Il Memoriale Nuova Speranza

35°30'09.6'' N 12°36'27.2'' E

Il Memoriale Nuova Speranza

35°30'09.6'' N 12°36'27.2'' E

I had the fixed thought of as these human beings,

women, children and men had been numbered from 1 to 368 and dispersed in the various cemeteries of the Agrigento province without a common point to be honoured and remembered

Vito Fiorino

On October 3, 2019, a promise was kept. The one that Vito Fiorino and other fishermen who were at sea on the night of October 3, 2013, made to themselves, to the survivors (thanks to them) and especially to the victims of what is considered one of the most tragic shipwrecks of migrant boats in the history of the Mediterranean.

At 3.30 a.m. on that day, a boat departing from Libya sank when it was within sight of the coast of Lampedusa, 800 meters from the Spiaggia dei Conigli and the Grotta della Tabaccara, two places that have made Lampedusa renowned worldwide for their extraordinary beauty. The boat was a fishing boat about 20 meters long, which sailed from the Libyan port of Misurata on October 1, 2013. The boat, as told by the survivors, had reached about half a mile from the Lampedusa coast when the engines stalled and, to attract the attention of passing ships, the captain’s assistant began waving a flaming rag, producing a lot of smoke. Some of the passengers, frightened by what looked like a fire, moved to one side of the overflowing boat, which capsized. The boat spun on itself three times before going down. There were 368 victims – 360 of them from Eritrea, the others from Ethiopia – and their names can be seen today on the New Hope monument, unveiled on October 3, 2019, at 3:30 a.m. There were 155 survivors, thanks to the intervention of Fiorino and other fishermen, such as Costantino Baratta and Domenico Colapinto.

That day, the promise was kept not to forget, to give a name to those victims, so that they would never be numbers again, but lives, dreams, hopes, affections. Giving back the right to a name to a victim is a due act, against any dehumanization of the living and the dead.
That night, Vito Fiorino saved 47 people. Many of them, on the night of October 3, 2019, were present at the inauguration of the sculpture – created thanks to the efforts of the European project Snapshots from the Borders and the cultural association Gariwo – in Piazza Piave in Lampedusa.

Podcast: History of Lampedusa - 2^ episode

The interior of the memorial, made of wood and “acid-etched” steel to give the effect of rust, resembles the skeleton of a boat; around it, a spiral that wraps it from top to bottom; on it 368 names, at the base a blue patch representing the waters that that night closed on hundreds of lives like a sepulchre. The wood boards placed inside the spiral, represent arms stretched towards the sky and towards a salvation, to ask for help and solidarity. Designed by architect Gaia Rossi, the project of the New Hope memorial involved many of the survivors, to trace the names of the victims, engraved in the Latin alphabet after having been transliterated from Tigrinya. Every year, on October 3, the ceremony in remembrance of the shipwreck will be held in front of that memorial.

Behind the spiral, a mural has been created, by street artist NEVE (Danilo Pistone), depicting a wreath, like the one that every year – at the site of the shipwreck – the island’s fishing boats together with the boats of the authorities and institutions and civil society, lay on the site of the shipwreck.

Since 2016, October 3 in Italy has become the National Day of Memory and Reception, while the project Snapshots from the Borders has worked in recent years to make it the European Day of Memory and Reception.

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