On 15th July, the activists began the preparations for the Lampedusa film festival by cleaning the beach! Cala Palme, a small beach in the town, is where the fourth edition of the festival will be held. Under a scorching sun, 15-20 people helped clean the beach which was full of rubbish, glass and wood. When that was completed, it was straight on with the cleaning of the rundown Porta d’Europa where the festival is due to start with a commemoration for migrants who have died or been lost at sea.
In the afternoon, activists from Borderline Sicilia, Borderline-Europe, Askavusa, Amnesty International, Integrazione and many other organisations were awaiting the arrival of Oloferne, the boat belonging to boats4people which was due to arrive from Tunisia. After extensive controls by the Tunisian authorities the schooner arrived in the port of Lampedusa. It was almost two hours late and accompanied by the Coast Guard. On board were the French film makers Joel Labat and Nathalie Loubeyre, the Tunisian photographer Sophia Baraket, the b4p coordinator Nicanor Haon, the Italian journalist Alessandra Coppola, Lorenzo Pezzani from Watch the Med (UK), Albert Chaibou from the association Alternative Niger, the lawyers Carmen Cordaro (ARCI) and Samira Gazzaz (Tunisia/ Francia) and the Italian photographer Grazia Bucca. There were also the three crew members and the Captain, who accompanied all those aboard to the Carabinieri to have their passports checked. But this took 2hours- in a port where, at the moment nothing is happening! This should be considered really as a sign of oppression. The Captain finally came back, accompanied by two plain- clothes carabinieri who controlled the boat. It wasn’t until 9pm, that the activists, who had been waiting at the port, were finally able to accompany the crew to have a shower and freshen up. Lorenzo Pezzano from Watch the Med told us over dinner that for part of their journey they were followed by military aircraft.
The Oloferne will remain in Lampedusa until 20th July. On 18th July at around 7pm, there will be a press conference aboard the ship and on the quay by the statue of the Madonna in the old port. The b4p event will conclude on 19th July with a commemoration for the migrants who have died or been lost at sea and the opening of the LampedusaInFestival.
Judith Gleitze, Borderline Sicilia/borderline-europe, Lampedusa