Friday, September 12, 2008


There was another tragedy in the Sicilian Channel yesterday morning: at 7 am, an 11-metre boat crammed full of clandestini [would-be illegal immigrants] was spotted by the Maltese authorities off Portopalo. The Italian police and coastguard went to its rescue but already, during a 10-day nightmare voyage, 13 of the 72 passengers had died of dehydration and their bodies had been thrown overboard.
Some of the survivors were in a pitiful state, having suffered bleeding caused by knocking against the frames holding the keel. 2 pregnant women, a 2-year-old child and a man were admitted to hospital.
I am often asked, on this blog, which countries these poor souls come from: in this case I can tell you that they were from Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Their sad voyage began in Libya and they had paid $1000 each for the "privilege" of travelling in this maritime coffin. One of the Nigerian men has said that he was forced to work for the criminal organisation that planned the trip; this may seem far-fetched but I have taught asylum seekers in Britain and know from their stories that such things happen. Many remain traumatised for a long time or have become brutalised by these experiences.
At least I can tell you that, in this case, 3 of the odious people smugglers have been arrested.
Once again, my heart goes out to those without hope and I am thinking about the way in which, through no fault of your own, your life can be destined to be potentially successful or tragic, simply because of where you are geographically in a certain period of history.
My source for this story is the Giornale di Sicilia, which is unavailable online.


Dragonstar said...

This is such a dreadful situation. I have no idea what can be done about it. While there is a market, criminals will grab the opportunity to make money.

SteveS said...

Thanks for the (sorrowful) news, Limoncello - a Wisconsonite, who's heart is in Sicilia

jmb said...

This sad situation never ends.

It is true, isn't it? The luck of the draw. Why are we in a country where we have enough to eat and a good lifestyle and others are born into poverty with no chance of ever succeeding?

CherryPie said...

There seems to be an awful lot of it going on. I am glad they caught the smugglers. The thought of people profiting out of other peoples misery disgusts me!

David said...

Your writing on this is so valuable. Your blog, from its feasts to famines, is excactly what blogging can and should be about. As ever, thank you for sharing.

If I go back to the subject (I covered it a lot in my organized crime book) I will remember these posts.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, dreadful, dragonstar. Hello, steves and welcome to my blog. I'd love to know more about why your heart is in Sicily! Hi, jmb. You are right - there seems to be no end to this tragic situation. The luck - or not - of the draw, indeed. Cherrypie, there are several boats a day like this coming in. Those who profit from such a situation disgust me, too. Davis, thank you so much. your encouragement really helps me.


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