Pia Klemp, the German ship captain who faced prison time for rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean just refused the Grand Vermeil medal awarded from the mayor of Paris. This is her magnificent letter of refusal:
“You want to award me a medal for my solidarity action in the Mediterranean Sea, because our crews ‘work to rescue migrants from difficult conditions on a daily basis’. At the same time your police are stealing blankets from migrants that you force to live on the streets, while you raid protests & criminalize people that are standing up for rights of migrants & asylum seekers. You want to give me a medal for actions that you fight in your own ramparts. I am sure you won’t be surprised that I decline the medal.
“I’m not a humanitarian. I am not there to ‘aid’. I stand in solidarity. We do not need medals. We do not need authorities deciding about who is a ‘hero’ & who is ‘illegal’. In fact they are in no position to make this call, because we are all equal.
“What we need are freedom & rights. It is time we call out hypocrite honoring & fill the void with social justice. It is time we cast all medals into spearheads of revolution!
“Documents & housing for all!
Freedom of movement & residence!”
–Pia Klemp, 20 August 2019″