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Scars on the Sea

Scars on the Sea

You have three feelings when you travel: when you dream it, when you do it and when you remember it. Lampedusa is a place where dreams of men, women and children become true. These dreams full of hopes made these families and these children face a very traumatic trip. A dream that becomes a nightmare through the experience of crossing the desert with means of transport that resemble cattle cars, characterised by sufferings because of  thirst, of  famine, of dangerous marauders, and of the evil Libyan situation with its violence and its hard works. At the end of this list: the sea. And, once arrived at Lampedusa, all memories come out, memories of a traumatic experience, scars that are not recovered and are still impressed in their mind after the disembarkation in Lampedusa.

I have been participating for two weeks to the various activities of Mediterranean Hope on the Isle, including my presence on the jetty during the disembarkations. The institutional reception on the jetties, where many governmental and non- governmental activities are practised, is realized with the help of warm reception of a group of people that are part of an association named “Forum Ethical Lampedusa”. The wanting to give immigrants a very warm and dignified reception is capable to go beyond the formal distance with an hand ready to catch and help them. As one of the members often told me, “reception is a right of those who host, before being a moral duty:  spontaneous and natural motivation is a necessity that people who live in the Isle have inside themselves”. An instinctive action that becomes a political act when the difference from the reception procedures, that are realized at the national and communitarian level, are underlined. This because a worm reception, characterized by hot tea, drinks, thermal covers and a warm “welcome” is already the alternative proof to an only-security model of reception.

The scars of violence, of efforts and traumatic experiences, that mark the body of migrants, leave the indelible sign also inside those people who give reception to them and choose to share a part of their trip together. In this sharing, immigrants find a place where with this sharing they can, maybe just for a moment, find a relief, recover humanity lost during their very long trip, that for many of them is not concluded. I can imagine that the different activities of Mediterranean Hope and of its forum, from the first reception to the ordinary activities of free internet, can give the possibility to these immigrants to review their experience and the memory of the travel. The Internet Point, thanks to which immigrants can communicate with their relatives, holds irreplaceable moments of meeting and sharing. It is the place in which people who have just arrived on the Italian territory can enter into contact with the new context, with the operators and volunteers and can tell their incredible stories. In this place, thanks to a dialogue, the memory of the migrant become to recreate with a new meaning.

Often, an excursion to the sea together is organized because of spontaneity and, with two casseroles and a fridge, that was disembarked with migrants, they organize an afternoon full of music, dancing and singing groups on the beaches of Lampedusa for an explosion of energy without barriers between us and them. With the fast, natural and exciting rhythm, scars of immigrants seem to recover themselves.

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