Waiting in Ventimiglia

Gosia Wozniacka international, storytelling

When I visited the French-Italian border on the Mediterranean coast, I was shocked by what I saw… hundreds of young boys huddled on the beach, all staring at the sea. I still remember their confused, dejected eyes. I knew I had to write about them. The locals told me of Frenchmen in mountain villages above Italy aiding these boys, as well as women and children – a sort of French Underground Railroad. For this, they were condemned by the state, detained and brought to court. At press time, the results of their appeals were still unknown. Now we know: university professor Pierre-Alain Mannoni received a two-month suspended prison sentence on appeal, while farmer Cedric Herrou a four-month suspended prison sentence. Herrou was also again detained and placed under house arrest. Read about why these two Frenchmen risked – and continue to risk – their livelihoods and more in my story for the Pacific Standard magazine.

 

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