Tarajal 2024: truth, justice and reparation

It has been 10 years since the tragic event of February 6, 2014 in which 14 migrants had their lives taken while trying to cross into Spanish territory from Morocco. I have been fortunate to join and express the collective rage and pain in Ceuta on February 3 and to shout out loud Truth, Justice and Reparation!

Impressive were the words of the lawyer of La Merced Migraciones, Patuca Fernández, at the round table on February 3, when in her presentation, at the end of the morning, she told us, alluding to Judit Butler: all lives matter, migrant lives matter, black lives matter and – she continued arguing – that life connected to suffering and affection teach us, on the contrary, that hurtful history devoid of memory ensaña us. That is why the most terrible thing about February 6, 2014 was not the deaths of the young migrants, but the fact that their lifeless bodies were denied rescue and later appeared faceless on the beaches of Ceuta, like lives that did not matter and were stripped of their humanity, which is expressed through their faces.

El Tarajal, unfortunately, is becoming an obligatory encounter as long as the corresponding authorities continue to deny justice to the victims, relatives, friends and survivors of that day.

Going to Tarajal every February with the Elin Association, with our sisters of Ceuta, with Pro Human Rights of Andalusia, main mentors of the memory of suffering, of the urgency of investigating the truth and, above all, of the urgent need to repair the victims of the events that took place, is a commitment to justice, political charity, solidarity, with which I find myself totally identified and our documents express it.

Nor can I forget Viviane Ogou’s words accusing us in the global North of oppressing Africa. First with colonialism, which ended legally in the 1960s, but without any political, social or economic change. And now, with neo-capitalism, heir to a slave system, African governments continue to be slaves, more concerned with development subsidies than with the precarious situation of their citizens. The militaristic management of the borders of the global north, making it difficult for migrants to pass through, is causing 18 deaths a day according to the Asociación Caminando Fronteras. Investments in security make easy steps difficult and divert people to seek alternative routes that lead to certain death.

The coasts of Cadiz bear witness to the 150 migrants who died during 2023 and some more whose bodies have not been found and remain forgotten. Faceless people, people who don’t matter, people whose relatives are probably waiting for a phone call. People that, for yet another year, we are determined to name and rename so that, with our memory, we can contribute to the dignity that is denied them.

Tarajal, the name of a beach, of a border crossing, is becoming a space and a symbol of solidarity, of fraternity, of empathy with the pain that continues to plague the lives of those who are still waiting for Truth, Justice and Reparation from the Spanish government and its institutions.

Cati Bueno, Vedruna, Axis JPIC