Tunisian cemetery offers living memorial to ‘unknown migrants’

Tunisian cemetery offers living memorial to ‘unknown migrants’
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, left, with Algerian artist Rachid Koraichi in the Jardin d’Afrique (Garden of Africa) cemetery for migrants, Zarzis, Tunisia, June 9, 2021. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 11 June 2021

Tunisian cemetery offers living memorial to ‘unknown migrants’

Tunisian cemetery offers living memorial to ‘unknown migrants’
  • Garden of Africa graveyard in fishing village of Zarzis holds remains of migrants who died trying to reach Europe
  • Artist Rachid Koraichi, 74, decorated the site in tribute to those ‘condemned by the sea after facing the Sahara’

ROME: A garden cemetery to honor some of the unknown migrants who died while crossing the Mediterranean in an attempt to reach Europe has been inaugurated in Zarzis, a Tunisian fishing village near the border with Libya.

The Jardin d’Afrique (Garden of Africa) cemetery includes a traditional 17th-century door, hand-painted ceramic naves and a prayer hall for all religions made by Algerian artist Rachid Koraichi.

Foreign envoys to Tunisia and a UNESCO representative attending the inaugural ceremony at the site were told that half of its 200 burial places are already full.

More than 21,000 people have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean since 2014, according to the UN.

The cemetery and its garden of olive trees will hold the remains of unknown migrants, and aims to be a symbol as well as a place to remember and pray.

Koraichi, 74, said that the migrants buried there were “condemned by the sea” after facing “the Sahara, bandits and terrorists” and sometimes even torture.

“I wanted to help them go to heaven after the hell they went through,” he told Italian news agency ANSA.

A member of Tijaniyya, an influential Sufi order, launched the burial site project after hearing that Zarzis was running out of space to bury the dozens of dead bodies that washed up in the coastal village each summer.

The remains of more than 1,000 migrants have been buried in the town in the past decade.

In 2018, Koraichi bought land for the cemetery, and began work on decorations and facilities.

“I did this to help families mourn their loved ones, knowing that they have a dignified burial place,” he said.

Koraichi said that he viewed the garden as a symbolic place, similar to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, “because we are all responsible for this tragedy.”

The cemetery holds more than 200 white graves, surrounded by five olive trees, which symbolize the five pillars of Islam, and 12 vines representing the Christian apostles.

Gravestone markers have various descriptions, such as “Man, black shirt, Four Seasons Hotel,” or “Woman, black dress, Hachani beach,” which describe the unidentified corpse, where the body was found, and other elements that could help with identification.

An onsite facility where autopsies can be performed is planned in order to help identification.

Currently, autopsies take place in Gabes, 140 km away, which means the authorities have to transport the bodies in difficult conditions.

At the inauguration, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay paid tribute to Koraichi but also to “the shipwrecked people who died at sea in search of a better life” and to the “universal solidarity of associations, fishermen or individuals who save lives.”

Zarzis Mayor Mekki Lourraidh said: “Many of the young people from Zarzis left for Europe by sea. There were deaths, and we see our children among them.”


UAE to suspend entry of travelers on flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Namibia

UAE to suspend entry of travelers on flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Namibia
Updated 10 min 58 sec ago

UAE to suspend entry of travelers on flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Namibia

UAE to suspend entry of travelers on flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Namibia

CAIRO: The United Arab Emirates will suspend travelers from entering the country from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Namibia on national and foreign flights from Monday, June 21, Emirates News Agency (WAM) said on Saturday.
WAM said the restrictions would also include transit passengers, with the exception of transit flights traveling to the UAE and bound for those countries.


Israeli airstrikes on Gaza test patience of Hamas military wings

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza test patience of Hamas military wings
Updated 33 min 39 sec ago

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza test patience of Hamas military wings

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza test patience of Hamas military wings
  • Tensions have remained high since the ceasefire on May 21
  • Latest Israeli airstrikes in Gaza brought back fears of a military escalation

GAZA CITY: Gazans had hardly recovered from the sound of the explosions during the 11-day war between Israel and the Gaza Strip when they returned less than a month later.

The Israeli bombing of Hamas military training sites in the Gaza Strip on Thursday night was in response to incendiary and explosive balloons launched toward neighboring Israeli towns. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The helium-filled balloons are intended to set fire to farmland and bush surrounding the Gaza enclave.

Tensions have remained high since the ceasefire on May 21.

The explosions in the Gaza Strip brought back fears of a military escalation, especially in light of the Israeli restrictions in place since May.

Israel have kept the two crossings with the Gaza Strip, Kerem Shalom for commerce and Erez for individuals, semi-closed, only allowing food and some other items, as well as medical emergencies.

The closure of the two crossings severely affected the daily lives of Gazans, stopping the flow of goods to shops of all kinds and mail between Gaza and the West Bank and the outside world, including thousands of passports printed in Ramallah, as well as visas, making it hard for merchants to travel.

Iman Shaheen, 33, who suffers from breast cancer, said: “I am waiting to get my passport, the application for which I sent to Ramallah before the war, but the mail has stopped since then, preventing me from completing the process of traveling to Jordan for treatment. I follow the news daily and wait impatiently for the crossing to be re-opened for mail.”

Israel also prevents construction materials from entering the Gaza Strip, which affects the reconstruction process war, prevents fuel from entering the power plant and blocks Qatari grants to poor families.

Hamas and Israel reached an agreement to facilitate the entry of Qatari funds and increase the capacity of the Kerem Shalom crossing, and to allow some materials that it classifies as dual-use in exchange for stopping the demonstrations along the border, known as the Great Return March, which lasted for about two years.

