They are not the only four pages hanging on the wall. Just beneath them there are others containing many more names. These are the lists of the Tunisians which are present in all of the CIEs (Centres for Identification and Expulsion) in Italy. The list was updated in September 2011, faxes were sent from Trapani to Turin passing through Bari and Bologna, and Rome's Ponte Galeria. Maybe it was updated in September, before the fire at the centre in Lampedusa which led to its closure, because after that date from the boat-prisons where the Tunisians were kept for a couple of days it wasn't possible to send a fax. And for those on the CIE boats the next step was a direct trip to the airport of Carthage.
I look through the names of the people detained in every corner of our country. I know that Sayfuluddine ended up in Via Corelli in Milan where he made a call asking to be released, asking for a lawyer, speaking about the easy beatings which the more outspoken refugees of the centre would receive. "Marta, this is not a centre," which is the term I usually use to refer to such places, "this is a prison in all senses of the word." But he didn't stay there for even a month. On 5th October, he was sent back to his country. But these lists don't mention such details.
I continue to look through the lists and come across a Muhammad Amin who wanted me to believe that he was under 18. I recognise his surname and date of birth, 23/01/91- his real date of birth. Anyone making a false declaration, such as claiming to be under 18 would have been sent directly to Milo (the CIE in Trapani) with the adults. To be sent back home.
But in the Consulate's waiting room, where the names of the Tunisians to whom no one knows what happened are hanging on the wall, those who stayed meet again. They seemed to have narrowly escaped death or been through a living nightmare, some of them actually have, recently.
Mounia came out of the CIE Ponte Galleria 20 days ago after four months inside. After a period of four months, Article 18 allows her to legally stay in Italy for the following 6 months in sheltered accommodation with other women like herself who have been torn from the peace and quiet of their normal lives after getting divorced in Tunisia.
"You are free," they said to her.
In the waiting room Mounia bumps into Atraf: they hadn't seen in each other since they were inside Ponte Galleria, when she lent him her mobile to make a call to Tunisia. A phone call to his mother in Mounastir to ask her to send his identity card in order to legally prove that he really was under 18. He arrived in Linosa during the chaotic days following the fire in Lampedusa when there was no organisation monitoring the arrival of the boats, nobody believed him when he was asked how old he was. Even in the hospital at Agrigento it was impossible to legally prove his age. He does seem too tall and well-built to be under 18. This is exactly how young teenagers end up locked up in CIE centres.
The young men and women don't ask for anything else other than the permission to stay. In 2011, the issue was high profile, when the revolution left them with no choice but to leave their country and also when the centre in Lampedusa burnt down. Now they seem to have all disappeared.
Some of them really have, some live in fear because their immigrant visa is about to run out and might not be renewed, some have bought immigrant visas, some have been sent back home- a real possibility as no further emergency agreement has been made allowing them to remain on Italian soil.