In Memoriam: The Carnage in Lampedusa, 3 October 2013
A person runs out of his burning house. Outside he finds firemen, but before letting him go they ask for his papers. If he doesn’t have them, then he can die in the flames.
This is what happens today on the borders of Europe. Women, children, the elderly, and men—fleeing from their homeland in flames—come here and find our barriers on sea and land. So they look to the heavens and ask for wings. Not a passport, a pair of wings.
We citizens of Europe, we’re not waiting for the powers-that-be to give them papers. We are the border, opening our arms up wide; we’re making the right move, the gesture that looks closest to wings. Because we are their wings.
Erri De Luca (translated by Jim Hicks)