Dirty Money

Article first published on April 28, 2021

The latest shipwreck off the Libyan coast – the much celebrated “new” Libya – in which at least 130 people have died and an undetermined number went missing, occurred about two weeks after Draghi’s declaration of satisfaction with the “rescues” of the [so-called] Libyan Coast Guard.

The [so-called] Libyan Coast Guard can now once again boast of the presence of “Bidja“. He has been released from detention despite the fact that there are very serious charges against him for crimes against humanity and human trafficking. There are hundreds of testimonies from migrants who made the passing under his yoke which support these accusations.

Hypocrisy in the name of power and money: dirty money stained and stained with the blood of innocent people as well as our indifference.

No politician has admitted that these deaths are a direct result of decisions that have names and surnames. No one had the decency to say that the Prime Minister recited the usual script, that he wittingly lied. No one with even an average knowledge of reality would call captures “rescues” because the people who manage to escape torture and violence are once again handed over to their torturers.

The majority of the media – with the usual few and valuable exceptions – participate in the game of political power. The news about the latest massacre at sea had very little place in the news. Even on Repubblica-Online it was listed only 35th.

Similarly, the news regarding the indictment against Salvini in the Open Arms’ case has been kept quiet as if to preserve the cross-party government where everyone sits down together. This has already been happening for too many years.

We Italians are indignant at the pace of a tweet and forget who commits crimes on a daily basis. We let criminals show us the way in order to find the scapegoat of this historic moment.

On April 25, many people gathered in the streets to celebrate the liberation from fascism – despite Covid-19 and the current restrictions. But fascism never really left and wants to raise its head again these days. It becomes a habit, thanks to an economic system in which money can do anything: bribing governments, creating multinational corporations, manipulating information. Despite the fear of the virus, many wanted to recall that once again people were left to die at sea without being saved, as the Forum Antirazzista di Palermo complains.


Those who manage to reach Italy still have to pass hotspots and CAS* as well as quarantine vessels although many international associations and organisations for the protection of migrants have been denouncing the absurdity and illegality of this practice for months.

The government has published a tender for five vessels, each of which costs 35,000 euros per day for hiring alone plus 25 euros per migrant per day for maintenance.

The Prefecture of Palermo has launched a tender of 552,000 euros for a Covid-19 center with a capacity of 50 people; the Prefecture of Trapani has provided funds for the management of the Covid-19 centers – and even more money for the re-opening of the CPR* of Milo (5,4 million euros for the next 2 years).  And we could continue to list the various tenders for Covid-19 centers all over the island of Sicily. A bonanza that is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and between the same people, just as behind the establishment of new institutions.

We cannot expect that the reception procedure will change anytime soon or that people will be released from a criminal system that makes them invisible. Too many migrants end up on the streets after they leave the Covid-19 centers, including very young people. We find them in the railway stations of our cities or in the countryside. From there, someone continues to make money at the expense of the numerous invisibles. This happens ruthlessly and with the cooperation of politicians who finance projects that – in a sneaky and hypocritical way –pretend to support migrants.

Yesterday we met one of them, one of many who told us about his desire for liberation: “I came here to work, not to play. I left my mother, my sister, and my father behind in Senegal and every night I dream of having dinner with them again. They are my strength and I carry them in my heart. I came here because I wanted to have a free life, because I want to be a free person – but right now, I am a slave to another person as well as to bureaucracy. Though, no human trafficker, no politician, no fascist will ever break my will for freedom, even if it is going to be hard, really hard. I don’t want to get rich. I don’t care about money. I just want to live a good life”.

He is one of the new partisans. One of those who fight against the spreading fascism every day – like our grandparents did. He will give us the strength to continue resisting.


Alberto Biondo
Borderline Sicilia


*CAS: Centro di accoglienza straordinaria – Extraordinary Reception Center

*CPR: Centro di permanenza per il rimpatrio – Detention and Repatriation Center


Translated by Marah Frech