«Kids want to be successful, that’s why they leave the country. They choose illegal immigration but many have lost their lives, others have been rejected.”
This is the refrain of a song accompanied by a video, which the Piedmont Region has been broadcasting on the main radio and television stations in Senegal for a few weeks, to discourage young people from getting on a boat and trying to reach Italy. Because – as the musical piece set along a Senegalese beach reminds us – “Life is precious, the sea is dangerous”. The Piedmont Region thus anticipates the move of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni who a few days ago addressed migrants directly, telling them not to cross the Mediterranean. Video that was published a few days ago by all the Italian embassies in Africa, with subtitles of the appeal in Arabic and English.
The Senegalese song from Piedmont is entitled «Teki fi menane na nek», or «Making a reality here is possible» and was composed and sung by a well-known musical group in Senegal, «Masse 36». The video clip was produced by the Department of International Cooperation of the Piedmont Region and the objective is clear: to push young Senegalese people not to migrate to Europe. «Wanting a good life shouldn’t push you to sacrifice yourself», recalls the band on the image of a young man who, after having paid a smuggler, is preparing to get on a ship. «Ask – the Massa 36 chant to the rhythm of the music – how many of them remained, how many were rejected. Many went there without the possibility of returning home. They have neither documents nor work. They don’t have enough to send to their families. You play with your life.”
The clip is dedicated “to all the young people who have attempted to emigrate illegally” and was created as part of a ministerial tender for the implementation of international projects, in which the then Sergio Chiamparino council had participated.
The overall project – financed with 300 thousand euros – has allowed the creation of 52 small companies in Senegal, involving 800 young people. Within the same tender there was also the possibility, in addition to offering training courses, of creating a communication project.
And Alberto Cirio’s council – specifically the department of international cooperation directed by the Melonian Maurizio Marrone – did not miss the opportunity. Instead of focusing on simple slogans, we opted for a catchy song sung by a famous local band, to make the message even more incisive and have as wide an audience as possible.
The video ends with a warning: «Ask how many don’t have enough to send to their families. You left, you left what you are here, to look for it elsewhere. You’ve turned your back on your family and you’re not even sure you’ll return. Your mother can no longer eat well because of your departure, hoping to see you again one day.” Simple but direct words that radio and television stations in Senegal broadcast several times a day, in the hope of being able to give correct information and above all encourage young people to build a future in their own land, alongside their family.