Saturday... an entire day just waiting. I haven’t slept since last night.
Praying. Waiting on tenterhooks for a message or a call from my brothers
telling me that they have arrived in Italy.
If it’s like the other journeys they’ve made they should be there today. We
are all waiting for that stupid boat carrying my two young brothers, my
aunts, my uncle's wife, four cousins and a lot of other strangers. When
they all decided to travel they preferred to face the dangers together. My
elder brother will take care of the women and younger cousins.
The telephone hasn’t been back on the hook since this morning with all the
family calling for news. I’ve been on a special Facebook page waiting for
any news of a new refugee boat arriving in Italy. Oh God, how thrilled I
will be to hear that they have got there and how ironic to be happy to read
the word refugee! What an unfair world!
Everyone on board the boat is a victim in this, too. At least according to the
information that I have from all my traveller friends and family. This is
not the first time we have seen illegal immigration carried out in this way.
The boat’s capacity is about 100 people, but the greedy smugglers stuffed it
with 400. That is the horrible reason for the horrifying situations that
take place for the seven days the journey lasts. How terrible it must be. I
can’t imagine how they must feel, sitting or piling onto each other’s laps
with their belongings.
The smugglers always tell the same lies. It’s safe. The boat is big enough.
It’s 19 metres high – stuff like that. But when it comes to reality, and at
the last minute before they get on board, people are shocked by the boat’s
appearance. It’s small, dirty and can hardly float. When some of the
travellers, if I can call them that, change their minds at the last minute,
the smugglers are ready to threaten them.
My cousin told me once that they had threatened them with guns and said they
would not return any money. They also throw bags into the water without
asking their owners. One of my friends who took the trip last month lost her
laptop, clothes and her new mobile. She even told me that human life means
nothing to the smugglers. They see you as their cash cow – they’ll take the
money and treat people like animals
This morning one of my relatives in Egypt made contact with the captain of the
ship by Thuraya satellite smartphone to check on them. The captain was curt
and told him that the waves were very high, the sea very wild and they can’t
go any further. They are very near the Italian shore but they can’t get any
closer and he is not moving an inch.
I am in a panic rush right now. It’s terrible o feel that there’s nothing you
can do. I can picture how they are holding each other, wet, perhaps
freezing. I just can’t take this anymore. A Facebook post said that the boat
had been there since yesterday at noon and asked if anyone could call the
coastguard or the Red Cross to help them.
After a boat sank two days ago we can’t fight off our fears. Mom started
crying. Dad is rubbing his hands in silence.
Waiting ..waiting ..