Dear Europe

Map of Europe in the Book of Cihanumma, first edited by Ottoman scholar Kâtib Çelebi in 1648.

Dear Europe,

When you look at me – the Mediterranean Sea – what do you see? You see a rich natural element in its boundless vastness, water in all its styles. Calm and inconspicuous, yet in other times rough. No one knows the Mediterranean Sea better than you, the populations living along its shores. You have built cities around me, as an expression of your affection. You have internalized my nature and made it part of your lives for thousands of years.

Over centuries, I have served as a connecting bridge; a link or passage within the entire Mediterranean space. And I still do so today. But you have come to choose that this link should only be open for some, and be a deadly trap for others. So I am left with no choice. I am the sad performer of your destruction. You know about my dangers and yet you are using me to exercise them. You have turned me into a sorting mechanism, a randomly ruling power to decide over human lives.

When I look around me, what do I see? I see bodies washed up on your shores. And I see your confusion, that a body on your beach is a wrong image in your eyes. A mistake in your system that was declared to be a new normality. A system that works against all rules of nature and the imperative of human dignity. I understand that you feel offended when others remind you about human rights. If this is about your humanistic heritage, why do you, as the inheritor of great enlightenment, choose the most vulnerable to suffer from your pride?

Dear Europe, what shores would you swim to? To the shores of humanism? To the shores of modernity? To the shores of tradition?

I am seeing military vessels navigating in my southern spheres. Am I becoming a defence zone for your latest political trends and innovations? If you are declaring a war, please don’t do so behind my back. And if you are to do so, please ask yourself very well who it is that you are trying to fight. Speaking of language. Does human flow and migration flood sound familiar to you? A group of individuals, reduced to an accumulation of indistinguishable drops? My very nature is being appropriated in order to linguistically materialize people.

Allow me to think about you for a moment, who you want to be remembered as. Because I can see your fear. Of facts. Of others, and of your own people. Of tackling the bigger picture. You are a powerful being called Europe. But you have lost control over yourself. And you seem to have no intention to tame yourself. Europe’s eyes are omnipresent and yet the being that is you is blind. You say that you act legally. You say you act consciously. But consciously accepting death by the use of laws is an action of cowardness.

For a moment, imagine yourself on my open and vast being. You look down and see my deep, deadly and drifting waters. You look around. Dear Europe, what shores would you swim to? To the shores of humanism? To the shores of modernity? To the shores of tradition? But the shores of common European values and benevolent human solidarity is out of reach.

I am the visualization of your internal situation. A platform of your complicated political trends. I am leaving you with that dilemma. It originates in Europe, and this is where it needs to get solved. Don’t wait for new heroes to be born. I hereby urge you to no longer act according to your logic.


The Mediterranean Sea.

Inspired by a speech delivered by May Skaf on June 28th 2017 at the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin. May Skaf is a Lebanese-Syrian actress, comedian and activist. The speech is available in Arabic and German on

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