Gala: Day of Smuggling - Festive tribute of Europe's Smugglers

On 25.6.23, anniversary of the awarding of the German Federal Cross of Merit for her smuggling activities to Lisa Fittko, a smuggler in the Third Reich, we invited to the very first Smugglers' Gala in Berlin, to honour people whose actions today have contributed to subvert the EU border regime.

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The EU demonizes and criminalizes smugglers, and the fight against smuggling consumes significant resources and serves as justification for various measures and repressive actions under the guise of protecting migrants from violence and exploitation. Even within circles advocating for freedom of movement, "the smuggler" often carries a tarnished reputation.

With the Berlin Smuggler's Gala we confronted the political narrative and public discourse around the topic of "smuggling" and critically questioned: What exactly do we mean by "smuggling"? Who or what is being criminalized? Why is assistance in crossing borders considered morally (and legally) right in some cases and not in others? To what extent does the criminalizing discourse serve as a key stabilizer of the EU border regime?

We spoke with activists from Poland about the double standards in the evaluation and "punishment" of smugglers from Ukraine and Belarus, delved into smugglers' stories from the past and honoured today's convicted smugglers with the Golden Lisa. In a festival hall filled to the brim, unique moments were created and together we made a strong statement against the dominant political narrative around smuggling and for the facilitation of freedom of movement.

A recording of the complete gala you can find here: Live recording

A big thank you goes to our guests:
→ Dr. Ilse van Liempt, associate professor at the university of Utrecht, expert for human smuggling
→ Hamza Haddi, arrested and imprisoned for smuggling in Greece
→ Smuggler portraits of Abdelbaset Jenzri and Matteo, arrested and imprisoned for smuggling in Italy and Slovenia
→ Mahtab Sabetara, father sentenced to 18 years in prison for smuggling
→ Kalina Czwarnóg, Fundacja Ocalenie, activist at the Polish-Ukrainian and Polish-Belarusian border
→ Scenic reading from Lisa Fittkos "Escape through the Pyrenees", Bühne für Menschenrechte
→ Laudatio by Valeria Hänsel und Kerem Schamberger, Medico International

 ... and live performances by Just Fa and Enana!

The evening was hosted by Sara Bellezza und Julia Winkler, borderline-europe.

More info and material about our campaign on the topic of smuggling you can find here: Day of Smuggling


© Pictures borderline-europe