6th post. The Silk Road of the Third Millennium carries human flesh. Its terminal on Turkish soil is Izmir: here, muhajirins arrive. Muhajirins , like Mussa Khan, who try the Aegean route to end up, too often, at the bottom of the sea. To look for him, I need to enter Basmane, Europe’s door of the last
The shapeless silhouette silently creeps in the blind spot of my visual field, mistress of darkness. All around is Basmane, neighborhood of the damned, Europe’s door of the last.
After perceiving his presence, and before I can even turn around, the man manifests himself with a blatant, almost grotesque, greeting. The hand is already stretched out: “My friend! Were you looking for me?”
Izmir, ancient Smirne, for 2.500 years terminus of the dusty road network better known as the Silk Road. The most thriving bargaining place in the Mediterranean, from here the merchandise from China, India or Arabia finally took to the sea, bound for European ports.
History knows no irony. In the past few years, it has been right here in Basmane, in its historic center, that the migrants, the most precious merchandise of the third millennium, have interrupted their journey by land to face the waves of the Aegean.
Low on the horizon, the Greek islands are visible to the naked eye. After months or years of traveling, the undreamt-of European bank is the persuasive singing of deadly sirens: in this stretch of sea, the waters have swallowed thousands of muhajirins . Or harragas , as some call them here, the “men who burn the frontiers”.
From Basmane, traffic networks are woven that stretch up to the Horn of Africa, Pakistan, Senegal. The Silk Road of the Third Millennium carries human flesh. Continue reading