21 September 2012
Palermo, march in memory of the Mediterranean victims
From Redattore Sociale – A composed and silent procession in Palermo organised by the associations which make up the AntiRacist Forum. Imed Kamoun, Bilel’s brother- one of the many missing from the sinking which took place two weeks ago, states: “We are asking you to look for the 77 missing.”
PALERMO- The procession was composed and silent. It was a way of saying “this is enough” for all of the victims who have drowned in the Mediterranean while chancing their luck crossing over to Italian shores. Joining the Tunisian voices, all of the associations belonging to the Palermo AntiRacist Forum were united in their cries of pain and protest. They requested greater clarification of the tragic events which occurred on 6th September. Among the leaders of the procession was the figure of Imed Kamoun, who was carrying a big black mourning banner. His brother Bilel is amongst the missing.
Imed Kamoun is married to a German woman who he met in Tunisia. He lives and works in Hamburg. He has been in Palermo for a week to raise the profile of the disaster and ask the government to continue with it search for those missing at sea.
The protesters had numerous banners with the words “Stop the disasters in the Mediterranean” written on them in Italian and Arab. The march departed from the small touristic port and continued until Piazza Politeama.
Following this recent tragedy, the families of the missing Tunisians descended on the main square in El Fahs to claim their rights and demand information about their loved ones. There have been further initiatives in Tunisia and also in France to raise public awareness and commemorate the disaster, but they have not resulted in any positive outcomes.
Out of the 136 Tunisians aboard the boat which sank on 6th September near the island of Lampione, 3 bodies have been found and 77 are still missing.
The 57 survivors have provided accounts of the disaster. Reports state that the boat set sail from Tunisia. Yet it still remains unclear what has happened to the missing.
They join the already long list of those who have died in the Sicilian Channel between January and September 2012, bringing the figure to 270.
The figure for those reported missing or dead in the whole of the Mediterranean throughout the same period is 464. While the figure for 2011 is 2,352.
“What actually happened on 6th September still remains unclear,” said Imed Kamoun. “I am therefore asking the government to continue looking for my brother and for all of those who are missing. The tragedy occurred and the boat sank. My brother wanted to go to Italy, but unfortunately, he was unable to find a legal means of entering your country.”
“It is clear that even this year, many people are continuing to die in their attempts to reach Italian soil,” added Judith Gleitze from the association Borderline. “We believe that the Fort which Europe has come to be with all of its restrictive measures, is, in some way, contributing to these tragedies.”
“In recent years, European politics has imposed judicial borders in the common space of the Mediterranean,” said Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo. “The most recent agreements between Italy and the new governments in Tunisia and Lybia offer no departure form the restrictive politics of the previous agreements. Search and rescue teams are only sent out when the migrants are on our doorstep. In Tunisia, we know that corruption is making a significant comeback to the political arena, leaving many people hungry and incapable of being able to make a living. Unfortunately, the tragedies are continuing and I think that this is mainly due to the fact that there is no legal entry for these people into our country. It is necessary to create conditions of entry other than boat crossings, for even though they have reduced, they still continue and the outlook that awaits the migrants who do manage to arrive is very bleak.”