Sonntag, 7. Oktober 2012

NEWSLETTER migrantsicily - September 2012

  • Another tragedy in the Mediterranean: 80 people missing off Lampione 
  • Stop tragedies in the Mediterranean- protests in Europe and Tunisia 
  • Giusi Nicolini receives death threats and Lampedusa's Anti-Racist Groups are subjected to intimidation tactics
  • Tensions continue in the Sicilian Centres

Another tragedy in the Mediterranean: 80 people missing off Lampione
136 left from Sfax, Tunisia. But only 56 arrived in Lampedusa. On the night of the 6th September, yet another tragedy took place in the sea near Lampedusa. The survivors said the boat started taking on water until it finally sank. 56 managed to survive by gripping to the rocks of the uninhabited island of Lampione, 10 miles from Lampedusa. From the outset, the Italian authorities began to question whether they were dealing with a genuine sinking and hypothesised on the possibility that the migrants were told to get into the water by whoever was in charge of the boat. So far, five bodies have been found, but no trace whatsoever of a sunken ship. Family members of the missing are speaking out against the length of time the Italian authorities took to respond to the call for help.
Not only was there the tragedy that occurred near Lampione, but September was also a month of arrivals on Lampedusa:
and also in eastern Sicily:

Stop tragedies in the Mediterranean- protests in Europe and Tunisia
What happened on September 6th was the latest of many tragedies that continue to occur in the Mediterranean. The number of dead and missing from this catastrophe can be added to the already high figure of those who have died or been lost at sea since the beginning of 2012. In the period between January and September 2012, 270 people have died or gone missing in the Sicilian Channel. The figure for the same period for the whole of the Mediterranean is 464. In 2011 alone, the figure was 2,352.
Following the sinking near Lampione, the families of the missing took to the streets in Tunisia. The protests spread quickly throughout the country, with many towns and cities taking part. In the city of El Fahs, there was a general strike. The protesters were asking for the search for bodies to continue and for their right to have information about their loved ones to be respected. The protests also reflect the discontent that has been spreading throughout the country since the revolution. The people are angry that after all the blood that was spilt to overthrow Ben Alì's regime, today it is still necessary for the young to risk their lives at sea in order to leave the country. Various initiatives were also organised in France and in Tunisia in order to raise awareness of the situation and to commemorate those who had lost their lives. The Palermo Anti-Racist Forum took part in a rally alongside the brother of one of the victims.
(in German with accompanying photos)
Interview with Imed Kamoun, brother of one of the missing:

Giusi Nicolini receives death threats and Lampedusa's Anti-Racist Groups are subjected to intimidation tactics
GALL is the acronym which signed off the note, in full mafia style, which claimed responsibility for the arson attack on a boat belonging to the Askavusa association. GALL stands for Gruppo Armato Lampedusa Libera (The Armed Free Lampedusa Group). Askavusa had managed to get hold of the boat and had intended to turn it into a memorial place on the island. Only a few days prior to this attack, the mayor of Lampedusa, Giusi Nicolini, had herself been the victim of a boorish and shocking assault for comments made during an interview with Adnkronos. Referring to the tragedy that occurred off Lampione, the mayor had said, "We hope that the boats arrive," intending that she wanted to see migrants arriving alive. These comments, however, sparked a series of racist and fascist insults on an internet website, along with explicit death threats. Borderline Sicilia pledges its support and solidarity to the Askavusa association and the mayor of Lampedusa, Giusi Nicolini.

Tensions continue in the Sicilian Centres
We are almost used to hearing about riots in the Centres and escape attempts on a daily basis. This month we returned to the Hosting Centre for Asylum Seekers (Cara) in Salina Grande, which in recent months has played host to a variety of clashes. Consequently, there is currently an extremely large military presence in the Cara, despite the fact that it is merely a Centre for asylum seekers.
At the Immigrant Detention Centre in Caltanissetta, which only recently re-opened, a riot broke out which led to some migrants escaping. There were two arrests. The migrants were protesting against the conditions within the Centre.
The riots also continue, this time in the First Reception Centre in Pozzallo, which for all accounts and purposes has become a Detention Centre for Tunisians who arrive in Lampedusa and then undergo collective refoulement. The two most recent riots, which occurred at the end of August and the beginning of September, led to several arrests. Entry to the hangar continues to be forbidden, even to members of the Praesidium organisation, despite their agreement with the Minister of the Interior.