Jessie Seal

Story Number:Story-011
Themes: Europe, No Borders, Refugees

So I guess I do find the, like, term ‘activist’ quite difficult, because I think it conjures up an image of doing really difficult physical stuff all of the time that’s quite extreme. And sometimes I don’t feel like that. Um. But I guess, yeah, I have always been interested in like, changing stuff, and never particularly got on with authority – or authority that doesn’t make sense to me, that’s not logical, that doesn’t answer my questions [laughs].

So I think, like, a lot of my activism stuff has often just come from seeing what was around at the time and then getting interested in that. Ah, but most recently I spent, er, yeah, about just over a year living in Malta, and there I worked with a group called Jugend Rettet, um, and a ship called Iuventa. Um, and that was a search and rescue ship that would go off the Libyan coast for two weeks at a time, um, and, and rescue people from the water. The crew that I was on was really interesting because it was a majority female crew, so there were nine women on it, which was, like – is very unusual for ships anyway. And was – is – really unusual in the search and rescue NGO’s too. Um, and there we also met with people who, um, experienced and worked with the realities of the refugee crisis from the north african side, um, and particularly, er, people who essentially dealt with the bodies that washed up on the shores in Tunisia. And there the situation where you have Tunisian fishermen who are having to deal with bodies that are in lots of ways, like, nothing to do [snorts] with them. Um. And yeah, having to find places to bury them, not having enough money to be able to bury them, um, um… Yes, so I guess it’s important to say that what I experienced was that there was – there is – a phenomenal amount of death in, um, that migration route. Um, so when people cross from Libya to Italy, um, a lot of people die, uh, and the numbers are underreported massively.

Um – but what we have done is we’ve successfully pushed that back so that it’s nearer North Africa, um, so people living in Malta, living in Lampedusa, living in Sicily, no longer really have to deal with the realities of people, of bodies washing up on their shore.

But yeah, getting involved with the event I think it – I was really clear that I wanted to do work around No Borders. Um. And I also really wanted to do work that was about, um, showing love to people.