14) The Will to Help

This story is about the rescuing of refugees in the Mediterranean sea. A classical image for me, when I think about the aim of this project. And an image that is often discussed. About the signs that are sent with it.

For me it is a signal of empathy and willingness to help. Then the volunteers do not get paid or a certificate for their CV and from many people and institutions not even understanding or support. What is it then, that motivates them to do something like that? Humanity is what I would say.

A friend, E., left 2017 for a sea rescue service. For him, it was a shocking picture that encouraged him to become active himself: the widely known photo of a dead child, whose body was washed ashore. Die deaf sign, symbol of the innocence of children and the finality of death, has moved many people. For E. it meant that he did not longer want such catastrophes to take place. “We are a human family”, is what he says.

That is how he ended up volunteering for a non-governmental organisation, for who he came to the Mediterranean sea- not for holiday but to support a sea rescue mission. Together with a group of more volunteers he searched at the coast in front of Libya. Sea rescue service, for clarification, means to intervene in life-threatening accidents on the sea. Life jackets and water bottles were distributed to the often badly equipped and informed refugees in the boats and the sea rescue coordination centre informed. They do not do any transport themselves. But that creates already ethical questions, especially in health emergencies. The volunteers on board need to be aware before every mission, that they might not be able to help everyone. Medical emergency response is intended, but it can happen that it is already too late for some- and even though you want to help everyone, the resources should be saved for cases that are not lost. That is also part of it and everyone has to question him/herself beforehand, what they can deal with and what they are up to do. Because as many things, humanity is not a simple concept, but one with different faces and angles.

E. and his co-volunteers did at the end despite their open eyes not once have to be active, just as other organisation in this timeframe. Background were the increased measure of the Libyan and Italian coastguard, that made sea rescue impossible for them. And still- through the reports of friends like him, the pictures from the news are suddenly close. And you can ask yourself: what kind of a person do you want to be?

foto: SK
foto: ED