Chamseddine Marzoug is a Tunisian fisherman who buries the bodies of those die trying to cross the Mediterranean and end up on the shores of the country in a cemetery in southern Tunisia. He is on a visit to the EU Parliament.
''I began 10 years ago and I have picked up over 400 bodies'' in that time, said Chamseddine Marzoug, a 52-year-old fisherman from Zarzis, between Djerba and the Libyan border. ''I then gave them a proper burial.''
To simulate his work of collecting corpses along the canal near the EU Parliament building in Strasbourg, Marzoug chose a child's stuffed animal, took it out of the water, cleaned it and prepared it as tradition calls for in Tunisia: ankles and wrists bound and placed in a coffin. He put a number on the white casket corresponding to an estimate of the corpses he has taken from the sea and that could be useful if anyone were to come to get bodies, one day. So far only one family from Cameroon has gone to Zarzis to see if one of their relatives was along those found drowned off the Tunisian coast. ''If I were to find the body of a white person, then it would be a different story,'' Marzoug said. ''We would have all the media around and the Tunisian authorities worried about the death of a tourist. But since they are black, no one cares about them. The doctors records their death, writes down an estimated age and their gender and it ends there. The color of their skin condemns them to being unknown even in death.''