Darkness before Daybreak: African Migrants Living on the Margins in Southern Italy Today

Darkness before Daybreak: African Migrants Living on the Margins in Southern Italy Today

Darkness before Daybreak: African Migrants Living on the Margins in Southern Italy Today

Darkness before Daybreak: African Migrants Living on the Margins in Southern Italy Today

Synopsis

This riveting book chronicles the lives of a group of fishermen from Ghana who took the long and dangerous journey to Southern Italy in search of work in a cutthroat underground economy. A story that illuminates the nature of high-risk migration around the world, Darkness before Daybreak reveals the challenges and experiences of these international migrants who, like countless others, are often in the news but are rarely understood. Hans Lucht tells how these men live on the fringes of society in Naples, what the often deadly journey across the Sahara Desert and Mediterranean Sea involved, and what their lives in the fishing village of Senya Beraku--where there are no more fish--were like. Asking how these men find meaning in their experiences, Lucht addresses broader existential questions surrounding the lives of economic refugees and their death-defying struggle for a life worth living. He also considers the ramifications of the many deaths that occur in the desert and the sea for those who are left behind.

Excerpt

It has become a recurrent image of human distress, prompting concern as well as condemnation, reported by the media from the southern borders of Europe—Italy, Spain, Malta, and in recent years particularly Greece: undocumented immigrants and refugees arriving in overcrowded boats in an attempt to reach Europe. in the summer of 2003 a group of young men from a small Guan fishing village in Ghana’s Central Region arrived in just this way. the twelve had crossed the Sahara Desert and then faced the perils of the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy. Presently, they live and work as day laborers in the cutthroat underground economy of Naples. Samuel, my field assistant and translator, is one of them. This book examines their experiences—their lives in the fishing village of Senya Beraku in Ghana, their journey to Europe, and their struggle to gain a foothold on the fringes of Italian society. It explores their precarious attempt to improve their lot in life at a critical moment when local fish stocks are dwindling and canoes have been coming back empty for five years in succession, following a general trend . . .

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