• Sharon Ndalilah Nafula

PORTA DI LAMPEDUSA - DOOR TO EUROPE

We remember our loved ones, people we had been close to, humans we consider to be our legends and heroes, in all sorts of manner. Some burn the bodies of their beloved ones and keep the ashes for remembrance. But what if you do not even get to view your loved one's body? Well, others would opt to light up candles, during ceremonies in memory of the dead. At some point in life, each one of us has to get to those closed gates. Open them, pass through and close them behind him/herself, leaving the pleasures and endless memories of the world to others. It is called death.

Everyone wants a better life, if possible a bright future that could burn more than the close up view of the sun. It just depends on the efforts made. You could dream, you could plan, or you could just get up and do it. Go out there, work hard and sweat, but get to see the worth. Some individuals even get to migrate to other countries just to get better jobs or better lives. Amazing, right? But what if in the process you bump into it. You might not be ready or not have the keys yet, but what if you meet the gates, that open up the end of your life on earth? What would you do? Struggle yes, but nothing really much other than accepting the fact that time’s up. This is what many immigrants face whenever they leave their countries for greener pastures.

Yesterday, 28th June 2018, a monument was erected on a Mediterranean island (Island of Lampedusa) located between Italy and Africa. This was in memory of thousands of illegal African immigrants who perished while attempting to reach European shores to get better lives.

The International Centre for immigration Policy Development (ICMPD), located in Vienna, estimates that about 100,000 to 120,000 migrants arrive in Spain, Italy and Malta through the Mediterranean by boat each year.

It is said that many face death with about 1,000 cases reported by non - governmental institutions, having taken place in 2007.

The monument which had been built in the shape of an enormous door, using refractory ceramics was designed by an Italian artist Mimmo Paladino. The 5 meters high and 3 meters wide monument, that lies 205 kilometers south of Sicily, was named "Porta di Lampedusa - Porta d'Europa". Which means “Gateway to Lampedusa - Gateway to Europe”. It is said that the art piece was inspired and signifies the events of thousands of migrants who tried to overcome difficulties, with the desperate desire to let their feet touch the grounds of Europe.

The reason for coming up with the project was to mark the memory of the last two decades in which thousands of migrants perished while trying to reach Europe often without a burial. This is according to Amani, an Italian Non - Profit Organization which spearheaded the project. Amani organizes projects that offer help and support to benefit African communities.

Now, we could say that the Lampedusa Island is blessed, as much as it could feel sad to visit the Island to view the "Porta di Lampedusa - Porta d'Europa", at least we can say we have a piece of art work for remembrance. They say that in every negative situation, there must be a positive one, let us mark the African immigrants as heroes who we would always have close to us if only we visit Lampedusa.

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