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LA STAMPA

One Year Later, Survivor Of Lampedusa Disaster Starts Anew

The October 2013 shipwreck that killed 366 off the Italian coast moved the world to the plight of Africa's desperate migrants. A survivor from Eritrea tries to start a new life in Sweden.

A monument on Lampedusa to migrants who have died.
A monument on Lampedusa to migrants who have died.
Niccolò Zancan

ÄNGE — On Friday evening, after he has taken the bus home from his language school, Russom will buy 10 candles, three bottles of beer for his friends, and some orange juice, milk and honey for himself. With 14 fellow Eritreans who have wound up in the small Swedish town of Änge, he will mark this day around a simple kitchen table.

Friday is both a tragic and happy anniversary. The group will light the candles and read aloud the names of their friends who died off the coast of Lampedusa last Oct. 3. And then, after the prayers, in the middle of this forest of trees destined to make furniture, they'll look to drive away their nightmares, offering a drink to them all.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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