29 November 2018

An Initiative From Sicily: ‘Psychologists With Migrants”

Taken from LaPrimaPagina.it – At the time of writing, 330 psychologists – all members of the Sicilian Regional Directory of psychologists – have adhered to the movement “psychologists with migrants”, initiated on November 23rd by 200 individuals in accordance with the humanitarian position taken by the Sicilian Regional Order of Psychologists. Stefania Pagliazzo, a psychologist and psychotherapist characterised by solidarity and humanity, represents the initiative.

The movement is asking for a modification of the recent security law in relation to various points on the reception of migrants, points argued to be essential in order to avoid the incrementing of social suffering by the weakest subjects as well as by society more generally, as expressed in the opening part of the document. “’We will remain human’, is not only a guide in approaching the Other: it is above all a desperate plea regarding the risk of inhumanity within ourselves. The activation of the so-called ‘security decree’ represents the latest step in rendering this risk concrete and, unfortunately, irreversible. Many of our colleagues who work in the region are daily reporting dramatic situations. ‘Thanks’ to this law-decree, migrants who have till now been hosted in the reception centres will no longer have any form of protection or assistance, neither medical nor psychological, but will instead by literally thrown into the street: women who have already been traumatised by the hell they have passed through, children in disturbed states – people who are sick and scared, abandoned to themselves. This is currently taking place!”

The organisers feel the need to inform the public – as the press release states – “as citizens and as psychologists, as Sicilian and as Italians.” “Sicily is in the first line of reception. For years work has been carried out to build hope and integration in a zone that knows the stories of migration and discrimination all too well. As psychologists we often participate in projects and debates, including in schools, to support integration and inclusion in different walks of life. We have attempted to educate young people about this attitude, with a view to preventing social unease of future conflicts. But the message that is now arriving at young people through political choices such as the “security decree” is clearly in opposition to the goals we are attempting to achieve. The message now is the praising of the negation of rights, the derecognition of the suffering of others, the destruction of respect for differences, for solidarity, for curiosity regarding other cultures.”

The Sicilian psychologist’s document is not only directed at the government but also at the National order of psychologists, asking that it “takes a public position on this dramatic issue, and finds an appropriate form to maintain the integrity of our profession in relation to those who are suffering. We need to feel represented in a clear and strong way by an institution that can represent our civil rebellion against those who are disseminating hatred for the weak and those who would add suffering to the wounded.”

“The Sicilian psycholgists’ initiative” – Dr Stefania Pagliazzo adds – “is finding agreement and solidarity among colleagues across Italy, including the President of the Order of Pyscholigists in Sardinia, including the adoption of messaging in line with the Sicilian one. The goal is to form a joint appeal from the regional Orders that adhere to the national one.”


Project “OpenEurope” – Oxfam Italia, Diaconia Valdese, Borderline Sicilia Onlus

Translation by Richard Braude

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