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FACELESS BODIES (working title)

Cristina Cattaneo

  • Original Title: NAUFRAGHI SENZA VOLTO
  • Publication date: November 2018
  • Publisher: RAFFAELLO CORTINA EDITORE
  • Country: IT
  • 198 print pages
  • Factual/Memoirs

Information

  • Epoch: Contemporary
  • Time Period: 21st century
  • Location setting: Italy
  • Themes: FAMILY, Mourning, PEOPLE facing life, Looking back on one's life, Search for the truth, Death, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Exile, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Solidarity, Commitment

Pitch

The humanitarian emergency of migrants crossing the Mediterranean has returned to the European shores thousands of bodies. More than half have not been identified. A forensic pathologist recounts the attempt to give a name to these anonymous victims.

Comments

Translation rights sold: France

Cristina Cattaneo is a professor of Forensic Medicine at the University of Milan and director of LABANOF (Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology and Odontology). She is a member of the Forensic Advisory Board of ICRC and she is currently collaborating with the Office of the Special Commissioner for Missing Persons in identifying migrants who drowned at sea, particularly those who lost their lives off the island of Lampedusa on October 3, 2013 and April 18, 2015.

Summary

A memoir by the anatomopathologist in charge of analysing the corpses of immigrants who perished in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe.

The body of a boy with a little bundle of earth from his homeland, Eritrea, in his pocket; the body of another, from Ghana, with his library card; a report card in Arabic and French that someone had carefully sewn into the lining of a jacket, found on the remains of a child.
These bodies are victims of the Mediterranean, victims who met their death on the run-down vessels that cross the sea in an attempt to reach Italy, bodies that explain how it is possible to “die of hope”. Many are even denied an identity.
This humanitarian emergency of migrants crossing the Mediterranean has returned to the European shores thousands of bodies, more than half of these have not been identified.
Written from the personal point of view of a forensic pathologist, this book recounts the attempt to give a name to these anonymous victims, and explains how these bodies, by far more eloquent than the living, bear witness to the violence and desperation of our times.

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  • Author’s biography

    Cristina Cattaneo is a professor of Forensic Medicine at the University of Milan and director of LABANOF (Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology and Odontology). She is a member of the Forensic Advisory Board of ICRC and she is currently collaborating with the Office of the Special Commissioner for Missing Persons in identifying migrants who drowned at sea, particularly those who lost their lives off the island of Lampedusa on October 3, 2013 and April 18, 2015.