Published by Mattia Ferrari | 07 / Nov / 2023

The tortures of Libyan camps and our numbed consciences

Articolo Inizialmente pubblicato su “La Stampa” di lunedì 6 novembre 2023.

"We beg you, help us!" is the cry of migrants tortured in Libyan dungeons that is once again reaching the whole of Europe in these hours. Refugees in Libya are circulating new testimonies, complete with videos, of young migrants being tortured and begging for help. Two are girls: Lewam and Mercy, both from Eritrea, both subjected to constant torture in an attempt to extort $12,000 from them. The third is a minor: Kidaneh, held for four months in Libya, where he has been starving. He appears in the video with his hands folded and a small cross around his neck. The prisoners are demanding 7,500 dollars for his release. He is tortured with electric shocks. Another video shows a young man, Kibrom, originally from Ethiopia, screaming under torture. As he screams, 16-year-old Adam is violently beaten. The torturers are demanding $12,000 for him as well. The activists have contacted the authorities in Tripoli to rescue the tortured migrants and have also sent footage to the police, but have received no response.

The cry of these people reaches our conscience. These are not only our brothers and sisters in humanity fleeing wars and injustices in which our countries and economies are involved in various ways, but they are also prisoners of a system that is richly financed by our countries.

The Bani Walid camp where the migrants in these videos are found is under the control of the Department for the Control of Illegal Immigration, which is funded by the European Union despite being run by one of Libya's mafia super-bosses, Mohamed Al Khoja. In addition, many migrants in Libya are in camps because they have been turned back at sea by the so-called Libyan coastguard, which, after capturing them, delivers them into the hands of militias, as the UN report recently denounced. It is Italy that sets up and finances these rejections, on the basis of the 2017 Italian-Libyan agreements, for the drafting of which, as Nello Scavo has shown, Libyan mafia bosses like Bija were brought to Italy. Our responsibility for these tortures is very great. But our consciences seem to be anaesthetised.

Pope Francis denounces: "Indifference kills. The videos released by refugees in Libya contain an explicit plea: "We beg you, help us!". Will we be able to hear this cry and act? A society that closes itself off, that rejects or abandons these people, is chasing a mirage of happiness that it cannot achieve.

We are not a happy society, we are a society in which, as La Stampa recently reported, mental disorders are on the increase, because we are prisoners of an individualist paradigm that deludes us into thinking that we can achieve happiness in competition, in profit, in individual well-being. While there are so many experiences of true welcome throughout Italy, where people are truly happy, those who are welcomed and those who welcome. Because fraternity with the poor, the migrants, the discarded frees us from our mental prisons and restores the beauty of our humanity. The cry that comes from the Libyan camps is therefore not only a request for their salvation: it is a desperate cry for the salvation of all. Accepting this cry is a duty of justice, but it is also the only way to save ourselves.

Photo Credits: Refugees in Libya.

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