The Water

A Poem about the sea as a space of flight by Jehan Bseiso

To Bassem and Doa, for their love,
and their bravery.
For the one of them who drowned.

(Tell It)

The Water carried my body.
The Water didn’t carry my body, it was
my body
carried
the Water.

(Tell It)

When the sea is calm, the boats keep coming,

When the summer ends, the boats don’t stop.

Shipwrecks begin.

(Tell It)

Malta mon amour, how many shoeless bodies
at the bottom of the sea?

(Tell It)

Sublimation is when solid turns to gas,
without becoming liquid
I wish I died like that, without becoming Water.

Jehan Bseiso is a poet, researcher and aid worker. Her works have been published on several platforms. Furthermore, she is active in the work of Doctors Without Borders. Her poem “The Water” deals with the sea as a place that refugees cross on their way to Europe. With this, “The Water” becomes a place of hope and death.

In 2019, 79,889 people were counted by the beginning of November who came to Europe by the Mediterranean Sea. This is a smaller number than in previous years. The UNHCR is aware of 1,089 cases in which people lost their lives. By June 2019, around 22,800 people had been rescued from the Mediterranean. State-run sea rescue operations have been severely reduced in recent years. Private sea rescue services such as Sea-Watch, Mission Lifeline and SOS Méditerranée are trying to fill this gap and save as many people as possible whose lives are still threatened when crossing the Mediterranean. 11All figures and information are from UNHCR Germany: FAQ Sea Rescue, in: UNHCR Germany Website, 2019: https://www.unhcr.org/dach/de/services/faq/faq-seenotrettung#01 (26.11.2019).

Malta is one of the European countries, along with Greece, Spain, Italy and Cyprus, where most of the refugees who cross the Mediterranean arrive by boat. According to UNHCR, 2,804 boats reached the island between 01 January 2019 and 01 October 2019. 22UNHCR Malta: Malta Sea Arricals. January-September 2019, in: UNHCR Malta Website, 2019: https://www.unhcr.org/mt/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/10/Malta-Factsheet_OCTOBER.pdf (04.02.2019).

Deaths of refugees who lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea and elsewhere have been documented by UNITED for Intercultural Action since 1993. In addition, many people die during their flight, while their fate remains unknown.

    Footnotes

  • 1All figures and information are from UNHCR Germany: FAQ Sea Rescue, in: UNHCR Germany Website, 2019: https://www.unhcr.org/dach/de/services/faq/faq-seenotrettung#01 (26.11.2019).
  • 2UNHCR Malta: Malta Sea Arricals. January-September 2019, in: UNHCR Malta Website, 2019: https://www.unhcr.org/mt/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/10/Malta-Factsheet_OCTOBER.pdf (04.02.2019).

Bseiso, Jehan, 2019: The Water, in: Bhakti Shringarpure (ed. et al.): Mediterranean. Migrant Crossing. Storrs, CT: Warscapes Magazine, p. 15.

Reposted from Mediterranean. Migrant Crossings with the kind permission of Bhakti Shringarpure, founder and editor in chief of Warscapes.

For a review of Mediterranean. Migrant Crossing see here.

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