‘It’s a Joy for Me to Bury Them’: A Quest to Honor Migrant Dead

12:08 AM Aida Alami 0 Comments

 NADOR, Morocco — For months, Boubacar Wann Diallo could not sleep at night without leaving a light on.

As an occasional volunteer with AlarmPhone, a hotline support group for people crossing between Morocco and Europe, he was haunted by the phone calls he received all too often from desperate women and children screaming as they were swallowed by the sea during storms and shipwrecks.

But even that, terrible as it was, was not what disturbed his sleep the most. What gave him the worst nightmares were the unidentified bodies that washed up on the beaches around Nador, a city on the Mediterranean coast in northern Morocco, which were then piled up unclaimed in the local morgue. He vowed to make it his life’s work to see that they received proper burials.

“It’s a joy for me to bury them,” Mr. Wann Diallo said recently outside the entrance to the morgue, which bears a line from the Quran: “To Allah we belong, and to him is our return.”

“I want to give closure to the families,” he said. “It makes me feel good. It hurts me when people are buried without their relatives. I put myself in their place.

You can read the rest of the story on the New York Times’ website: 


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