over the exactions of which they are the sponsors. So of course we must replace the covers and blankets, in emergency, against the cold, but the police are recruiting, and our taxes ensure the expansion of such practices as long as nothing changes.
Only work beyond emergency reactions of help, in the direction of migration policies, can change this situation.
Géricault : Médusa’s Raft