No return

by Luca Catalano Gonzaga

Immigration is not a first class journey but a necessary escape from poverty or war. Looks lost in the void, dead bodies, broken voices. The individual stories of those who decide to sail from the Mediterranean Sea are carved on the faces of 1.250 migrants who in the first weeks of June 2017 were escorted by the Italian Coast Guard crew, in co-operation with the Swedish one, within a European mission. All come from Sub-Saharan Africa (Burkina Faso, Mali, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Sudan, Congo, Somalia, Ivory Coast), some have been travelling for days, others for months. Some people even took over a year to reach Europe. The sightings take place a few miles from the Libyan coasts, then the rescue phase begins, at night, in the dark, or during the day, under the burning sun. The dinghies are approached, the migrants transported to the “Ubaldo Diciotti” ship and arranged on the aft deck, wrapped in thermal blankets. Operators provide the first medical care, especially to women and children, they distribute water bottles keeping an eye to detect to the most dehydrated first, comforting the most frightened ones. A few meters away there are also small boats with men on board who discreetly observe the rescue operations. They could be traffickers pretending to be fishermen. They are often intercepted and checked. Any information can be useful to stop this global trafficking of men, women and children that has turned the Mediterranean into a real cemetery. The photos by Luca Catalano Gonzaga were taken in June 2017 on board the “Ubaldo Diciotti” ship and constitute another significant part of the project Sea gives, sea takes  the narration of the collective epic of migrants and a testify to humanity and humility of the crew of the Italian Coast Guard (text by Sebastiano Caputo).

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