• Dale Roberts

World Refugee Day - Remembering 'Mercy'


In late November Émilie Satt and Jean-Karl Lucas (who perform as the duo Madame Monsieur) were working on their debut album when they stumbled across a story that would inspire their song 'Mercy'.


Taiwo Yussif, a Nigerian refugee, went into labor on board an immigration rescue ship, delivering her baby girl at sea before they docked in Sicily.


"We were just chilling on Twitter and we found this picture of this baby born fifteen minutes earlier," vocalist Émilie Satt told William Lee Adams for 'Billboard'.


"It came so hard and so strong into our hearts that after a few minutes we thought maybe we should try to translate this emotion into a song."


The song was of course 'Mercy' that went on to win the French National Final 'Destination Eurovision' on the back of a strong public vote.


A powerful video clip was produced highlighting the refugee crisis in Europe, with the video reaching over 13 million views on YouTube.


They went on to perform in Lisbon creating a memorable wave-like performance with the crowd, paying homage to the origins of the song. They finished 13th overall on the night.


But it was the ongoing story of Mercy that should be remembered.


Before Eurovision Taiwo Yussif was found by French journalist Eric Valmir in a refugee camp in Sicily.


Taiwo told journalists "I pray to God that this song will be a success and that, thanks to that, someone can help me….I have no one. My baby suffers here in this camp. I want it to stop. We have been here for too long.”


Following this Madame Monsieur arranged to meet Mercy and her mother in August of 2018.


This inspired the children's book 'Mercy. Zo heet ik' (In Dutch released in 2019) and the French version 'Je m'appelle Mercy' released just this month. Proceeds of the book are going towards Taiwo and Mercy.



More importantly, with the help of lawyers, NGOs and the attention of the song, they were given the official status of refugee and were able to move to a smaller refuge with more freedom of movement and opportunities.


This was in late 2018 and it's not clear on how the family is doing now, but with the launch of the new book the team behind Madame Monsieur are still in contact with the family.


It is their life to lead and not for us all to follow out of sheer curiosity. We can celebrate the fact that their story was able to see real change for their life.


We wish the best of luck to Taiwo, Mercy and their new life in Italy.


If you want to donate to helping refugees in Australia, we suggest you donate to the vital work of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre https://www.asrc.org.au/telethon/


'Mercy' lyrics (English and French)


I was born this morning, Je suis née ce matin, My name is Mercy, Je m'appelle Mercy, In the middle of the sea Au milieu de la mer Between two countries, Mercy. Entre deux pays, Mercy. It was a long way and Mom took it. C'était un long chemin et Maman l'a pris. She was in my skin, eight and a half months. Elle m'avait dans la peau, huit mois et demi. Oh yes, eight and a half months. Oh oui, huit mois et demi. We left the house, it was war. On a quitté la maison, c'était la guerre. Sure she was right, there was nothing to lose. Sûr qu'elle avait raison, y avait rien à perdre. Oh no, except life. Oh non, excepté la vie. I was born this morning, Je suis née ce matin, My name is Mercy. Je m'appelle Mercy. They reached out to me On m'a tendu la main And I'm alive. Et je suis en vie. I am all these children Je suis tous ces enfants That the sea has taken. Que la mer a pris. I will live a hundred thousand years. Je vivrai cent-mille ans. My name is Mercy. Je m'appelle Mercy. And there before our eyes was the enemy, Et là devant nos yeux y avait l'ennemie, Perhaps infinite blue immensity, Une immensité bleue peut-être infinie, But yes, we knew the price. Mais oui, on en connaissait le prix. Emerging from a wave, a friendly ship Surgissant d'une vague, un navire ami Gave our chance to our survival. A redonné sa chance à notre survie. This is where I uttered my first cry. C'est là que j'ai poussé mon premier cri. I was born this morning. Je suis née ce matin. My name is Mercy. Je m'appelle Mercy. They reached out to me On m'a tendu la main And I'm alive. Et je suis en vie. I am all these children Je suis tous ces enfants That the sea has taken. Que la mer a pris. I will live a hundred thousand years. Je vivrai cent-mille ans. My name is Mercy. Je m'appelle Mercy. I was born this morning. Je suis née ce matin. My name is Mercy. Je m'appelle Mercy. Thank you, thank you, I'm fine thank you. Merci, merci, je vais bien merci. Thank you, thank you, I'm fine thank you. Merci, merci, je vais bien merci. Thank you, thank you, I'm fine thank you. Merci, merci, je vais bien merci. Thank you, thank you, I'm fine thank you. Merci, merci, je vais bien merci.

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