Mittwoch, 30. Juli 2014

Augusta: naked in the port

From – Naked men bent under water pipes in order to wash themselves. This picture is spreading all over the web. These are men in the commercial port of Augusta, Sicily. Men – and women – freshly landed on Italian shores after an exhausting and dangerous cruise, first through the desert and then the Maghreb.
Rosa Tomarchio recounts the situation in an article published by, where the picture is shown. The journalist reports cases of “men and women of all ages, completely naked. There is no separation of rooms according to gender, where one may seek to cover one’s nudity. They are not able to stand up, only crouch under the water stream. This is what the government concedes. Between water pipes – which are raised a mere one meter above the ground level – nothing separates the male-assigned area from the female one. They are all naked together in the same courtyard, the latter at a few meters’ distance from the former.”
The style used by the journalist is problematic, and may be criticised over the adoption of particular terms and tones. Yet the image, the situation, if truthfull, render one speechless. “A terrible, shocking slice of life”, comments the journalist. At least, so it should be: this image has a recent precedent, albeit not an identical one. How could we not recall that image of naked migrants sprayed with anti-scabies disinfectant, in Lampedusa’s “reception” centre (we spoke about it here)? It was defined a shame, a scandal. Yet, apparently, there is always something worse. Far from the media and institutions, Sicilian centres are on the verge of collapse. In such situations, humanity, respect, dignity are too often pushed into the background.  The associations working the field have for a long time been speaking of a situation completely out of control, with continuous violations (here is Carmen Cordaro’s experience – a lawyer from Messina’s Arci circle Thomas Sankara – as well the latest information on the centres offered by Borderline Sicilia).
Meanwhile, Lampedusa’s centre has been reopened, the very centre involved in the “anti-scabies sprays” scandal: last Friday saw the landing of 1400 people, mainly from Eritrea, Somalia, and Syria. The centre is currently closed for renovation, but has been reopened for emergency, and the co-op Lampedusa Accoglienza is still handling it, the same organization that had used the anti-scabies “sprays”.
We have tried to contact activists from Augusta in order to understand what has happened, yet fruitlessly. We are trying again in the next few hours.

Translation: Angela Paradiso