VVESTLIFE by KUNSTrePUBLIK
“Wherever they may be, let everyone strive to demonstrate true humanity to all those around them. On this depends the future of the world”. Albert SCHWEITZER
World Refugees Day takes on quite special resonance given the unprecedented migratory challenge we are facing. In a world where violence and horror force thousands of families, men, women and children to flee their homes, sometimes at the risk of their lives, this is the moment for the international community to display its solidarity with refugees.
As, Antonio GUTERRES, the Secretary General of the United Nations, recalled: “It is not a question of sharing a burden. It is a question of sharing a worldwide responsibility, based not only on the general principle of our joint humanity, but also on the specific duties we have to respect under international law.”
This is what we are endeavouring to do here in Strasbourg, the European capital of democracy and human rights, in partnership with the remarkable local associations which are so committed and carry out exceptional work. On 20th June, after a day of exchanging in the Lieu d’Europe within the locally organized Campaign against hateful discourse, I was given the opportunity of taking part in a wonderful evening organized by Apollonia. It was a moving evening, full of lyricism and emotion around a participatory cabaret, created on the spot by Alsace Terre d’Accueil. Under a tent built entirely out of migrants’ life jackets collected by the artists collective KUNSTrePUBLIK on the island of Lesbos, we shared moments of rare intensity inspired by the deeply moving accounts given by people who had experienced terror.
I came away from this unique day, full of encounters, art and hope, with my strengthened conviction that it is imperative to cherish and support what brings us all together as citizens of Europe and of the world. It is this will to share, to exchange ideas, to learn and to enrich one’s feelings when meeting other people – that unites us all. It is also the necessity of lending a hand to those who are in difficulty or distress. It is the interest we give to the experiences and the course of life of everyone, to the sensitivities of women and men who each have something to bring into this world.
Nawel RAFIK-ELMRINI, deputy Mayoress of Strasbourg in charge of European and international relations and human rights.