UN-aligned has chosen Domenico Lucano as its Person of the Year 2021. The ex-mayor of the Italian town of Riace has been chosen for his vision regarding the integration of refugees into their destination of choice, while at the same time revitalising a dying town. Riace became a showcase of prosperity and integration and was hailed in 2016 by Fortune magazine as one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders.
On the 30th September 2021, Lucano was sentenced to 13 years in prison for abetting illegal migration. His “crimes” included awarding waste collection contracts to companies that were set up to help migrants look for work and arranging a marriage of convenience to help a Nigerian woman escape prostitution and find legal work. The accusation that he enriched himself in the process, seems contrived, considering he does not even have the funds to pay for his legal fees.
Why Domenico Lucano?
The most important fact is that he found the magic bullet. If the authorities were genuinely concerned about justice, why are they locking up his vision behind bars with him?
It is that vision we support and why we believe that his brave and visionary deeds in creatively supporting refugees should be highlighted. Moreover we believe that the 13 year sentence, almost twice the penalty the prosecution was pushing for, betrays a vendetta against the ideals he stands for, rather than alleged crimes he is charged with. After his conviction, Lucano told reporters:
“Today it all ends for me. There is no justice.”Our message to Domenico Lucano is that it does not end here. We will promote and publicise the good deeds you have done and we will be available in any way we can to help bring about that justice that seems to have eluded you.