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Dying as a driver: in memory of Moustapha Milambo and others

Stories and News No. 1231

Today the State funeral was celebrated to remember the ambassador Luca Attanasio and carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci killed in Congo during a terrorist attack.

To remember is a fundamental verb that has no expiration and is always actual. For this reason, I would like to recall on this sad day for the relatives of the deceased even those who most often appear in the news in the guise of a now obvious side note, which should have nothing for granted.

I am talking about the long list of innocent extras without dialogue and lights that matter, who are systematically sacrificed in the grim terrorist script. They do not receive honors or laurels, plaques and dedicated anniversaries, but they die in the same way, often at the same moment as the protagonists: the drivers.

The first of those I found in chronological order digging into the past - but there were immensely more of them, died with the above mentioned in Congo. He worked for the World Food Program and his name was Moustapha Milambo.

In 2018, activist Marielle Franco was killed in an ambush in Brazil. The driver who died with her was Anderson Pedro Gomes.

Also in 2018, the scientist Aziz Asbar was killed in a bomb attack in Syria once he left home in his car. The driver of the latter died too. I don't have the name, I beg your pardon, but he join the long list of forgotten deaths in the hype of the top news.

In 2016 David Gilkey, a US journalist and photographer for National Public Radio, was murdered in Afghanistan with the interpreter Zabihulla Tamanna. The driver, an Afghan soldier, also died with them. I don't have his name and I'm sorry about that.

In 2014 an Emergency ambulance was hit in Afghanistan. The driver died instantly and his name was Hamza Khan. He had worked with the NGO for 12 years.

Again in 2014, the Monegasque billionaire Helene Pastor, originally from Liguria, was murdered in an attack. The victim's driver and her trusted man was Mohamed Darwich and died with her.

In 2013, Orthodox bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Bulos Yazigi were kidnapped in Syria. They will never be found. What is certain is that the driver was killed in the attack.

In 2008, Saverio Bertolini, an Italian United Nations official, was injured in the explosion of a mine in Merka, Somalia. "His conditions do not cause concern," the Farnesina promptly announced, reassuring everyone. A different fate was the driver’s one, who died on the job. I didn't find his name, but I remember him anyway. Indeed, above all.

In 2008, three aid workers in Kabul were killed and the Afghan driver also died.

In 2007, General Fran├žois al-Hajj was hit in an attack in Lebanon. The driver was also killed.

In 2005 attack in Iraq: the brother of the then Iraqi vice president, Adel Abdul Mehdi, was killed in an ambush. The driver also died in the ambush.

In 1996 Bishop Pierre Lucien Claverie was killed in an attack in Algeria. The driver was also murdered.

I could go on for days, but I'll stop here, since the bitter script doesn't change: the driver is also dead. The driver was killed too. With him, together with her, the driver died. Yes, the driver.

I hope that after hearing these words we will all once again be able to see better the human life that lies behind them...

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My last book: A morte i razzisti (Death to racists)