Alarm Phone performance in Brussels 'We kindly request you to stop killing'

Every year since 2014, the Alarm Phone sends out thousands of SOS-emails alerting authorities to boats in distress at sea. Thousands of standardised words, numbers and GPS-Coordinates, reporting urgent situations of distress. Thousands of repeated kind requests for rescue, many of them unanswered.

From 28 June to 30 June Alarm Phone activists will be reading out more than 1.000 of these distress emails that the network send since the beginning of 2023 during a 48 hour non-stop performance in front of the European Parliament in Brussels. The action coincides with the European Council meeting (June 29/30).

When: Wednesday, June 28 12.00 – Friday, June 30
Where: In front of the European Parliament, Place du Luxembourg, Brussels

“We are not as kind and polite as it may sound! We are not as patient as it might seem when it goes again: ‘Dear officer on duty…’. We are angry! We are tired! We are desperate! We want answers!” – Activists from the Alarm Phone creative action group.

For press and interview requests, please get in touch at Alarm Phone activists can arrange interviews during the action.
Please message as well if you are interested in receiving photo- and/or video-material of the performance. 

Further information on the non-stop perfomance

‘We kindly request you to stop killing’ is an attempt to deal with the systemic indifference the network faces in matters of life and death on the Mediterranean Sea. Alarm Phone activists will read aloud all the emails that the network has written to authorities since January 1, 2023 until the day of the action. The read-in will be accompanied and interrupted by a real time alarm – the first public appearance of the Alarmbox that reports about current and ongoing distress situations in the Mediterranean Sea.

Oftentimes when the Alarm Phone alerts authorities about a boat in distress and sends updates every hour, they don’t react or later claim not to have known. Responsibility is outsourced to other countries, made ambiguous between different agencies or denied altogether. Sometimes we ask the same people who violently and illegally carry out systematic pushbacks to assist a boat in distress because there is nothing else we can do. We witness those who denounce a person’s right to claim asylum as ‘illegal immigration’ break international maritime laws on a daily basis. In a space that is so incredibly surveilled, authorities turn a blind eye at their convenience and information is guarded with silence. We often don’t know when or if at all a boat will be sent to the people in distress at sea. All we know is that now, in this moment, in that location, there are so and so many people for whom everything is at stake.

When someone calls us from a boat in the hope that on the other side of the line a human will answer and not a machine, the Alarm Phone activists take each unique voice and convert it into a standardized bureaucratic language so authorities might pay attention. We transform people into numbers, and lives into coordinates. We strip away the anguish, the fear, the rage, the hope until we become bureaucrats ourselves. We log each call and politely state our cause, one email at a time, 4325 emails a year.

But we are not as kind and polite as it may sound! We are not as patient as it might seem when it goes again: ‘Dear officer on duty…’.
We are angry! We are tired! We are desperate! We want answers! We will keep on fighting for the end of border violence and freedom of movement for all!

The read-in takes place in front of the EU-Parliament – 300 km from where human rights were invented, 600 km from where the convention on the status of refugees was signed, right where decisions are made that deny freedom of movement to millions, that send thousands back against their will, that install surveillance and security systems, that send drones and built barbed-wire fences, that claim to protect lives and rights but in reality kill and violate their own laws. We will read these emails at the place where the repetitive, deadly spectacle of bureaucracy and foreclosure policies that keep people waiting in distress at sea is made.