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David Bradwell, refugee co-ordinator for 'Scottish Churches Action for Refugees', is visiting Lampedusa, and Italian Island near the north African coast, to take part in a Protestant churches' conference on borders and to attend a service commemorating the thousands of people drowned in the Mediterranean while trying to reach safety. He has sent his reflections....

I've seen more police than I would have expected for a community of just a few thousand inhabitants. They are a reminder that tiny Lampedusa is now at the vortex of global forces driving displacement.

Before I came to Lampedusa, the conference had been taking place in Sicily for the previous few days.  For many centuries Sicily has been a border place where cultures and people meet – Etruscans, Greeks, Normans, Spanish and many others.  The border was not a barrier but a place of exchange: a meeting place where diversity is an everyday reality of life.  Today the border has become a barrier, a wall which has a purpose to keep people out.

We have heard moving stories of people who have crossed the sea. We have heard from a Church pastor from Arizona, USA, who works a few miles from the Mexican border to provide water and aid to people fleeing from misery and suffering in the hope for life.

And we have heard of the work of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, which has successfully established a Humanitarian Corridor, which sees vulnerable people being brought safely to Italy where they are supported and helped by local church groups.

Lampedusa supplies for refugees

This news item has been abstracted from an article published by Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees.  For more information, see the full article.

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