Monday, December 06, 2021

Mourning the Channel Dead on the Thames by Deptford Creek

Cycling by the Thames yesterday we came across this impromptu memorial by Deptford Creek to the 27 people who died attempting to cross the Channel from France to England on 24 November 2021.

'It is a disgrace that we cared so little that we let you drown.
Let's hope our children have more humanity'

Imagine if it had been 27 English people drowned, say a group of people helping out with a cross-channel swim. Would people have more or less stopped talking about it a week later, would their names have been forgotten? If they had called for help, as seems to have happened here, would the authorities have quibbled about whether they were in English or French waters and left them to drown, or would they have mobilised every resource available to save them?

Thinking here of Judith Butler's question of' 'whose lives are considered valuable, whose lives are mourned, and whose lives are considered ungrievable...  An ungrievable life is one that cannot be mourned because it has never lived, that is, it has never counted as a life at all' (Frames of War: When is Life Grievable?, 2009).  Of course these lives are grieved by friends and families, but to many others they are merely migrants whose life or death is a matter of indifference. People attempting to block lifeboats, as happened recently in Hastings,  are basically saying that they would rather people drown than be rescued.   

So well done to the anonymous mourners of Deptford Creek, and let us not forget these names and faces-

Twana Mamand Muhammed

Khazal Ahmed, right, with her son Mubin Rezgar, older daughter Hadia Rezgar and younger daughter Hasti Rezgar

Maryam Nuri Muhamadamin

Harem Pirot

Donate to RNLI (lifeboats)

Support Channel Rescue (monitoring and support): 'We will not sit back and allow the English Channel to become a mass graveyard, like the waters of the Mediterranean'

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