International Migrant Day 2015

Imagine (but really imagine it!) that the city in which you’re living – for example Rome, Naples, Milan or Florence – is under siege by unscrupulous fundamentalist forces (if you have grandparents, you could learn from them what it means to live in times of war).

Imagine that in a few months these bad men are able to occupy all the centers of power through bombs, beheadings and rapes. Imagine that the place where you go to work every morning becomes the base for some crazy fundamentalist and your office becomes the perfect place for executions, beheadings and experiments.

Imagine that in a Thursday morning you decide to go to the market to buy food, clothes … and they (the fundamentalists) decide suddenly, to blow up a bomb. Yes, to blow up a bomb in your favourite market.

Imagine that you take the bus to get around in the city and that a group of bad men go up on the bus, change the destination, and they steal money from people on the bus.

Imagine that you have to live with the curfew, imagine that you can’t express yourself freely, to study on books that you don’t choose.

Imagine that you want to have a family or you have just married or you already have children, or you would to like to have children.

Imagine that you want a better future. For you and your family. So, probably, you try resist as long as possible with hard work and sacrifice.

You collect as much money as possible. You will try to escape from a city that is destroyed.

You want to go away from a place where there are beheadings, constraints, where there is no freedom, no future for you and your children.

So what do you do?

Imagine that you entrust yourself with smugglers.

You know that they are criminals … but they are the only chance left for you and your family.

You accept everything.

On a rubber raft you cross the sea. Imagine that you want to get to Spain. But, imagine also the journey, the endless days without food or water. Imagine that your son / cousin / friend / brother has diabetes but the smugglers throw the backpack into the sea. Imagine also that this child dies because he didn’t have medicines and imagine the sense of helplessness in these circumstances.

You have to imagine these things, really imagine.

Imagine that you arrive on the mainland. Imagine that you arrive in France rather than Spain. And you would like to inform your relatives at home, reassure them, but as soon as you found a phone, you see some men (the locals) who scream and protest at the entrance of the center where you are.

You don’t understand. You try to ask what’s going on. Then, they say they are against you. Again, you don’t understand.

Imagine you are transferred to another place in order to have a place to sleep or a bathroom, or to have a place to stay. They make you get on a bus. But on the way you see the clashes between the police and the locals.

For a moment you imagine that you are back to your country, you don’t feel welcomed. Nostalgia, gloominess, and despair takes over you because you realize you can’t find a place in the world where there is PEACE.


Of course, the policy of welcoming and organizing are difficult to handle, but no one, NO one can afford to say that anybody coming from the circumstances of war and desperation are not welcome because we Italians have already our own problems. Perhaps this is not clear. You should not act out of charity because you think that these persons are inferior to you and you should help them. You should not drive them away because they are not worthy of protection only because they are not Italians.

They are brothers, people like us, with the same rights, with the same duties. These principles has nothing to do with politics (right wing or left wing).

You want to protest because they will be moved in a center near your home? Please, tell me who are you to say that this man, or this woman has the right or not to stay in one place?

Tell me, what have they really taken away from you? I would like to hear your personal experience. Not just stories you have heard or read.

Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Article 5 – Right to liberty and security

Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty …

Article 14 – Prohibition of discrimination

The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

Maria Teresa Abbagnale
Law Student, La Sapienza University
Original text in Italian


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *