As some authors warn (Cuttitta et al. 2020: 37), the term “survivor”, due to its focus on biological life and the value of life in itself, can be a tool for the humanitarianization and symbolic inferiorization of people on the move, similar to the terms irregular or illegal migrant. This term, however, goes beyond its literal level of meaning since it explicitly defines irregularized migration routes as dangerous and deadly, indirectly calling out those responsible for them. Aside from that, the survivors are direct or indirect witnesses, actors of the production and transmission of knowledge about the events they survived. As highlighted by Giorgio Agamben in his discussion on memory, remembrance and witnessing of Auschwitz, a survivor is a witness in the sense of the Latin superstes, one who survived and “experienced an event from beginning to end”, as opposed to a witness who is an outside observer of an event or conflict (Lat. testis) (Agamben 2008: 12). Apart from appealing to institutions and organizations for the protection of human rights, survivors today testify publicly, even in courts, about the persecution and torture at Croatian borders.
Agamben, Giorgio. 2008. Ono što ostaje od Auschwitza. Arhiv i svjedok. Homo sacer III. Zagreb: Izdanja Antibarbarus. Translated Mario Kopić.
Cuttitta, Paolo, Jana Häberlein and Polly Pallister-Wilkins. 2020. "Various Actors. The Border Death Regime". In Border Deaths. Causes, Dynamics and Consequences of Migration-related Mortality. Paolo Cuttitta and Tamara Last, eds. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 35-51.