Lampedusa mayor angered by failure to give boat disaster victims state funeral

Mayor expresses sadness that hundreds who died will get memorial service in Sicily instead of funeral promised by PM The mayor of Lampedusa has said she is "extremely saddened" by the Italian government's failure to hold

Mayor expresses sadness that hundreds who died will get memorial service in Sicily instead of funeral promised by PM

The mayor of Lampedusa has said she is “extremely saddened” by the Italian government’s failure to hold a state funeral for the hundreds of Eritreans who died at sea off the island’s coast earlier this month.
Italy‘s interior ministry has announced that, contrary to a declaration made by the prime minister, Enrico Letta, in the immediate aftermath of the 3 October disaster, the at least 364 victims will be given a memorial ceremony on Monday – with the presence of government representatives but none of the dead.
Instead of being held on the Mediterranean island, which has seen more than 13,000 migrants and potential refugees arrive on its shores this year, the ceremony will take place in the seaside town of San Leone on the main island of Sicily. The dead have been buried in various cemeteries on the bigger island.
“I am extremely saddened that this commemoration, even though it is belated and for bodies which have already been buried, is not being held in Lampedusa,” the island’s mayor, Giusi Nicolini, told La Repubblica, saying she would not be attending Monday’s ceremony as she had an appointment in Rome with the Italian president.
“My community does not deserve to not be involved and to be made to fit in with a decision already taken. I have said it before: if they had told us they would be taking away the coffins, we would have arranged for these people to have if not state funerals at least national funerals,” she added.
Nicolini had made clear her anger at the authorities’ failure to keep their promise on Tuesday, when she tweeted that she had “casually learned”that bodies taken from Lampedusa in coffins were being buried in several different cemeteries “without funerals”. When visiting Lampedusa after the disaster, Letta said the victims would be given state funerals – an announcement that was however later modified to “solemn funerals”.
An interior ministry spokesman said this week the bodies needed to be buried swiftly “for sanitary reasons”. The minister for integration, Cécile Kyenge, said the authorities had faced many bureaucratic and logistical difficulties in the process of identifying the dead and fulfilling their families’ requests.
In the absence of a unified plan, some Sicilian locals have taken it upon themselves to give the victims a dignified farewell.
On Thursday, in the town of Valledolmo, five coffins brought to the local cemetery were met by local authorities and given a proper funeral as a sign of “human solidarity to those who were trying to flee hunger, poverty and war and find freedom”.
“We are proud to give these bodies a proper burial,” the mayor, Luigi Favari, was quoted as telling the local news website Si24.it.

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10 COMMENTS
  • Kombishtatot October 18, 2013

    Dear mayor of Lampedusa,
    Given the enormous traumatic tragedy that hit your island, you have given generously more than your fare of the share.
    The question many people are asking: where is the Eritrean government? Given the fact that the 363 victims of the main shipwreck alone are from Eritrea, as confirmed by the survivors?

  • Kombishtato October 18, 2013

    Dear mayor of Lampedusa,

    Given the enormous traumatic tragedy that hit your island, you have given generously more than your fare of the share.
    The question many people are asking: where is the Eritrean government? Given the fact that the 363 victims of the main shipwreck alone are from Eritrea, as confirmed by the survivors?

  • belay nega October 19, 2013

    ጥልያን ለከምትና አይ ክይገዛእኩም ሓዲኩሙና
    እይ ክምቶም ካለኦት ገዛእቲ ተጣቢኩምልና

  • DemMelash October 19, 2013

    The looser Isaias is in the Sudan for treatment of his liver. May his suffering from alcoholic addiction get worse by the day.

  • Wedi ngus October 19, 2013

    Ms. Mayor of lampedusa,

    Why do even act like you care about those people, don’t you know that the whole eritrean people knows that you could have saved them if you wanted to. You know they were waiting for your help for more than 4 hours and 2 of your ship came left them to die. Do you have an answer for that? You left them to die but god save some of them so they can tell what happen. So now we all know what happened but if you care please give citizenship to those who servived not for those who die. They are dead they don’t need your citizenship but those who is alive might need to use it for a while.

    • Nahom October 19, 2013

      Wedi Negus
      As long as the maniac dictator is in power more Eritreans will take the same risk to get out of the hellhole of Isayyas.

  • Eritras October 19, 2013

    Ms. Mayor of Lampedusa,

    Thank you, for expressing your sadness by the Italian government’s failure to hold a state funeral for the hundreds of Eritreans who died at sea off the island’s coast earlier this month.
    Please give citizenship to those who survived just like you gave for those who die.

    • belay nega October 19, 2013

      “Please give citizenship to those who survived just like you gave for those who die.”

      መጀመርያ ንስኻ/ኺ ነቶም አብ ማይ ዓይኒ ዘለው ተጣበቀሎም ካብ ብዛዕባ ምውታት ትህውትት

  • Eritras October 19, 2013

    Ms. Mayor of Lampedusa,

    Please find out, who was the captain of the boat and how did this tragedy happen? Did the captain or the leader of the boat survive if he did please ask him how did this happen. We should know in detail what the cause of the disaster.

    Once again thank you, for expressing your sadness by the Italian government’s failure to hold a state funeral for the hundreds of Eritreans who died at sea off the island’s coast earlier this month. Please give citizenship to those who survived just like you gave for those who died. And please be lenient to all Eritreans in Italy. This also will pass and Eritrea will be free from the vicious dictator who is the source of all this atrocity. Don’t forget you are part of Eritrean history. Keep doing the right thing by helping the helpless Eritreans in Italy.

  • Wrdet Taesa October 20, 2013

    captain of the boat !!!!!

    Eritrean Youth first life long conscripted by the Diablos DIA and now in Italy by DIA&Mafia conspired! Wer ist the captain of the boat ????? . May be he must be emprisoned for just not to whistle the facts/truth!

    Investigation must follow in every direction throughly!

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