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“Why did they beat you, Eugene?”


“Why did they beat you, Eugene??” I ask him. Raising his shoulders and stretching out his arms, he responds without losing his cheerful smile. “Well… without reason. There was no reason.”

Eugene is 60 years old, and his face is weathered from the sun. I immediately note why he is ?the oldest, among the people waiting for a visit from us at the port of Augusta, Sicily. He tells me that he comes from Togo, and, before reaching Italy on a dinghy, he was in Libya for 10 years, working to “pay for the trip”. He is quite tall, and has a white beard and a smile which shows congeniality.

He came to us, because eight months ago, while working construction in Libya, he fell on his back from scaffolding. Since then, he has been in constant pain, sometimes so strong that it leaves him out of breath. At the end of the visit, just before leaving, he adds, “In fact, the pain has increased since the Libyan police beat me. Do you see this wound here? And here? And here, on my back? There, where it really hurts, is where they beat me. From that moment, I was in even more pain.”

?We were not able to do more than say we were sorry about what happened to him, thinking about all the suffering without reason ?that we see every day, on the skin and in the eyes of our patients.

– Giulia, EMERGENCY nurse in Sicily