Eight men from Africa step in front of the prison gate. It is a dark night and they look around expectantly. It is their first step into freedom, a moment for which they have been waiting for quite some time – the end of a journey during which they have faced more than human beings can bear: crossing the desert,the war in Libya, fleeing across the sea, people drowning, and then two years locked away in this high-security prison near Palermo, Sicily.
But now they are free, eight young men around 20 years of age, with narrow faces and thin beards, released after a judge handed down his verdict on this dark morning. And yet the feelings they had on the high seas are still with them, the feeling of being hunted and in danger, the inability to discern between good and bad. They have lost all sense of orientation. With their belongings – sneakers, jeans and some notebooks – stuffed into trash bags thrown over their shoulders, they glance up at the moon and then start walking toward a brighter patch in the sky, assuming the light comes from the city.