Migration is a basic human right that has been practiced freely in every culture since the beginning of human history. However, in modern society, it has become a privilege that is enjoyed without thought by a those of us in the western world. Political unrest, poverty, famine, and war have caused an unprecedented influx of refugees from developing countries to the relative safety of our shores; the numbers are staggering. According to Amnesty International:
- More than 100,000 men, women, and children have died trying to reach the refuge of Southern European countries since the year 2000.
- In 2014 alone, more than 150,000 refugees crossed the Mediterranean in makeshift vessels to reach the shores of Italy; that number is up from 60,000 in 2011.
- During this same time period the number of arrests of undocumented migrants along the Greek/Turkish border rose by 143%.
- Italy alone spends €9m ($12m) per month on Operation Mare Nostrum, a search and rescue operation in the Mediterrean that was created in response to the drowning of 360 migrants off the coast of Lampadusa in October, 2013.
- In July of 2014, more than 5,000 refugees were picked up by Italian authorities in a single weekend; Spain received 1,200 in just two days the previous week.
This mass of humanity is squeezed between economic pressures and Nationalistic fears on one side and the threat of almost certain death in their homeland on the other. Those who survive the journey toward freedom find themselves at the mercy of ineffective asylum policies, human trafficking, prejudice, and violence. As conflicts in the Middle East and Northern Africa escalate, those numbers will only go higher. We read the statistics in the paper and online, see the images on the nightly news, and we are saddened and heartsick; we wonder what we can do.
Dead men tell no tales, but their spirits are crying out to be heard. The goal of this production is to tell the story of six people from different cultures who share the same goal: to escape to what they perceive as the land of opportunity or die trying. We invite you to take a journey with us as we walk in their shoes and give a voice to the voiceless, and we thank you in advance for your support.