Lampedusa (NEV), October 4, 2018 – The president of the FCEI Pastor Luca Maria Negro said “We need to keep alive the memory and the focus of our ountry, Europe and the world” during the ecumenical commemoration of October 3rd at the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Porto Salvo in Lampedusa. Insisting on the importance of commemorate all together to condemn, Mr. Negro said: “Woe betide us if we forget October 3rd, woe betide us if we forget the victims and tragedies of the sea. We refuse this logic and the laws that support it. We are calling for legal solutions”.
Silence and recollection, pain and condemnation characterised the commemoration, organised by the FCEI and the Parish of San Gerlando, at the end of a day that is full of people and memories. In the square in front of the sanctuary Protestants and Catholics, people from Lampedusa and migrants gathered together to remember the 368 victims of the shipwreck of October 3, 2013 and the victims of all borders. The commemoration, organized by the operators of the FCEI under the Mediterranean Hope (MH) – Refugee and Migrant Programme, together with the parishioners, was enlivened by the pictures of Francesco Piobbichi and the music of Pierpaolo Berta and Elisa Biason.
Among the speakers, Vito Fiorino the first one to reach the place of the tragedy, the first to rescue the survivors, the one who shared the story of that dawn surrounded by some survivors.
“If we turn a blind eye and learn a false nursery rhyme that says, ‘let’s help them at home, they take our jobs away, we cannot keep them all here’. If we make decrees on immigration full of rancour and hatred that hinder reception, our life is lost, and God chooses them” said Maria Bonafede, member of the FCEI Council and pastor of Waldensian church. Shortly thereafter, a young Eritrean man talked about his “second birth” after the shipwreck, claiming for legal action to free people from the Libyan hell” and thanking those who saved him from the waters by pulling him on board from his trouser’s belt.
Don Luca Camilleri from the diocese of Agrigento read part of the statement of the last Sicilian Episcopal Conference that was held on September 20 2018 and refers to the initiative Welcomig Europe We Are a Welcoming Europe to “decriminalize solidarity, create safe passages for refugees, protect victims of abuse and violations and guarantee access to justice”.
The FCEI delegation of the island visited the Molo Favaloro where MH operators and volunteers welcome the survivors rescued at sea, presenting themselves as brothers, with their bare hands, with a cup of tea, a cover and a smile. In the cemetery of Lampedusa, the group visited the nameless tombs and those whose names and identity were recovered thanks to the work on memory, while in the afternoon, they welcomed the Astral the vessel of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms supported by the FCEI, which was off the coast of Lampedusa to bring homage to the National Day in memory of the victims of immigration.