Wars, dictatorships, persecutions. In addition, hunger, famine and death. There are millions of refugees (43, according to data provided by the Unchr, the Top human rights refugee-specialised agency) who are willing to do anything in order to escape from daily horror. Amongst these, 11 million are from Africa and 3.4 million from sub-Saharan Africa.
They bring with them a wealth of memories and hopes, fears and violence. “One night, two men came into the abandoned house on the border between Libya and Tunisia where they had made us lodge before we left to sail – said Blessing, a girl of 18, Eritrean, taken to the reception centre of Lampedusa. We were about 40 and these people, who wore a uniform, picked us up and took us away with force. We were conducted to the uninhabited house where they began to rape me “.
Then there is the story of Paul, 24, who in Nigeria had left parents and his little brother: every now and then they phone each other and it’s his little brother who via whatsapp sends him photos of his city. But there aren’t any selfies to which we are accustomed to in the west, with laughter and seree poses. They are bodies immersed in blood, people killed with the chainsaw, the corpse of a boy with a hole in his chest or what’s left of men burned alive. Horrifying images of the abominations of BokoHaram, which Paul has escaped.
The terrible journey to reach the Libyan coast is narrated by Fatim a 17-year-old Somali, also the victim of abuse. “We started walking from my country-remembers the girl-we were a group of fifty. We crossed the desert in Sudan. Here, the men who led the expedition, asked us to have additional money to continue the journey, which already had been paid for in advance,otherwise they would have left us to die in the desert. Some of us had saved something and we were able to pay, others could not, and any woman who had no money was raped”.
The list of countries is endless from which the migrants flee from: Angola, Burundi, Chad, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan (southern Sudan), Uganda, Yemen. The countries of the Mediterranean area (such as Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, just to name a few) are still an important part of those who try the crossing of the Mare Nostrum. Without a doubt are the Sub-Sahran countries generate the highest number of people on the run. These include Angola, Congo, the Central African Republic and Niger and Nigeria,
The reasons for the exodus? Religious persecution (Isis, Boko Haram) or ethnic in countries like Syria, Iraq, Eritrea and neighbouring countries; instability in Libya. Inland raging civil wars for the control of raw materials, like gold, platinum, diamonds, oil, gas, uranium (it’s large list of so-called Rem, or rare earth materials, available in these countries).
To get to Europe, they mainly land on the Italian coast, the culmination of one of the main routes traveled by African emigrants: one from East Africa and Libya go through Sudan. From west Africa, on the other hand, usually migrants converge in Mauritania and from there head to Morocco to embark for Spain or proceed also to Libya.
For those who have to cross the Sinai desert hell awaits them. It is here that a real human ‘goods’ trafficking initiated from the Rashaida people, a sudanese tribe, exists. They kidnap people for a ransom or sell their kidnapped off to other tribes, the latter Egyptian, who in turn will negotiate the ransom or sell off the”goods” to others who, will buty at a higher price worth at times even thousands of dollars. “When they call to ask for money – Dr. Alganesh Fessaha tells Eritrean, who works for NGOs ‘Gandhi’ and years of their countrymen in difficulty – the prisoners are beaten, they pour water on them, then attached to the current so that electric shock makes them scream more.” The fate of those who don’t have anyone who is able to save them is terrible. They end their days as slaves, forced to work in inhumane conditions in the fields and elsewhere. Or killed for their organs which are sold on the black market in Cairo. Not even children are spared from this.
In this sense, the international community has serious responsibilities, because these people are fleeing from countries where there is no freedom or rights no economy; where religious extremism rules with terror. But everything moves between the indifference of western governments and the ruthlessness of local regimes; the latter, supported not only by America and Europe, but also by Russia, China, both for access to energy sources than for foraging the sale of arms. Therefore, raw materials, arms trafficking, organ trafficking, new slaves: behind the exodus –which often ends in butchery – there is huge business. Hypocritically backed by western governments, who having no interest in intervening in these countries are responsible for creating conditions for forced migration. One, a hundred, or a thousand be killed no longer makes any difference.
Translation provided by Marina Stronati