The boat, yes, the boat will deliver us, Beloved
We will not speak
My treasure, of what is behind us, the dust and dysentery cramps
The tense stench in the lorry , three days from Asmara to Misrata
You remain the diamond of my life
Yes, I grieve the baby too
A baby girl will come to us in Italy
Abrihet, we will call her
Your feet, my darling, I will wash them
Soft and sweet again, soon, soon
We survived the camp in Misrata
Gathering the Libyan land mines (click link for side story)
We earned our passage
You will have a quiet place to work
Indoors, safe, and regular
You will speak a new language quickly; you are gifted that way
Sunday nights we will gather with friends
Survivors, threshed, like us, from Amsara to Palermo
The boat is burning.
We, five hundred, plunged into the sea.
Hold my hand.
It is not far to the shore.
Hold my hand, my Almaz.
We are together.
Do not unclasp my hand.
Fear is behind you.
I am with you now.
Today, a boat, with five hundred refugees aboard, mostly Eritreans and Somalis, has burned and sunk a half mile off the island of Lampedusa, on its way to Italy. At this writing, only 150 people have been pulled from the water alive. These people have risked their lives to escape the strangling desperation of a fallen country.
Also in the news today, a group in in the American Congress risks sinking a viable country into mayhem. The repugnant contrast in circumstance and views of what is vital to survival could not be more striking.
How do you pilot your boat? Will you let it sink in order to make some extra fares on this passage?
The business of transporting refugees is an ugly business. Captains, of boats and governments: people are depending on you.
Get your passengers to shore.
Reuters story on refugee boat here