Humanity 1 christening speech by Hadnet Tesfai

Taufe Humanity 1 - Rede Hadnet Tesfai
Arez Ghaderi / SOS Humanity

Hadnet Tesfai, journalist and moderator from Berlin, is sponsor of the Humanity 1 and christened the rescue ship on August 19, 2022, in Vinaròs, Spain. Befor throwing the champagner bottle against the ships hull she held an emotional speech, that can be reread below.

As a person with a history of flight, I am very moved by the fate of the people seeking their way to Europe via the Mediterranean. I know their dreams and understand what they leave behind for them and what they go through on the way. That's why I'm very happy to be able to support SOS Humanity at the christening of the Humanity 1 - hoping that this rescue ship will save as many people as possible.

“I find it unbearable that people are drowning at the gates of Europe every week, if not every day – and that this has been the case for many years. That these people have to fight for their lives, in fear of death, and are left to their own devices. Not because rescuing is impossible, too difficult, or too expensive – but because it is simply not wanted by European politics.

Hundreds, thousands of people continue to drown in the Mediterranean Sea while the European states stand idly by. Even worse, they are complicit as they finance the so-called Libyan coast guard which does not rescue the people in distress, but intercepts them as they flee, drags them back to Libya and detains them under unimaginable conditions.

Nearly 20,000 men, women and children have drowned in the Central Mediterranean since 2014. I cannot and will not look away. That is why I am here today. We must do everything we possibly can to prevent more deaths in the Mediterranean. Immediate emergency aid must be provided and that can only be done via a rescue ship.”

Some 40 years ago my parents were lucky enough to be able to provide a safer flight route for us. We were never at risk of losing our lives. And still the better, safer life they had hoped for, the fresh start for their family was a painful process. Fleeing is always also a story of loss. So when I think of people getting on those boats that were never designed to go as far or hold as many passengers as they do - I think of their despair. Looking the other way while they die means we have failed as human beings. And I refuse to do that.

“Over a period of roughly two years, the former research vessel “Poseidon” saved the lives of over 1,900 people under the name of Sea-Watch 4, operated by Sea-Watch with the support of United4Rescue. Next week, it will be back at sea, under its new name Humanity 1, now operated by SOS Humanity.

There is a wonderful, dedicated international crew here on board. I’m pleased to say that almost half of the crew on board are volunteers.They have regular jobs on shore, but dedicate their time to contribute to the rescue of those at risk of drowning.These volunteers represent a committed global civil society aboard the ship. More than a third of the crew members are women and the team’s diversity is also reflected in the crew’s countries of origin, including people from Ghana, Mexico, Kenya, Jordan and many others.

However, non-governmental search and rescue remains a huge task with numerous hurdles for the crew on board as well as the team on shore. These rescuers need our support; morally, publicly, politically, financially and in every other way. I am proud and happy to christen this ship today. I am full of confidence that the ship and its crew will be able to assist many people in the most dire need, by rescuing them from distress at sea, treating them with dignity and bringing them to a place of safety. Let us all do our very best to encourage and support these life-saving missions and the people aboard this ship.

I wish the crew good luck and success for their rescue missions and hereby christen this ship of humanity, Humanity 1!

Photo credits: Arez Ghaderi / SOS Humanity

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