Self-representations

This section includes stories, self-narratives and diaries produced by migrants wishing to reflect on the nature and legacy of migration as an individual and collective experience. Self-representations, mostly in writing but with words that are often supplemented with images, signs and audiovisual material, their aim is to rearticulate the turning points and crossings of the authors’ lives and journeys and to share their experience with others.

 

Somali refugee narrative circle
(January-June 2008)

Originating in the Asinitas school in via Ostiense, Rome, the circle was the first self-narrative group to be set up with Somali refugees. It involved a group of Somali asylum seekers who had arrived in Italy shortly before and were housed in the Castelnuovo di Porto reception centre, together with cultural mediator Zahra Omar, Asinitas and AMM coordinators Marco Carsetti, Chiara Mammarella, SandroTriulzi, Dagmawi Yimer and Sintayeh Eshete and two writers of Somali origin, Igiaba Scego and Cristina Ali Farah.

Parole per il cerchio (Words for the circle)
by Cristina Ali Farah (2008)

A reflection on some of the key words used in the story circle, from a broadcast by the Rai3 radio programme “Fahrenheit”.

Backstage dialogues from the film “C.A.R.A. Italia”

The stories presented below are taken from the backstage dialogues collected by Dagmawi Yimer while working on C.A.R.A. Italia (40’, Asinitas-AMM, 2010), filmed in 2009 in collaboration with a group of young Somali asylum seekers at the Castelnuovo di Porto reception centre. Translated from Somali by Cristina Ali Farah. Story editing by Alessandro Triulzi and Abubakar Muktar Jokof. The age of the interviewees refers to the year the interview took place. The original dialogues are deposited in the AMM.

Da Addis Abeba a Lampedusa. Cronaca di un viaggio
(From Addis Ababa to Lampedusa. Story of a journey)

by Dagmawi Yimer

Dagmawi’s account of his journey from Ethiopia to Italy in spring-summer 2006. The Italian text is published in Colonia e postcolonia come spazi diasporici, AA.VV., Carocci 2011, pp. 335-352. The English version (“Our Journey”) is in A. Triulzi, R. L. McKenzie (eds), Long Journeys. African Migrants on the Road (pp. 233-253).

Nomi e corpi. Racconti d’oltremare (Names and bodies. Tales from the other side of the sea)
by Dagmawi Yimer

The Italian translation of the James K. Binder Lecture given by Dagmawi Yimer on May 6, 2015, at the University of California San Diego. The original text in English is also included.

Il sapore della libertà (The taste of freedom)
by Gabriel Tseggai

The story of the struggle for the independence of Eritrea in the experience of a former fighter: the sixties, the growth of awareness among young Eritreans, the war of liberation, the choices he made and the dramas he experienced. The Italian text is published in Colonia e postcolonia come spazi diasporici, AA.VV., Carocci 2011, pp. 273-297.

Lettera di Adal al fratello Abraham (Adal’s letter to his brother Abraham)

A letter from the brother of one of the victims of the tragedy of October 3, 2013, off Lampedusa.

Storia di Hawani (Hawani’s story)

The story of Hawani Debella, an Oromo woman who escaped from Ethiopia after the Derg seized power in 1974, told in an interview with the Kenyan historian Aneesa Kassam in 1994. See Hawani Debella and Aneesa Kassam, “Hawani’s Story”, Being and Becoming Oromo, ed. Paul Baxter, Ian Hultin and Alessandro Triulzi (NAI, Uppsala 1996, pp. 26-36).

Ritorno a Mogadiscio
by Hassan Ahmed

Ritorno a Mogadiscio (Return to Mogadishu) is a diary kept by Hassan Ahmed during a visit to his home country in January 2017, after 27 years of absence.

Selected by AMM to participate in the DiMMi-Diari Multimediali Migranti competition, it was awarded the prize in Pieve S. Stefano in summer 2017. Together with the author’s previous diary, Morire a Mogadiscio (Dying in Mogadishu), it is now forthcoming with Efesto.

Tre storie nomadi

Three stories extracted from the backstage dialogues collected by Dagmawi Yimer while filming C.A.R.A. Italia (Asinitas-AMM 2010). The Italian text is to be found in lo straniero, n. 164, 2014: 1-11.