San Papier, the patron saint of undocumented migrants

Image

In Southern Italy, Catholic monotheism often turns into not-too-orthodox forms of quasi-polytheism via the worshipping of a plethora of saints, blessed people and spiritual guides. Every city, town and village has its own patron saint (San Gennaro, Saint Januarius, in Naples; Santa Rosalia in Palermo; San Nicola, Saint Nicholas, in Bari), celebrated once a year in great pomp and splendor. Then there are patron saints for specific occupations (San Giuseppe, Saint Joseph, for example, is the patron saint of carpenters) and others for specific calls or functions (Santa Lucia, Saint Lucy, is the patron saint of eyes and eyesight). It was only a matter of time until irregular migrants found their patron saint, too.

Enter San Papier, the patron saint of migrants without visas! The name is a delightful pun combining San, Italian for saint, with sans papier, French for undocumented.

San-Papier

The image appeared online at some point during 2009 and then was adopted during the ‘migrants’ strike’ of 1 March 2010. My favourite version is the one provided by the Comboni missionaries (Association Black and White) based in Castel Volturno, Caserta – there is even a prayer, asking for the abrogation of the crime of irregular migration…

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The 2007 Italy – Egypt readmission agreement * in English and Italian

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

The Cooperation agreement on readmission between the government of the Italian Republic and the government of the Arab Republic of Egypt (“Accordo di cooperazione fra il governo della Repubblica Italiana e il governo della Repubblica Araba di Egitto in materia di riammissione”) was signed in Rome on 9 January 2007 and entered into force on 25 April 2008.

According to the Italian Ministry of Interior, responding to a Parliamentary question, the agreement was still being applied in August 2013.

The Italian and English texts of the agreement were published online by terrelibere.org in September 2013.

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Download the 2007 Cooperation agreement on readmission between the government of the Italian Republic and the government of the Arab Republic of Egypt in English (PDF)

Scarica l’ Accordo di cooperazione fra il governo della Repubblica Italiana e il governo della Repubblica Araba di Egitto in materia di riammissione in italiano (PDF)