Steven Spielberg made a film about the release of the Pentagon Papers. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg wrote history as he was disclosing the top secret files. He risked his freedom and his career when he was publishing inaccuracies in the official information policy about the Vietnam war. Daniel Ellsberg was awarded the 7th Dresden Prize for his courage that was and still is a role model for younger whistleblowers.
The Italian village of Riace was almost a ghost town when a boat with 300 refugees stranded there. The future mayor had an idea. Now Domenico Lucano has received the “Dresden Prize”. By Stefan Locke
One could not see the one picture without yet another glimmering through as on Sunday Domenico Lucano stood on the stage of the Semperoper, one of the symbols for the “sweet disease of yesterday”.
Deutsche Presseagentur (dpa), 12 February 2017
It is an award ceremony to be remembered, and not only do those honoured have tears in their eyes. Three Italians are honoured in Dresden for their humanitarian action. And all around them are many who share their compassion.
On an early morning in July 1998, a sailing ship with 250 Kurdish refugees landed on the beach of the little Calabrian village Riace. Domenico Lucano, back then a chemistry teacher, was one of those who took care of the exhausted people immediately. And he had an idea: Why not save each other?
On certain days, there are a dozen. On other days, hundreds of people. For years and more and more frequently, we have been receiving news about refugees drowning in the Mediterranean Sea. It is estimated that some ten thousand refugees have died during the last 20 years.
When the Sicilian press reports about refugees drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, it is usually followed by a list of town names. Names of those communities that agreed to bury the refugees in their cemeteries. The coastal villages where bodies have been washed up or where rescue boats have landed at do not have the capacity to bury all the corpses in their communal cemeteries.