The illegal crossing from Tunisia to Italy on a boat is once again told as an “exciting journey on the high seas”. The tone that a Tunisian influencer with 140,000 followers strikes on Tiktok is typical of social narratives that push for imitation in order to gain followers. And this is the sharpest criticism levelled at Khaimah Ben Mahmoude, a 21-year-old Tunisian woman who probably arrived in Italy in December. The fear that there might be young people who are willing to emulate this is great, also because Khaimah Ben Mahmoude himself imitated the “gestures” of her compatriot Sabee al Saidi.
Illegal boat trips to Europe as a reality show in North Africa
Is there an agenda? Is there a plan behind the social stories about dangerous Mediterranean crossings to Italy? The question arises involuntarily when one sees the videos posted on the Internet, which seem to want to normalize a practice that, on the contrary, should be combated. Since Sabee al Saidi, the illegal trips aboard the ferries have become a reality show.
Together with Khaimah Ben Mahmoude, who was perfectly made up, there were about 20 people on board a wooden boat. Among them was another young influencer, presumably her boyfriend, who has over 600,000 followers on TikTok. He also published a video of the crossing. On the boat were lots of young people with modern smartphones and fashionable clothes, smiling and obviously not worried about the crossing.
The videos were shared with music in the background on social media and now have more than a million views. They were shared on December 16 and 17, and if you scroll through the news reports of these days, there are reports of several arrivals to Lampedusa. In particular, a boat with 18 people on board, including a woman and a minor, was disembarked on the island on 15 December. If you compare the video images, this seems to be the boat on which Khaimah Ben Mahmoude was traveling.
Migration propaganda via social media
As Dagospia reports, the 21-year-old said she was forced to leave Tunisia because she earned little more than 100 euros as a hairdresser in her country. The message these videos and stories convey is disturbing. These videos smack of migration propaganda and portray a dangerous and illegal journey as something safe. The pictures show young people in good health and well dressed. In Tunisia, a controversy has long since broken out, in our country they continue to ignore the fact that on the other side of the Mediterranean there are situations like this, which further promote illegal departure from the coasts and feed the traffickers.