STATELESS – Shousha Refugee
by Nunzio Gringeri and Mauro Mondello
February 15th, 2011. On the emotive waves of the tunisian and egyptian revolution hundreds of people take to the streets in Benghazi, in northeast Libya, to protest against the Muammar Gaddafi regime: this event began the struggle between Libya army loyal to Colonel Gaddafi and the rebel forces.
More than 30.000 people were killed during the 8 months civil war: the upheaval has caused a humanitarian emergency on the Tunisian border, where tens of thousands of foreign workers have fled. IOM, the International Organization for Migration estimates that 2.5 million migrant workers were in Libya before the crisis, a heavy footprint for a Libyan population of under seven million.
So begins the journey of Shousha refugees, men and women arrived at the border between Libya and Tunisia from the poorest countries in the world, escaping from poverty, war and ethnic persecution.
Shousha is an indefinite place. It is neither a village nor a city, you can’t find it on a map, you can not imagine that such forgotten place in the middle of the tunisian desert, just 9 km away from the Libyan border, hosts a tent city where thousands of people found refuge escaping from an unexpected war.
Since february 2011 up to now more than 600.000 people crossed the border between Libya and Tunisia, many of these people covered by walking, for days, the distance (130 kilometers) that separate Tripoli from the frontier post.
Today 4.000 people is still living in Shousha, persons coming from Darfur, from Eritrea, from Somalia, from Ethiopia, men and women forced to stay in the camp because their refugee status: they can’t come back in their home countries, because terrible wars are fought there, they can’t come back to Libya, they can’t stay in Tunisia. The only thing the can do is to continue resisting, waiting for the asylum application they sent to western countries, the only possibility to leave Shousha in legal way, to come back to a normal life.
Nunzio Gringeri (b. 1981, Milazzo, Italy), studied Art in Reggio Calabria and Cinema in Palermo. He realized videoclips and video-installations and just began filming documentaries in recent years. He realized in 2009 the video clip Since you’ve been gone for the folk singer Pete Molinari, in 2011 he directed You Should Wear A Dress for the dutch band King Me. In 2011 his video installation “Abitarsi”, realized with Viola Mondello, has been selected for the Celeste New York Prize.
Mauro Mondello (b. 1982, Messina, Italy) is an italian free lance journalist and writer. He worked as a correspondant from South America since 2008 to 2010 for Peace Reporter and Gianni Minà’s Latinoamerica. In 2011 he followed the Arab Revolutions in Sirya, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. He collaborated with Radio Rai 3 and his reportages has been published on Il Riformista, Avvenire and Left. In 2011 he published No Hope an instant book about the refugees escaping from the libyan war.
a film by Nunzio Gringeri and Mauro Mondello
produced by Giordano Ruam and Marta Zunni
sound – Sam Cucinotta
subtitles – Sarah Reggianini and Clara Soares
post production – Linos Tomea
music – Lali Puna, MWE, Thomas Mapfuno, Olima Anditi, Viola Mondello