The Pilgrim's Progress

NICK CORNISH for TIME

NEW BEGINNING: Abdi Salan was almost dead when he arrived on the island; now he works for a charity on Lampedusa helping other new arrivals

August was not the first time I'd wondered about Abdi Salan. Every news report from Lampedusa over the past three years had been an instant reminder of the young Somali who'd landed in 2003 on that tiny Italian island — a dusty, sun-drenched slab of terrain south of Sicily that's among the prime European destinations for illegal-immigrant traffickers. But the news report this August recorded the deaths of more than 60 would-be immigrants off Lampedusa's shores in two successive incidents — a tragedy almost on the scale of Abdi Salan's landfall.

Abdi Salan Mohammed Hassan was one...

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