WATCHTOWERS across Mallorca were illuminated in a coordinated spectacle designed to draw attention to the plight of refugees. The great lighting up took place on Saturday January 7 and was a joint effort between a local school and Amnesty International.
Lighting the watchtowers was meant to be symbolic. They were historically used for defensive purposes but instead ‘lit the way for people fleeing war, violence and misery’ according to the official statement.
Saturday’s ceremony took place in two parts. At 1pm smoke emerged from the watchtowers, followed by fires at 5pm. Almost 40 watchtowers were involved, including the Castell de Alaro, Puig de Sant Salvador and Castell de Bellver.
The endeavour was part of Amnesty’s ‘I Welcome’ campaign aimed at shaming European governments into action. The group is demanding that the human rights of the millions of refugees fleeing across the Mediterranean be recognised.
A damning statement suggested that the lack of response to the humanitarian tragedy has ‘made us all passive witnesses, if not directly complicit in the deaths of thousands of people at sea.’
Mallorcans have taken a more practical approach and used the event as a good excuse to bring the watchtowers back into public life. Politicians hope to repeat the spectacle for other occasions in the future.
The smoke and fire also paid homage to the great physician, astronomer and mathematician from Manacor, Joan Binimelis, who died 400 years ago.