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PRESS RELEASE: Memorial to Migrants Who Died At Sea

Amani, Arnoldo Mosca Mondadori, Alternativa Giovani and Koinonia Community wish to launch a proposal to the Italian society and the European institutions with regard to the realization of a memorial for migrants who have lost their lives at sea over the years.

Every day, dozens of migrants try to reach our country and the rest of Europe. Each year, hundreds of them die in this attempt, and over the years, these deaths have totaled into thousands and thousands. According to the victim’s observatory of Fortress Europe, 10,376 people died along our European borders between 1988 and October 2007. It is a massacre without witnesses or criminal charges, and very often without burial, as the vast majority of the victims die at sea and their bodies are never recovered. Even for the worst migrant shipwreck, which killed 283 people off the coast of Porto Palo, Sicily, on Christmas Eve in 1996, no one wanted to pay for the recovery of the bodies even though the wrecked ship was found. Therefore, it is also a merciless massacre.

The migrants come from the South and from the East towards Italy. They come to tend to our elderly people, look after our children, clean our houses, serve us our meals, wash our dishes, pick up our rubbish, keep our handicraft and farming industries running and our livestock growing, and to assure a future for our production facilities and services. They bring with them their work force, energies, humble minds and a great willingness to change: they come to us to better themselves. They also bring youth and a new strength to our aging society, are available to carry out tasks we don’t want to perform anymore, and bring us a new hope for the future. They come to us to rescue us.

The massacre of these migrants on our borders is a price paid for our lack of preparation, our incomprehension and indifference towards a phenomenon of epochal proportions. It is for this reason that we think that a memorial to these migrants can be seen, not as compensation, but as an acknowledgment of their sufferings, for which we are partly responsible.

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