21 Nov. 2019

The Mediterranean Migration Monologues

The Mediterranean Migration Monologues (“Mittelmeer-Monologe”) tell the stories of Naomie from Cameroon and Yassin from Libya, who find themselves on a boat to Europe. It also tells of brutal coast guards, dubious sea rescue centers, and activists who fight against migrant deaths in the Mediterranean Sea.
The activists are part of the project Alarm Phone as well as the German non-governmental organization Sea-Watch. They convince coast guards to search after people in distress at sea and train volunteers to rescue people from drowning. In short, they do what can no longer be taken for granted in 2019: They save human lives.
The Mediterranean Migration Monologues are documentary, verbatim theater based on many hours of interviews, which reconstruct real cases of sea rescues in order to narrate from the perspective of those affected—both refugees and activists. One of these cases shows the particularly brutality of the Libyan coast guard.
On November 6, 2017, a Sea-Watch rescue ship and a Libyan coast guard ship sailed simultaneously toward a migrant boat with 150 passengers on board. Two competing rescue operations began, and while Sea-Watch saved 59 people, at least 20 people drowned and 47 people were brought back to Libya—imprisoned, beaten, sold, and tortured. The events of November 6 were elaborately reconstructed by Forensic Architecture in their video “Mare Clausum” as well as in a video by the New York Times (“How Europe Outsources Migrant Suffering at Sea”). By interviewing two people closely involved that day for many hours, Michael Ruf provides the personal stories behind this definitive case.
The opening of the Mediterranean Migration Monologues took place almost exactly five years after the founding of Alarm Phone in 2014, and tells of several cases of sea rescue by this activist network. In the five years since, the organization has accompanied and supported 2,800 boats in distress. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and includes a network of 200 activists from many cities in Europe and North Africa. It has developed a continuous infrastructure to support the struggle for the right to freedom of movement.
The Mediterranean Migration Monologues provide personal and intimate insights into the largely unknown work of Alarm Phone. It tells the story of people in distress, who dialed the Alarm Phone hotline, and of the activists who received the call, and their inspiring shared history.

The Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung–New York Office, together with Goethe-Institut New York and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School, is hosting a free performance of the Mediterranean Migration Monologues (in English with German, French, and Arabic subtitles) of the Bühne für Menschenrechte (Actors for Human Rights) in New York City.
Thursday, November 21, 2019, at 7pm
Goethe-Institut New York
30 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003
Doors open at 6:30pm. Seating is limited and will be available on a first come, first serve basis, but we still encourage you to RSVP here.

The Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung–New York Office is also co-sponsoring a performance workshop on “Migration, Theater, and Truth” led by Michael Ruf and Kayhan Irani at the Creative Time Summit X on Saturday, November 16, from 3-4pm. Workshop participants will learn the techniques of popular theater and the role of social theater in debates on migration. For more information, please visit the Creative Times website.