About the deaths that occur every day in the Mediterranean sea, Italians and Europeans hear so much every day. But, only today, as never happened before, Italians and Europeans are discussing a lot about it. Maybe the 366 bodies of women, children, boys and men found off the coast of Lampedusa a year and a half ago were not enough to speak of ‘emergency’, not only Italian. Governments and politicians needed to see something more, as happened in the night between last Saturday and Sunday (19th of April), to understand the seriousness and the indifference in respect to the problem of immigration through the sea.
We only hear numbers about immigration. Uncertain numbers. Initially the institutions talked about 700 dead, including women and children. Now, after the testimony of a survivor to the transparent hell, mass media communicate the presence of about 950 people on board the doomed ship. Today, 24 bodies have been recovered from the water. The survivors are only 28. 24 is also the number of the drivers of these hell’s boats arrested this morning, for a total of 1002 arrests carried out by Italian policemen.
1002, 700, 950, 24, 28: numbers. Until now, numbers are the only things we know about this creepy and upsetting phenomenon. But .. Who knows the reasons? What is there behind the plan of these drivers who more people lead to death and more seem to be satisfied? What is there behind these migrants’ huge risk just to set foot on European soil? Ignorance, survival instinct or desire of change? With these questions on my mind I want to tell you the story of Amamuel. He arrived in Italy on one of the many boats of the death. Although many of his compatriots do not save themselves through the long trip, Amamuel touched the Italian sand and his eyes still shine.
Amamuel: an ex Eritrean soldier in search of happiness
“I live in Italy since nine months. At the moment I have not had the documents I need. I would like to marry me”. Amamuel is a former soldier from Eritrea. He worked hard for his country, but now, in Eritrea sees no hope or future for him and for his family. He arrived in Italy escaping from the war and with a dream: the marriage. Although it has already been nine months since he made the first request to have the necessary permits, Amamuel has not lost hope, and in his eyes you can see a glimmer of faith.
“It is not easy to get permits. The Italian institutions are slow to issue the documents, but I believe they will issue them to me”, he says.
He is 28 years old and is a former soldier. He arrived in Italy in October of the last year and his permit, to which he aspires to, should have been issued after 35 days of his request.
Amamuel can be considered, however, a lucky boy. “Usually who comes from Eritrea or Somalia always gets permits for international protection – explains the coordinator of the Arci Bari immigration office, Musie Wosen Tessema – because those are war zones”. Less fortunate are, however, those who arrive in Italy and request permission for economic reasons, which is issued only in cases of family reunification, and so, almost never.
Amamuel would like to bring his girlfriend and his three years old baby in Italy. “In my city there is war. My wife and my son are in danger. I wish I could stay close to them”, says with tears in his eyes.
The boy, before arriving in Bari, lived in Croton in a guest immigration center, where he stayed together with nine other compatriots. “Even though we came from the same reality, I argued many times with other Eritreans”, he says, adding: “Bari is more hospitable and more tolerant than Croton. When I was in Croton people often said me “Black shit”. For now, in Bari, this kind of situation has not happened yet”.
Amamuel would like to find a job in Italy. “I would look for a farmer. In Eritrea I worked a year in a farmland”. To the question if he would return to his country, he answers: “I wish. My country is my home. If the war would finish, I lived there with my family and all my relatives”. He has a brother who is graduating and a younger sister who is studying in high school. His girlfriend is twenty-six years old and she is attending the University. She only made a few exams because she must take care of the baby”. Now my child is almost three years. When I left Eritrea, he was just two. I’d love to see him again. Who knows how he will be grew up. “
Telling his story, Amamuel reveals much nostalgia and emotion. Leave a son, a future wife and a family to give them a better future is not for everybody. Leave home for a dream is something for brave people. Amamuel has courage to spare. He walks with his head high, his black skin in the sun shines. And when I ask him: “But when someone insults you, what do you say?” he laughs.
Read the Italian article: https://chiaraburatticb.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/dalleritrea-con-un-sogno-sposarsi/