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When I took my commitment to work in a border land, I thought that the most serious problem to face would be mafias and widespread violence. Instead not. For two years there is a history of oppression against the Riace experience and it started when a person from Reggio Calabria was Minister of the Internal Affairs.
Marco Minniti summoned me to the Ministry, but I didn’t meet him physically. It was an insensitive gesture. They decided the destiny seated at a table: Riace had to end up that way.
While we operate for solidarity and humanity spaces, others works in their offices with oppressive strategies, to determine mortifying results.
While applying as secretary of the Democratic Party, Marco Minniti said: “I am for Riace, I am on the side of his mayor”.
I’d like to understand the meaning of those words. At that time, the judicial authority should have asked him why, acting as Minister of the Internal Affairs, he was making agreements with the clan leaders of Libya to shut people in.
He started fighting the NGOs, the humanitarian organizations and those projects that in any case were giving hope, transmitting the idea that migrants’ reception was not a problem. What happened to Riace could take place in many other sites, not only in Calabria but in the all Europe. So, why does he say those words one year later?
Obviously he does it for propaganda, because he searches political spaces, although he certainly contributed to oppress the Riace experience. I presume that Minniti knew everything when the blockade of funds was arranged to our Municipality, when the public prosecutor was investigating. And he didn’t say anything, he didn’t do anything. So, it means that one year ago we were doing nothing so serious, otherwise he would have to denounce it publicly.
It’s interesting to analyze these words since they indicate that Minniti was perfectly aware that there was nothing serious in Riace.
As a Minister he paved the way to the current drift of our society, to the Salvini decree that we can define the “decree of inhumanity” and that has already produced its effects. Just see what happened in Crotone: due to the fact that those having the humanitarian protection can no longer stay in the Sprar shelters, several people were abandoned on the street. Among them even a little child of six months. What’s the point? What are we talking about? That is a Ministry of inhumanity. No doubt.
But I hope it’ll be possible for Riace to be again the place for a possible dream. In the meantime, I have been investigated for two offences, including aiding illegal immigration. We had so many people in Riace when they made the Minniti-Orlando decree to reduce the possibility of using the refusal from the commissions for the recognition of refugee status.
There were a lot of Nigerian boys who had not received a single denial but two (it was no longer possible to have three, as before).
They didn’t want to come back to their home countries, where they left a hell. Probably they were indebted for their whole lives looking for a solution. It’s true, some of them would have married to get the certificate and therefore the residency permit for family reasons. I only celebrated a wedding and, if I did something, it’s because I saw in their eyes the horror for coming back to their countries.
This can never be considered as an agreement with the clan leaders of Libya to prevent people from arriving in Italy. Simona (Simona Maggiorelli director of the weekly Left ndr) has named Becky Moses, the Nigerian girl victim of such inhuman policies. Her request for asylum had been denied but she didn’t think to marry and the only solution to her life was to move to the tent city of San Ferdinando in the plain of Gioia Tauro. On January 26th she died burnt alive, trying to warm up because it was cold that night.
Who are the responsible? Why was there no trial, no investigation? Which is the value of human life?
Moreover, I was also accused of giving false ID cards. Even Becky arrived at the Municipality to renew her document lost on the bus on December 23rd 2017 and I redid it. A few days later she died. For a strange coincidence, that ID card with my signature remained on the ground, close to her burnt plastic tent. I’m proud I did that ID card.
In the same area, a short distance from Riace, a boy fought for the union rights of the day labourer engaged in the plain of Gioia Tauro. He died last June. Today some people says: “We have to do justice with our own hands”. So, someone decided to kill Soumaila Sacko, because he tried to steal a piece of sheet metal to slide the water off the roof of his hut. Soumaila Sacko was killed.
These young people come to Italy to live and we make them die.
In early December, another 18 years old boy died burned alive in the tent city of San Ferdinando. Do you realize? The same people who have been so attentive to all the bureaucratic aspects, those checking even the lack of a stamp, they caused the closure of the Riace experience and of my personal judicial situation. They inflicted mortifications to my soul and those same people are now running the centre of San Ferdinando.

From the intervention of Mimmo Lucano at the Palladium Theatre in Rome, on 20th December 2018, during the evening of launching of the candidacy of Riace to the Nobel Peace Prize 2019. 
Event promoted, among others, by Left, Re Co Sol and VIII Municipality of Rome. To join the campaign: www.left.it

Traslated by Carla Gentili

 

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