Memoria Mediterranea

Ghassen, Iheb, Aymen, Maher (2022)

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Ghassen, Iheb, Bilel, Aymen and Maher are five boys whose bodies arrived in Cagliari, Sardinia, in late August 2022. They were originally from Biserta, a town on the northern Tunisian coast, very close to the Sardinian coast and Sicily.

Ghassen was an only child, had completed his education and had a high school diploma. Months before his tragic departure, he had applied for a visa to Spain, but seeing his application rejected, he decided to cross the Mediterranean border by dinghy with his friend Iheb .

Iheb lived with great difficulty because his parents, who were divorced, had abandoned him as a child in the home of his grandparents who had raised him. When these passed away, Iheb had no choice but to set aside some money and leave for Europe, hoping to improve his life and that of the sister he was caring for.

Aymen was married and had two children. He had not planned to leave Tunisia; he just wanted to help his friends leave and had driven them to the beach in his car. But at the time of departure he changed his plans and left his car on the dock to leave as well: he felt he was not missing anything by trying to attempt the crossing.

Bilel had a wife and daughter in France; he wanted to join his family who had been too long away waiting for him so they could start a new life together.

Meher had decided to lead the boat because he was the only one capable of being able to lead the group at sea. He, too, had decided to migrate because he needed work and some social guarantees necessary for his delicate health condition. The denial of his visa and subsequent despair drove him to drop everything and leave.

Mem.Med supported the families in the procedures to repatriate the bodies of the five boys, which took place in November 2022, and they are now buried in cemeteries in Bizerte, where a few months after their deaths the families were able to celebrate them.

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