Action for Refugee Week 2022 in Berlin Passionskirche By Almut Schlepper

Berlin, 18 – 2- June 22

Imagine – you write 30 times on a piece of cloth the following information:
– a date
– a person
– origin unknown
– cause of death – drowning, somewhere between Libya and Malta.

When 30 people died in this incident you inscribe 30 bits of cloth, no cutting corners here. The whole point of the exercise is to acknowledge every individual, even if you do not know their names.

The title “Call them by their names” gets lost in translation. The German “Beim Namen nennen“ means as much as ‘call a spade a spade’, address things as they are.

Most of the time the names of the victims are not known unless they died in Europe often by suicide after failing to get asylum out of fear of deportation. Other causes of death are suffocation, falling of a train or a lorry and many got shot at the Turkish border.

The deaths are recorded by an organisation in the Netherlands. You can see the latest

In the church we listened over the three days with these lists being read out. I read twice for 25 min which means a lot of deaths, it is quite overwhelming. Everyone on the list stopped being a number, but became an individual. I felt powerless in the face of so much human misery. It made me sad and angry at the same time. But the important action was to record these deaths and make them public.

All these deaths could have been avoided if there was a safe way to enter Europe and ask for asylum.