The Voices of the Others - Maruja Torres


The Voices of the Others - Maruja Torres
Concertinas: Sharp blades are attached to the wire at intervals of 38 millimetres; 22 millimetres long, 15 millimetres high. Enough to cut through tendons and ligaments, nerves and blood vessels.

One day in the distant future, someone will look into my face and ask me: "But you knew, didn't you? 

You knew that hundreds, no, thousands were dying on the way to Lampedusa. Women, children and men who were in search of a better life and there were laws that forbade European citizens from offering assistance at sea. You knew that they came from all the black holes of Africa, in small boats and canoes, a feat of strength to survive. They trusted in their luck, fear breathing down their necks, and they were arrested, forgotten in camps, sent back, taken elsewhere until they disappeared.

You knew that the sub-Saharans died of thirst in the desert and that the corpses of dead women embraced the bodies of their dead children. You knew that the fences of Ceuta and Melilla were doubled and tripled and knives were mounted on the barbed wire, called "concertinas". What a beautiful name - music to tear the flesh - to hold back the exiles of hunger and war misery. To punish them further, to make it hurt even more, to mutilate their dreams even more cruelly.

You knew it. And what did you do? Did you look the other way? Like the Germans who saw smoke coming out of the chimneys and thought it was a new heating system?

Fear of the stranger, well managed, produces delusions in the form of knives. They hurt and kill those who come. If we, inside the fences, do not cry out in the face of this horror, it is as if we were already dead.

These are excerpts from a Spanish newspaper commentary by Maruja Torres, translated by me in layman's terms.

For the Spanish original, see: http://www.eldiario.es/zonacritica/Cuchillas-doble-filo_6_193940622.html