The journeys of hope to those are seeking freedom and find death

Another massacre has been worn a few days ago, in the Channel of Sicily: a boat carrying about 950 people sank tragically, on the night between 18 and 19 April, sixty miles north of Libya.

The public prosecutor of Catania has got to listen to the valuable testimony of one of the twenty-eight survivors of the shipwreck, a young Bengali exhausted and sick. “On board there were about 50 children and more than hundred women – the man with afflicted voice tells – some of them have been locked up in the hold and the traffickers have locked the doors to prevent them from going out”.

The latter, particularly chilling is not new: the outcast, people without rights, the poor, are massed in the lower levels of hulls, in the company of single women and children. They have less than twenty centimeters available, each movement is impossible: most people leave wearing three or four pairs of trousers, obliged to urinate and defecate while remaining absolutely motionless for days. The less fortunate are crammed between the machines and their involuntary gesture, even a momentary muscular rigidity could cause irreparable damage to engines.

Despite the horrible conditions in which hundreds of migrants are forced to deal with an unlikely journey of hope, the costs of the crossing are  very expensive: migrants wish to reach Lampedusa from the Libyan coasts are forced to pay at least EUR 2,600.

The racket of human trafficking earns well over $ 350 million a year to lead the oppressed and desperate people from the country of origin to the lampedusane coasts: traffickers are paid  to transport people across the Sahara and to ensure that they pass easily the Libyan border and then leave for Lampedusa.

As evidenced by the numerous  interviews by psychologists and anthropologists, the fees paid to make the final, most difficult stretch of the crossing, vary depending on ethnicity: the ethnicities considered more wealthy are obliged to pay a sum more substantial but getting more guarantees.

Who do not have enough money, usually North Africans and Bangladeshis,  travel on vessels to be scrapped, led by a volunteer which has a discount on the crossing, with risks greatly more and more time. Sometimes even a shabby boat is a luxury for those who, poor among the poor, does not have enough money: the unfortunate are loaded aboard rubber boats with engines from forty horses  which run regularly after thirty or forty miles of navigation.

Even if it deals with very expensive travels, the unfortunate is not reserved any respect, their dignity is trampled upon without delay and their humanity is hopelessly derided. Women alone are systematically raped by smugglers and border guards; they arrive in Italy pregnant but without being aware. Many of them choose to terminate the pregnancy at the hospitals in Naples, after getting a humanitarian permit.

None of them, however, says nothing to the Authorities about the abuse, even though denouncing the racket would allow them to get a well-deserved protection. Women, often accompanied by traffickers, fear retaliation  of any kind, then they are forced to remain silent. But these women, raped and tortured, are still believed to be the most fortunate: during the frequent journeys of hope hundreds of people find death at sea, soon forgotten by the same fellows who throw their bodies into the sea for more space on board.

An increasing number of bodies crowds the “mare nostrum”, individuals mistreated, humiliated, deprived of any right and quickly sank into oblivion. Their corpses, now food for the many fishes that returned to crowd the Sicilian Channel, will have no burial. Their disappearance will never be lamented: this is just another victim of a system that leaves no other choice, which drives to a desperate escape but almost certainly leading to death.

Italian, European, World population shaken only by large numbers and spectacular events, often forgot that the tragic crossings give  victims everyday and to find a solution is not easy but necessary.

Too often corpses accidentally ended up in fishing nets are thrown back into the sea to avoid a possible intervention of the authorities, too often the mass media have been silent  shipwrecks and disasters that lead to the death of a few men, a handful of desperate people who, apparently, it does not deserve that few, distracted comments.

It must open your eyes, stop turning your back to a sad reality, a tragedy that is consumed within a few miles from our shores. False respectability, humanitarian aids, a few, sparse volunteers are no longer sufficient, or perhaps they have never been.

The deaths of thousands of migrants, desperate to find a future, are silent but harrowing cries for help and the world cannot ignore them. 

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