barbed wire wall at the boarder Serbia / Hungary

With the forgotten at the borders of Europe

Davide Pignata, 25, is the head of a humanitarian project, monitoring the flows of migrants on the hottest border crossings. He is a member of DIALOP, graduate of the Sophia university institute at Loppiano (Italy). Right now he is performing an internship at transform!europe.

Photos by: Francesco Cibati
Photo descriptions: Davide Pignata, barbed wire wall at the border Serbia / Hungary, informal encampments in Northern Serbia

Davide Pignata

Davide Pignata, who are you?

I am a philosophy major and graduate student in civil and sustainable economics at Sophia University. Since October 2022, I have been the contact person for ASCS’s Borders project, which aims to expand ASCS’s presence at the hot borders of European migration routes. Alongside this project, I am doing an internship with Tranform!europe (leftist partner of Dialop), with a focus on migration to the European continent.

You are also a member of the group of young researchers of the DIALOP platform. What are you doing at the moment?

I have been a member of the DIALOP platform since July 2021, when I participated in the network Symposium in Cadiz. But it all started earlier, when, during my first year at Sophia University, some professors involved in DIALOP told me about it. Having studied philosophy and having always been interested in Marxian thought, the possibility of actively participating in a dialogue project between Christians and Marxists immediately fascinated me. In June 2022 we, young researchers (there are post-doc, phd and master’s students) and activists involved in Dialop, had the chance to present our researches to senior counterparts (members of the scientific board) in Vienna. Most interestingly, papers coming from christian discussants were commented by leftist specialists. We soon have the desire to organise more dialogue seminars following the example of Vienna. The first seminar will be with papers coming from leftists with christian discussants.

barbed wire wall at the boarder Serbia / Hungary

Many people are concerned about the huge problem of migrants in Europe, but mostly for their own security. How did you make up your mind to go work on the field?

In a very spontaneous way. Five years ago I had my first experience in this field in Puglia, in southern Italy, where thousands of non-Italian people are exploited in tomato harvest. The low price of the bottle of tomato sauce on our tables is the consequence of exploitation at the bottom of the production chain. After this first experience, I felt it was imperative to continue my involvement in this area. In the case of migration towards Europe we see a policy of militarization and externalisation of borders. It is necropolitics, as Achille Mbembe called it. Again, as a privileged European citizen, I feel involved in what is happening and try to act against it.

informal encampments in Nord Serbia

What are your personal experiences with this project? And what is your goal?

 So far I have been in some border areas of European migration routes, with the aims to (i) monitor the condition of people on the move (ii) collaborate with local associations and activists in border areas and (iii) raise the awareness of civil society, in particular young people, on the policies of externalisation and militarization of borders operated by the countries of the European Union. So far I have been in Subotica, on the border between Serbia and Hungary; In Trieste, between Italy and Slovenia; in Bolzano and Innsburck, between Italy and Austria; in Oulx and Briançon, between Italy and France; and in Calais, between France and the United Kingdom.

You are actually making a concrete dialogue experience with the Left. You yourself declare as a Christian, right? Can you say some words on this cooperation?

I declare myself as a Christian. At the same time I consider myself very close to the political positions of the radical left. I don’t think these two things collide, certainly not on the operational level. In the projects we did together, I never felt a difference in the goals and methods.

How long will you work for this project?

At least one year for the ASCS project. The internship with Tranform!europe will end at the end of April.

On Feb. 22nd 2023 the Presentation and Discussion of the book “Sconfinate Frontiere”(Boundless Frontiers): The Unprecedented Analysis of the Migration Phenomenon, took place in Rome.

Katerina Anastasiou of transform!europe was invited as a supporter of the book project, which was published by CSER (Centro Studi Emigrazione Roma), in collaboration with ASCS (Agenzia Scalabriniana per la Cooperatione Allo Sviluppo). This association promotes the project of Davide Pignata.

See the book presentation on youtube:

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