Jumapili jana mimi, Flavio na Abdhul tumepanda kilima cha “Sasso del ferro”, karibu na Laveno. Abdhul anatoka Unguja, kisiwa moja katika Zanzibar. Abdhul amepanda kilima mara la kwanza. Anajua Unguja na Pemba tu, na Dar es Salaam na Mombasa kidogo. Katika Unguja kilima hamna. Amefika UItalia baadaye ya vitu vingi vibaya…
Saturday I climbed Sasso del ferro with Flavio and Abdhul. He’s from Unguja, in Zanzibar archipelagos, the island where people where waiting (=Unguja) ..people where waiting to be embarked on boats to reach south est Asia as slaves. Nowadays slavery has been abolished on the paper, but it is still a reality in many places.
It was the first time for Abdhul to climb a mountain. Abdhul comes from Unguja, a flat coral island, and only knows Pemba, the other Zanzibar island, and very little Dar es Salaam and Mombasa, from where he reached Italy. He came by plane, not by boat through the Mediterranean Sea. But he had already lived the hell before departing. He hasn’t gone to school, he lost his parents, he had to buy his life in a way nobody would like to…side by side the rich lodges for tourists, many Italians, visiting the popular island.
He came here through Norway. He wants to stay in Italy because “baadaye ya miwaka tano, labda kumi,..baadaye”..after some years, maybe 5 or 10, but later, he could go back to his island and work there with dignity, speaking Italian with tourists, hosting them in a guest house.
He is one of the guy you can meet around the street, with his phone. The only contact with his home. Despite the horror he has lived at his place he’s still very attached to it. In Italy it is very rare to find someone speaking Kiswahili. At first he was lost. He doesn’t know any English or French, though he comes from a tourist island. That was not for him. He wasn’t asked to speak.
He didn’t escape from a war, or from famine or religious persecution. He flew something that is the normality for millions people in the world, sad to say. The poverty trap, the new slavery eating your dignity: you have to do anything for survival. He’s here for a better life. The same as me going and working in Tanzania, traveling across the country and enjoying the mountains, the plans, the lakes and the wildlife.
His story is one of the many different or similar stories of people arriving here. Many others have died on the same routes. Many haven’t found the NGOs at their arrival, but for decades they’ve come in the hands of our southern criminal organisations.
It is very difficult to judge the current situation and Italian response. In Italy you can only be “communist or fascist”..too emotional or not at all. But the reality is complicated, as usual. Some people are trying to do their job in a good way, respecting the regulations and human rights. Other people are just taking advantage of the situation as in any other business..and not all the people arriving here from anywhere in the world since decades would deserve to stay and get help… But nobody takes the responsibility to say “this is good and this is bad”, ” we accept people coming for a better life, x amount very year, regularly, etc..”, and when someone does it, he’s called a fascist. But there are two separate issues here, the human traffic and the Italian politics.
We’re 60 millions, we shouldn’t worry about 150,000 people more each year. . If there is enough job for 60 millions, then there is for the others. If we are able to make 60 millions civil citizens, healthy and educated , respecting the rules and the people rights, then it’s not a problem to extend it to another handful of people. So if conditions aren’t good for 60 millions, it is not because of those few people arriving by boat. The migration fad is just for distracting us from the real issues. And from our responsabilities. Stopping the human traffic is a human right and police matter. Making Italy a stronger country for 60 millions and so able to integrate newcomers without much effort is another matter, it is political and it is about competence.