The Dead No One Notices

For a long time we have the feeling that the dead fail to leave a mark; we are no longer shocked, at least if there are not too many. Yet, with 700 dead people we suddenly awake, we go to the pier just to, then, return to our own life, indifferent to the fact that we are accomplices of those who destroy whole families.

This is the case for Rahel, a sixteen year old Eritrean, who fought her utmost to cling to her short, cruel life just to surrender two days ago. Rahel is one of the victims of this lethal system that was created by Europe and its governments to oppress migrants who arrive in Italy. Rahel arrived in Italy with burns all over her body, and despite her will to live, despite her courage to face the sea, the facilitators, and, finally, Italian and European politics, she finally passed away in quiet. Rahel died alone; without a father or mother, who a sixteen year old would wish to have by her side in times of distress. Life was not a happy one for Rahel: First, we raided her precious and rich country and entrusted bloodthirsty dictators and multinational corporations with it to satisfy our demand for oil and ore, destabilizing a whole region by acting this way. Then, we left her to facilitators who beat and raped her.

The same thing happens to a lot of others, who search for new ways to flee a country we destroyed and handed over to corporations that decide on resources and humans as they like, for which humans are only seen as an obstacle to overcome. Like Solomon, a young Ethiopian, who died trying to find a better life in the streets of Sicily, where he roamed in spite of his poor health. Like Patrick, who, despite of his health status, fights Italian bureaucracy for three years. Like Ibra, who we left alone in a hospital bed, without anyone willing or capable of explaining his health condition to him – at least it was cheaper for the housing management. And should Ibra die, who will care? “Another one will be found, who moves in” for another secured 35€ a day. Like Salam, who is paralyzed, because of the way he was treated in Libya, because his spine got broken. Like Moussa, who hung himself after being sent back from Norway and Germany as a Dublin case, as he did not have the strength to sleep under a bridge in a random Italian city, which is the derisive destiny of a lot of Dublin cases. There is no place for them in the “Centers of Non-Admission”.

This list, that unfortunately is updated every day, can be carried on infinitely as the cases of neglect, exploitation, oppression, and violence towards migrants do not stop, just like the new arrivals. In the last couple of hours 7000 migrants arrived in Italy alone. They flee from the cruelty in Libya, from violence, from beatings, and from abuse to die on sea. 40 is the number of confirmed dead, but as we know, there are many more lost in the sea. 870 people arrived in Pozzallo, 675 in Augusta, 400 in Messina, 320 in Trapani and 1700 on Lampedusa. (For the next hours there are more arrivals scheduled in Palermo.)

For these dead people and for those who will die in the arrival centers and in our cities, abandoned and hidden, there will be no memorial service, no ecumenical prayer, no demonstrations, as they do not cause a sensation, they are not noticed.

The life of migrants counts as long as we have the opportunity to profit from them, otherwise it is of no value. We accommodate them, ghettoize them, just as the law enforcement forces do when they move them from Lampedusa to Porto Empedocle.

Huddled young people in limited space without any opportunity to interact. Why? Surely dangerous, says Salvini, surely it would be better to have bombed the boats before they departed, so that they would not have made it to Lampedusa. To let them die in Africa, so that our nights are more peaceful. Let ISIS do the dirty work and finance the opposing group the next day, just so we do not need to dirty our hands.

We are good in taking possession of other people’s things, we are so good and value the migrants that we do now even name those children born on the sea. Just as in the case of Francesca Marina surely the most fitting name for an African girl – the name her mother would have chosen for her! Now they will talk about Francesca Marina in the newspapers and on TV, talk about the hundredth case of hypocrisy of our “civilized” world, instead of the silent death of Rahel, another death that no one notices.

Alberto Biondo

Borderline Sicilia Onlus

Translation: Annika Schadewaldt