One of my writing prompts today was to "write about a voice." Here's what I think.
There is a collective voice of silenced, desperate souls crying out for rescue, dignity, and life. It is the voice of the Eritrean refugees trapped in Italy. They risked their lives crossing the Sahara, fleeing from Libyan traffickers, and sailing the Mediterranean Sea, only to land in Italy to begin a merry-go-round nightmare of processing and registration. Being fingerprinted and registered, they are place in refugee camps temporarily before they are set out onto the street.
Those that made the trip with documentation intact find jobs and move on with their lives. Those that barely arrived with their lives, let alone anything else wander lost throughout the city, looking for work, food, a home, some semblance of human dignity. Sadly, they don't find it - they have been stripped of all humanity. They are nameless, homeless, outcasts that aren't to be touched by the "real people" that surround them.
They are illegal and leprous in their social effect. None dare help them for fear of retribution. They are immediately reported, arrested, sent back to Rome, re-fingerprinted, re-registered, re-dehumanized. There is no breaking their tortured cycle of unwanted-ness. The Italian government will not help them, but does not allow them to leave because they are paid by the United Nations each time they are registered again. The Eritrean refugees in Italy have become the government's own little human trafficking sideline.
There's a voice crying out in the dark streets of Rome - do you hear it? And do you have the courage to help them? Go to liveitonline.org/ciaoblog to read the stories, see the faces, and donate to give the voices a sound and the hearts a hope.