Hamas spokesman Hazim Qassem tweeted that the bombing of the Gaza Strip “is a failed attempt to stop the solidarity of our people and the resistance with the Holy City” (Jerusalem), and to “cover up the unprecedented state of confusion of the Zionist establishment” by organizing the so-called Flags March.

Hamas military wings seem to have limited patience over the Israeli bombing.

Khader Habib, an Islamic Jihad official, said that “the resistance factions informed Egypt in a message that they would respond in kind to any upcoming military attacks, and would not allow the occupation government (Israel) to impose its conditions on the resistance or isolate Gaza.

“The joint operations room of the resistance factions has crystallized a final and unified position to deal with the repetition of Israeli behavior in the coming days, and it will not hesitate to confront it, whatever the results.

“The launching of incendiary and explosive balloons from the Gaza Strip toward Israeli towns is linked to the occupation’s continued imposition of the siege on the Gaza Strip and its closure of the crossings for more than a month and a half.”

However, commentators have said that Hamas and the other factions will not be in a hurry to return to war again.

Mukhaimar Abu Saada, a professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, said: “Hamas needs to restore what was destroyed in the last war, whether at the level of its military capabilities or the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and use this opportunity for funds to enter the Gaza Strip.”

Husam Al-Dajani, a political analyst, said: “The resistance factions do not want to return to military confrontation again, but if the reality remains unchanged on the ground, things may escalate in the Gaza Strip.”

Al-Dajani believes that Hamas’ failure to respond to the Israeli bombardment is “to give the mediators an opportunity to put pressure on Israel and improve living conditions in the Gaza Strip.”


Oman reinstates movement ban to curb coronavirus spread

Oman reinstates movement ban to curb coronavirus spread
Updated 19 June 2021

Oman reinstates movement ban to curb coronavirus spread

Oman reinstates movement ban to curb coronavirus spread
  • The ban will remain in place until further notice
  • Public spaces and commercial establishments will also remain closed

DUBAI: Oman’s Supreme Committee will reinstate a movement ban between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. starting June 20, state news agency ONA reported.

The ban will remain in place until further notice.

Public spaces and commercial establishments will also remain closed as a continuing precaution against the spread of coronavirus.

The committee also said that the national immunization program will continue as planned.

It has also called on the relevant target groups to take the initiative to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families and the rest of the society from COVID-19.


Amnesty accuses Iran’s newly-elected president of ‘crimes against humanity’

Amnesty accuses Iran’s newly-elected president of ‘crimes against humanity’
Updated 20 min 26 sec ago

Amnesty accuses Iran’s newly-elected president of ‘crimes against humanity’

Amnesty accuses Iran’s newly-elected president of ‘crimes against humanity’

DUBAI: Amnesty International released a report Saturday saying that Iran’s newly elected leader Ebrahim Raisi is involved in crimes against humanity, including murder, torture and forced disappearances.

The report, which came out a few hours after Raisi was named the winner of the Islamic republic’s presidential election, denounces his rise to presidency instead of undergoing investigation.

Citing Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard, the report said: “Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran.”

“In 2018, our organization documented how Ebrahim Raisi had been a member of the ‘death commission’ which forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret thousands of political dissidents in Evin and Gohardasht prisons near Tehran in 1988. The circumstances surrounding the fate of the victims and the whereabouts of their bodies are, to this day, systematically concealed by the Iranian authorities, amounting to ongoing crimes against humanity.”

The report also said: “‘As Head of the Iranian Judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi has presided over a spiralling crackdown on human rights which has seen hundreds of peaceful dissidents, human rights defenders and members of persecuted minority groups arbitrarily detained.

Dressed in a black turban and cleric’s coat, Raisi casts himself as an austere and pious figure and an corruption-fighting champion of the poor.

Critics charge the election was skewed in his favor as strong rivals were disqualified, but to his loyal supporters he is Iran’s best hope for standing up to the West and bringing relief from a deep economic crisis.

Raisi is not renowned for great charisma but, as head of the judiciary, has driven a popular campaign to prosecute corrupt officials.

Raisi is set to take over from moderate Hassan Rouhani in August.

(With AFP)

 

Battle for the Nile
How will Egypt be impacted by Ethiopia filling its GERD reservoir ?
Enter
keywords

Battle for the Nile: How Egypt will be impacted by Ethiopia’s filling of GERD reservoir

Battle for the Nile: How Egypt will be impacted by Ethiopia’s filling of GERD reservoir
Updated 19 June 2021

Battle for the Nile: How Egypt will be impacted by Ethiopia’s filling of GERD reservoir

Battle for the Nile: How Egypt will be impacted by Ethiopia’s filling of GERD reservoir
  • For 10 years Ethiopia has failed to reach an agreement with Egypt and Sudan on how quickly the reservoir should be filled
  • On the eve of the summer rains on the Ethiopian Highlands, the dam is all but complete and filling is about to begin

LONDON: In the decade since Ethiopia announced it was going to build Africa’s biggest hydropower dam on the Blue Nile, the source of the bulk of Egypt’s water, the prospect has loomed over Egyptians as an existential threat.

For 10 years Ethiopia has failed to reach an agreement with Egypt and Sudan, its two downstream neighbors, on how quickly its vast reservoir should be filled, and how the electricity-generating Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will be operated in the years to come. Now, on the eve of the anticipated annual summer rains that fall on the Ethiopian Highlands, the dam is all but complete and filling is about to begin in earnest.

DEEP DIVE: For a longer, interactive version of this story: https://www.arabnews.com/BattleForTheNile

Battle for the Nile
How will Egypt be impacted by Ethiopia filling its GERD reservoir ?
Enter
keywords