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Daniel Jakopovich: Lampedusa


On the barbed wires of Lampedusa
the Halflings dwell.

Twenty hundred years after Christ and the Samaritan,
in countries that consecrate their names and desecrate their memories,
they bury live people.

Bako crossed the wasteland wide,
just one friend was by his side.

The Master and the Slave,
and the whole grisly dialectic of philistines and concentration camps,
brim on the rim of the continental Citadel.

Ebele crossed the water deep
leaving Bako in his sleep.

Better to drown than be drowned, in shacks where no rafts were provided by the
good people of Europe.

On the barbed wires of Lampedusa
the Halflings dwell.


Tens of thousands of refugees have crossed the Mediterranean in recent years, often on inadequate and overburdened wooden boats. The Lampedusa ”immigrant reception centre” is the primary European entry point for illegal immigration from Africa. In 2009, the detention camp was criticised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as many of its 2,000 boat people were sleeping outdoors under plastic sheeting, which was later destroyed in a fire during an inmate riot. By the end of 2011, around 50,000 refugees had arrived from Tunisia and Libya. On 14 April 2015 around 400 refugees drowned attempting to flee from war-torn Libya, which was followed by the drowning of at least 40 other refugees only a couple of days later. These and countless other refugee tragedies are being caused by heartless xenophobia and the Anglo-American war machine.