THE GHOSTS OF PORTOPALO
THE GHOSTS OF PORTOPALO
Photo Source: Rosario Sultana - Vini Sultana
Between 20 and 21 February 2017, on Rai 1, a television miniseries was broadcast entitled I fantasmi di Portopalo. From the novel of the same name-investigation by the journalist Giovanni Maria Bellu, interpreted among others by Giuseppe Fiorello and Giuseppe Battiston , narrates the shipwreck of the F174 off of Portopalo di Capo Passero , the Christmas night of 1996, in which killed 283 people , of Indian, Pakistani nationality and Sri Lankan. Here the reconstruction of the facts.

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In the film, the fisherman Saro Ferro (born Salvo Lupo) while fishing with his boat off Portopalo, occasionally runs into clues that would confirm the rumors that circulate in the country about a shipwreck that occurred a few days before. In Portopalo everyone knows of the incident but nobody has the courage to report it due to bureaucratic rules that provide for the seizure of the boat while waiting for the magistracy to finish its investigations. Saro Ferro, taken by feelings of guilt and pity for the family of those hundreds of people who died at sea, contact the journalist Giacomo Sanna (or the author of the book, Giovanni Maria Bellu) to tell him everything he knows about this shipwreck and publicize the incident .

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In the film it is highlighted how those living on fishing can not wait for the time of a blind bureaucracy . Saro Ferro comes out of this hero story. However, in the pragmatism of the fishermen, the denunciation of the shipwreck would not have resurrected any dead , but only jeopardized, for an indefinite time, their only economic resource. In other words, when your children are hungry and waiting at home to bring him bread, what are you doing? Do you kidnap the boat, your only source of income? What Saro Ferro has done is certainly exceptional. But you can not easily blame for a father with children to feed who chooses silence . Is it right in this case to talk about omertà ? It is just a law that does not take into account such practical aspects and humans ?

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The film also speaks of the so-called journey of hope of who is willing to risk drowning, compared to the certainty of dying in his own country for a machine gun or trampling a mine. It is estimated that more than 30,000 people have died in the last fifteen years trying to cross the Mediterranean . And not even more are counted every time the national newscasts have started with the news of the umpteenth shipwreck, to which our hardened heart has now become almost completely addicted. In Portopalo, where there is also tourism, in addition to fishing, after the airing of the film, he shouted at the damage of image for the way in which its inhabitants were described. I believe instead that the true (justified) damage of image is for the European politics that in more than twenty years has not been able to give adequate answers in relation to this true trafficking in men conducted by unscrupulous torturers. It is immoral that today we consider still possible solutions to shoot him or raise walls.
Text Source: Antonino Rampulla
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