Giovanni on the dangers of flight

Conversation with Giovanni from Ethiopia.

“Lasciami dire una cosa. Chiunque fa la strada che io ho percorso per arrivare qui non lo farà mai per divertimento. Se lo fai significa che non potevi vivere nel tuo paese. Se qualcuno mi chiede info sul viaggio io sarò sincero e dirò che scappi dalla morte ma vai incontro al pericolo di morte affrontando il viaggio nel Sahara e nel mare. Dovresti andare via dal tuo paese con le tue buone ragioni per non rimpiangere qualcosa che potrebbe succedere sulla tua strada verso la libertà. Io non mi lamento, grazie a Dio. Ho un lavoro e uno stipendio decoroso. Spero di poter un giorno aprire un negozio tutto mio.”

“Let me say something. All those who have taken this way to get here have not done so for pleasure! If you took this upon yourself, it’s because you couldn’t live in your country anymore. If someone asks me for information about the journey, I am sincere and say that they escape death with it, but face another mortal danger on the way through the Sahara and across the sea. They should leave their country for serious reasons, so as not to regret their decision on the way to freedom. I am not complaining, thank God. I have a job and a decent salary. I hope to open my own shop one day.”


This text is an extract from a conversation Giovanni had with Archivio Memorie Migranti (Archive of Migrant Memories) in Rome on 10 March 2018. The Archive collects and publishes oral and written biographical reports of refugees.

Giovanni describes the dangers to which people are exposed when they flee, underlining that no one can make the decision to flee lightly. The fact that the route through the desert, across the sea and across militarily guarded borders can be not only dangerous but also deadly for many people on the flight has been documented by UNITED for Intercultural Action in its “List of Deaths” since 1993. In addition, many people whose fate remains unknown die while fleeing.

Giovanni was born in 1974 in Dire Dawa in Ethiopia and grew up with his aunt in Addis Ababa. He left the country in 2005 as a result of the elections. Today he lives in Rome and works as a barber.

Archivio Memorie Migration: Giovanni, in: Etiopia, n. 4, 10. März 2008, (14.11.2019).

Translation from Italian © Minor.