Samstag, 28. Mai 2016

Porto Empedocle and Lampedusa: The Final Result is indiscrimination

The arrivals are multiplying and the system, at the end of May, is already broken, despite the numbers being no greater than at the same time last year. Many continue to die, and many continue to arrive, saved from certain death, as we have seen from the tragic images taken by the Italian navy.
Foto Alberto Biondo

Foto Alberto Biondo
Whoever manages to be saved from this daily slaughter (200 dead and dozens missing in only three days) is being sent to a Hotspot or one of the “non-places” dispersed throughout Sicily. In the centre at Lampedusa, emptied out in recent days in order to make space for new arrivals, a situation outside of any regulation persists: there are men, women and children altogether, almost entirely without discrimination, given that the men's structure was burnt down, and continues to be uninhabitable. But notwithstanding the conditions of the complex, people continue to be disembarked on the island in numbers greater than the maximum capacity. At present, with last Thursday's arrival of 123 women, 18 minors and 20 men, the total number of migrants present is 333. Among them are 15 Tunisians, detained separately from everyone else, who arrived in a dinghy directly to the island. Beyond this there are also children, some of them under 10 years old. Up until yesterday there was also a 9-month-old girl on the island (who lost her mother in the crossing, a victim of Fortress Europe), already the protagonist of a competition of solidarity, in which no one will say who killed her mother!

The situation is no different at Porto Empedocle where, after nearly a year, and thanks to the disastrous situation at the Lampedusa Hotspot, there has been the first landing of 2016, with around 540 migrants. They briefly passed through the port's tent structures, before being transferred to the hub at Villa Sikania in Siculiana, where there are at least 600 at time of writing, overcrowded and housed without discrimination. Among them are many women and children, many of whom are Eritreans who arrived either only a little while ago or have been there for months, awaiting the relocation process, which, needless to say, does not work.

At the landing at Porto Empedocle there was also a conspicuous number of North Africans (most of whom originally from Morocco), transferred to the Agrigento police station, most likely to receive a rejection notice, given that there are few places left in the detention centres (CIE). The doors to invisibility and exploitation are being opened up for them as well.

Today there were again landings at Trapani, Catania, Pozzallo and Messina, with other migrants to exploit and park up in some emergency centre, caught within a failed system which at the beginning of Summer is already starting to tilt.
Alberto Biondo
Borderline Sicilia Onlus

Project "OpenEurope" - Oxfam Italia, Diaconia Valdese, Borderline Sicilia Onlus

Translated by Richard Braude