"For immigrants from the Open Arms, Lampedusa is what New York was for the Italians"
The tourist life in Lampedusa is not interrupted at all by the news. At the end of the day, the Italian island shines for its nightlife full of locals and music and
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The tourist life in Lampedusa is not interrupted at all by the news. At the end of the day, the Italian island shines for its nightlife full of locals and live music.
The situation of the reception center, positioned inside the island, remains stable. Immigrants from the Open Arms rest after 19 days adrift. Some have never seen the sea. Others try to forget the abuses in Libya. Tunisians are the ones who speak the most in the immediate vicinity of the reception center: "We are well, we are well," repeated Ali, a 22-year-old Tunisian, landed by the Coast Guard on the Favaloro pier. He does not speak English, but some Italian: "I had to go back," he explains with his friend who accompanies him. " I have always gone in this direction [the right one], but then I have lost myself. I have not found the town and I have turned backwards, " he says with his head down and with some trouble.
The authorities are flexible so that immigrants leave through an opening in the northern area of the reception center , so that they can walk through the streets of this island. It is almost impossible to escape from it, if it is not with external support. As confirmed by the Italian Government, the official capacity of the reception center is 97 people. Giovanni, cook, says that these days he is preparing "237 cutlery". Usually prepare "pasta with peas and tomato" first and "breaded steak with potatoes" as second. For dinner, "white rice" first and "vegetables" as second: "They eat well and are calmer. It's been a very difficult day."
"In this phase, immigrants will gradually find themselves better," explains Alessandro Dibenedetto, a psychologist at the Italian NGO Emergency who attended immigrants aboard the Open Arms. " The biggest risk is that, in the slightest gesture, someone remembers a traumatic event ," he explains. "The simple fact that a man takes off a T-shirt, for a woman may involve the memory of rapes in Libya." Many fear "having to be returned to Libya, which for them is synonymous with torture and death."
"If I have to be honest, I have never seen an immigrant here in Lampedusa," Nadia admits with her boyfriend Daniele, both 42, at a location on Via Roma, the only commercial avenue in Lampedusa. " It's the second time we come on vacation and it's simply wonderful, perfect for fun and rest ." Regarding the immigration issue, Nadia confesses that "however Italy cannot be a country without law on this issue," it is true that "it can teach a lot with its past." "I think Lampedusa, for immigrants, represents what was then New York for the Italians in the 20s ."
"The average Italian might think, from the outside, that they leave! Without more. Then you take a boat trip and you feel very sorry. Nobody forces them to come, but it is not fair to leave them on purpose either, " explains Matteo, tourist 25-year-old Bolognese, strolling along the Favaloro pier with his girl, Arianna, after seeing the Open Arms up close. And they conclude: "Italy has become a strange country." Andrea, the 19-year-old from his motorcycle, explains: "It does not always happen, but sometimes, when they meet near the church square, they discuss each other and throw beer bottles," Andrea explains. And he adds: " There are townspeople who take it into account when they despair ." Sometimes, immigrants ask journalists for money to buy a packet of tobacco.
The media closely follow the position of Ocean Viking, the humanitarian ship of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) that is less than 100 kilometers from Lampedusa with 356 immigrants on board after 14 days aimlessly . Two days ago, taking advantage of the drawing that leaves its route on the sea maps through the GPS signal, the Ocean Viking sailed a good part of the morning of this Wednesday to draw a heart. The same is a sign.
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