Death in the desert
Fati Dosso was 30 years old, Marie barely 6. A mother and daughter who died hugging each other, almost buried beneath the sand. This was July 2023. Sun. Her husband and the father had asked them to leave him behind as they had no more strength to continue walking in the desert, after days spent wandering without water or food. Fati had changed her name from Matyla to protect herself from possible religious persecution. She was Ivorian and had lived the last five years in Libya after fleeing from her country. In the Qarabulli camp she met her husband Meengue Nymbilo Crepin, nicknamed Pato, a 30-year-old from Cameroon. He had been rescued in the desert by three Sudanese boys and received in November by Pope Francis. These are the dreams and despair of a young family, who tried to find another way to happiness. The photo, which has become a symbol of the tragedy unfolding in the desert between Libya and Tunisia, inspired the verses of writer, poet and playwright, Maria Grazia Calandrone.
Fati’s sandals, abandoned
almost outside the frame of the picture, they say that the woman
stretched out in death as if to sleep. She must have said Marie
mum rest a moment. And Marie approached her body
as if alive, as in the afternoons in the village. But this time
the mother does not embrace her, she is closed in, surrendered.
Her daughter’s red, swollen feet how they contrast
with her beautiful braided hair, the same as her mother’s. Together
they turned their backs on the world
that did not want them. And they walked away.
Maria Grazia Calandrone