Karem & Riadh, from Lampedusa to Nice Karem & Riadh, da Lampedusa a Nizza
Karem e Riad are two cousins from Djebeniana, in the area of Sfax, the second largest city in Tunisia. Karem, 34 years old, used to live in Nice and in Italy. He has an Arts Academy degree and in Tunisia used to work as a tour operator and as a sculptor. Riadh, 25 years old, had been working at several occasional jobs in Djebeniana. He tried to enter University but he has not been admitted. Since his birth he is affected by a rheumatic disease that constrains him to be dependent on drugs.
Both unemployed and with an uncertain future to face, they are sure that Ben Ali regime’s roots are still firm. So they decide to invest all their savings to get to France. After a two days sea crossing they land in Lampedusa, where they spend several nights sleeping in a plastic tent, on the hill above the port. By chance they meet Paolo, a Lampedusa citizen who decides to host them in his house for a few days. After almost two weeks in limbo, Karem and Riadh are embarked on a ship heading to Livorno. But in Tuscany their paths diverge: Karem is jailed in Florence while Riadh gets the temporary permit to stay.
Both cousins would like to reach Nice, where many relatives are waiting for them. So Riadh carries on travelling with some mates and eventually arrives in Ventimiglia, where is awaited by his brother Mehdi who wants to help him to cross the border. In the evening they get to Ponte S. Ludovico, close to Italy-France border. Then they succeed in walking to Menton and at last they get to Nice.
Riadh has finally reach his destination: he will be hosted, along with three friends, in his brother’s studio. In the Wad, a peripheral suburb of Nice, I meet Salah, Karem’s father, who’s still waiting for his jailed son. Actually the Wad is a dormitory where only single men provided with regular visas and employment contracts are allowed to stay. It's forbidden any kind of reunion with wives, daughters or sisters.
Karem e Riadh sono due cugini di Djebeniana, Sfax, Tunisia. Karem, 34 anni, ha già vissuto a Nizza e in Italia ed è laureato in Accademia di Belle Arti, e in Tunisia faceva l'operatore turistico e lo scultore. Riadh, 25 anni, a Djebeniana ha fatto vari lavoretti, ha tentato l'ingresso all' Università. Soffre dalla nascita di una malattia reumatica che lo obbliga ad essere dipendente dai farmaci. Entrambi senza lavoro e con un futuro incerto, convinti del fatto che le radici del governo di Ben Alì sono ancora salde nello scenario politico tunisino, decidono di investire tutto quello che hanno per raggiungere la Francia. Dopo una traversata in mare di 2 giorni arrivano a Lampedusa. Una volta sull'isola pernottano a lungo sotto una tenda fatta di plastica, sulla collina vicina al porto. Per caso incontrano Paolo, un cittadino di Lampedusa che li ospita nella sua casa per qualche giorno. Dopo quasi 2 settimane di limbo, Karem e Riadh vengono imbarcati su una nave con destinazione Livorno. In Toscana però le strade dei due cugini si dividono: Karem viene incarcerato a Firenze e Riadh invece riceve il permesso di soggiorno temporaneo. Entrambi avrebbero voluto raggiungere Nizza, dove ci sono vari parenti ad aspettarli. Riadh prosegue il viaggio con alcuni amici e finalmente raggiunge Ventimiglia, dove Mehdi il fratello lo aspetta per aiutarlo nella transizione della frontiera. Di sera raggiungono Ponte S. Ludovico, al confine con la Francia, e dopo un tragitto a piedi riescono a raggiungere Menton e infine Nizza. Riadh è finalmente arrivato, e sarà ospite dal fratello nel monolocale insieme ad altri 3 amici. Nel Wad, quartiere periferico di Nizza, incontro Salah, il padre di Karem che continua ad aspettare il figlio, incarcerato. Il Wad è un dormitorio dove possono vivere solo uomini single con regolare permesso di soggiorno e contratto di lavoro.
Images in this gallery:
- Karem in the tent where he has been sleeping for 6 days with other 9 people. hill near the harbour, Lampedusa, IT
- Riadh is praying before being imbarked to Sicily and the rest of Italy. He\'s in the Paolo\'s garden. Paolo is a Lampedusa citizen that hosted many migrants. Lampedusa, IT
- Karem, Riadh, Mustafa are waiting for some news about boardings. Harbour, Lampedusa, IT
- A caravan is burning after a fire was setted by some migrants. Lampedusa, IT
- Riadh stretches and dries in the sun after a swim. He suffers from the birth of a rheumatic disease that requires him to be dependent on drugs. Port, Lampedusa, IT
- Karem swims near the harbour. Lampedusa, IT
- Riadh, Karem and other friends at a dinner at Paolo\'s place. Paolo is a Lampedusa citizen that hosted many migrants during the emergency. Lampedusa, IT
- The police move some migrants from the dock to a bus to the boarding of ships. Harbour, Lampedusa, IT
- Embarkation of 600 migrants, Cala Pisana, Lampedusa, IT
- Riadh and Karem, Harbour, Lampedusa, IT
- Riadh, Mohamed, Amir just left the police station in Arezzo. The Police Department has issued temporary residence permits and train tickets for their respective destinations. The cultural mediator explains how to get to the train station, Arezzo, IT
- For the first time in his life, Amir takes the train. He shows me the temporary residence permit and the magnetic card, Milan, IT
- Riadh, Saif, Hamed, Kalil in the train Arezzo - Milan, IT
- Kaled, Train station, Milan, IT
- 4 a.m. Riadh, Saif, Mustafa, Hamed, train station, Milan, IT
- Amir, Train station, Milan, IT
- Riadh is welcomed from his brother Mehdi in Ventimiglia. Mehdi lives and works as a mason in Nice and has a regular visa. Ventimiglia, IT
- Market, Wad, suburb of Nice. This is a reference point for all the Maghebi people who arrive from abroad. Nice, FR
- Salah, the Karem\'s father is now retired. He lives in a dormitory where Maghrebi man can stay only if they have a regular residence permit and an employment contract. The kitchen and bathrooms are shared. This is the room of 10 square meters where he has lived for 30 years. Karem has lived here with his father for several years. It\'s forbidden any kind of reunion with wives, daughters or sisters. Wad, Nice, FR
- Riadh in a internet point writes a message on Facebook to Karem who is jailed in Florence. Nice, FR
- Riadh in the studio of 25 squared meters that the brother shares with 3 other friends. Nice, FR