Deaths at sea on migrant routes are not history of the past, but ongoing tragedies. Remembering the Lampedusa massacre means committing ourselves to help, welcome and integrate.

October 3 2022

humanitarian corridor

3rd October - National day in memory of the victims of immigration

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 We all remember 3 October 2013 when a boat sank off the coast of Lampedusa, causing the death of 368 migrants who were on board. It was the first major shipwreck, which shook the conscience of so many. Since then, however, people have continued to die in the Mediterranean.
The number of dead and missing at sea since that day is heartbreaking: 25,652, in less than 10 years.
New routes have been tested, yet such catastrophes are still continuing. It was just a few days ago that 80 people died fleeing Lebanon.
Sant'Egidio keeps alive the names and stories of migrants who lose their lives on perilous voyage to Europe. It faithfully remembers them in the 'Dying of Hope' prayers together with other associations and religious communities in many European cities.
Let the national day in memory of the victims of immigration, established in Italy in 2016, be an occasion to reflect and make urgent choices: rescue at sea must not be stopped, legal routes, such as Humanitarian Corridors, must be created, and those who are migrants must be welcomed. Many who arrive in Italy and receive a welcome, become a resource for our country.
Among the hundreds of stories that could be told, on this occasion we recall that of Tadese, the last person rescued from the shipwreck on 3 October in Lampedusa. That night, a fisherman managed, by taking him by the waistband of his trousers, to hoist him onto the boat and to save his life.

Tadese was born in Eritrea in 1985. He travelled through Ethiopia and Sudan, then he had to stop in Libya. From there he left for Italy on an overcrowded boat - it carried around 500 asylum seekers - in that crossing that passed into history as one of the most tragic in the Mediterranean.

Today Tadese lives in Rome, he works as a carer for an elderly man, and they have rediscovered -living together - the warmth of a family. He likes to call himself a 'new European'. He is engaged in the 'Genti di Pace' movement of the Community of Sant'Egidio and helps other refugees, especially those who are held in Libya, a country where humanitarian corridors have recently been activated.
To those who ask him why he does it, he replies: "Yesterday I was saved, today I have to save others. I could not do otherwise. You can no longer die at sea to escape your country at war'.