The battle of Lampedusa part 2

We have recently been following the case of Lampedusa, in apprehension of some hundred Tunisians, who have been illegally restrained, brutally massacred and unfairly repatriated to Tunisia. This has been happening for months, many Italians remain indifferent and the media inept- they are capable of covering the daily news without ever looking at the origin of the case and the consequences they could have. What has been seen happening in Lampedusa isn’t normal, at least not for a civil democratic country.

hostility towards journalists and activists shown by security forces is
synonymous of an ill system in which no one monitors the authorities anymore.
The anger of the Lampedusans that turned into hatred towards the immigrants is,
instead, the beginning of a war that will be fought inside the same
civilization. Because
there isn’t a separateTunisian
civilization and a Lampedusan one, instead there is a unique Mediterranean civilization. There is no other place like Lampedusa that senses how the culture war is a ploy of present communication. The exacerbation of political tones, that makes the debate meaningless and infinite, has completely removed us from the general trend. In this situation, the same people always take
advantage. The latest exuberated and profiteering politicians who will be
judged by history. Elsewhere, those who seem to be the victims of the story are
raising their heads and fighting to take back their freedom. Perhaps it is true, perhaps the Tunisians disembarking at Lampedusa are fighting a battle. They have decided to confront the enemy empty handed, with their bodies and faces uncovered. Their battle is cultural. To knock down a definition, a concept: the idea of a border as we know today.

unaware of what they are doing, they are attacking the same essence of
modernity and the rule of law. It is not
a war invoked by the mayor of Lampedusa, Dino De Rubeis. The Lampedusans won’t
“save” Lampedusa like this.

It is not them, from whom
they must defend themselves. Rome,
the government and ministries, reports from news broadcasts and newspapers. It’s them who have created a climate of war and fear towards the Other. Lampedusa is “the extreme edge of Italy in arms”, just like the
monument to remember the fallen states, overhanging the port of the island.

The border that becomes the confine, militarized up to the teeth.

and training camp for the war that will follow later. The one that was infected
by the allergy of the Arab spring will fight against us. Those tired of living
without a prospective future in a mediocre country. Those from the South, who
go to the North and then go abroad. The young who stay young until they reach
the age of 50 and those who live on work experience and voluntary work. What
would happen if they let us speak with them? What would happen if we could
understand that our stories are just like those of the young Tunisians? What
are they scared about?

days Lampedusa has been an example of what could happen in Italy at any
given time.

have seen the men from the Finance Police go around dressed in very trendy
uniforms. There was a t-shirt with writing on the right sleeve “G8 2001, I was
there” and one was even more particular with “mercenary” written on the

journalists have been forbidden to carry out their work correctly. Lampedusans
and security forces have stopped them from speaking with around 300 Tunisians,
who were having a peaceful sit-in in town, intimidating and even assaulting the
cameramen and photographers.

The images that are circulating are passed for a double check before and after the event.
The only people who have filmed and photographed everything are the police.

The meticulous selection has eliminated the parts that show the faces and the manners of the Lampedusan assaulters. We haven’t seen the scenes of men in uniform from “Lampedusa Accoglienza”,
organization that provides services inside the Contrada Imbriacola Centre, hitting the Tunisians with clubs, poles and stones. Furthermore the reports of newspapers sought out and wanted only the bloodier images, “those where the Tunisians attacked the Lampedusans”, where there is “a
boy with a lighter in his hand trying to explode the gas cylinders”. Images
that should not have been taken because things unfolded differently.
We have seen visible signs of abuse and violence
against the Tunisians
who left Lampedusa
after the tension on 21st September.
We saw them in a single queue with two police officers, who accompanied
them towards a plane and then a ship. Nobody had the opportunity
to ask them how they could have broken their legs or arms. The transfers and even repatriations go ahead, buried under the sand. The irregularities and abuses would not have
been followed up. At least this is how the blind bats governing
us and those following orders think, without worrying about laws anymore. They do not know that what has happened in Lampedusa
not only won’t stop the landings, the ports of Tunisia are full of people waiting to leave, but there is the serious risk of sparking violence
against Italians in Tunisia. What
would happen if the Tunisians started hating and attacking
upon sight? The businesses, the companies,
the Italian residents
in Tunisia, the hundreds
of families with Sicilian origin in the neighbourhood of ‘Le petit Sicilie a la-Goulette’
what would they say to their neighbours,
colleagues and Tunisian
workers? Can Italy allow all this to happen? The waste of money and the consequences this kind of political stance on immigration could have between the countries, should make us reflect in the long term.

The job of a journalist is to recount the facts by speaking to people and by going to see with their own eyes, and to show humankind. This is how we got to know Mahdi a 19 year old student in his last year of “Scientifico” (Science-based
Secondary School).
Mehdi comes up from between the crowd smiling and repeats a couple of times: “choose a number, choose a number”…(The game goes like this: choose a number and multiply it by 2. add X
and divide by 2, at this point subtract the
number you chose at the beginning and the result will be ½ of X ). Mehdi has a brother, who has lived in Legnano with the family, the sister has lived in Nice for 15 years. He dreams of going to live with his sister and attend the Faculty of Mathematics at the University there. He swears that if he is repatriated to Tunisia he will try and return to Europe 100 times again. This is his battle.

Alessio Genovese