Europe contributed with its colonialism, postcolonialism, recent military interventions and proxy wars to the backwardness and conflicts in its periphery of North Africa and Middle East for the last two centuries, now she has to do something first of all for the humanitarian catastrophe and then for the stabilization of the region…by will or by force. Until Europe will not start foreign policies with long vision and will not stand up to its role of real regional power, helping the countries in the south of Mediterranean to develop with security, there will be more suffering like the recent tragedy, where almost one thousand people died.
For every shipmaster the obligation to render assistance at sea in normal, and for Italian Cost Guard too, also because we have a geography and history made on the sea….but for the EU is not the same, that is why Frontex, the new program of the EU for the refugee crisis, complains often about rescues outside our territorial waters. The point is: does the EU understand that this is an epochal event that cannot be restricted to rules of frontiers? The actions of the Italian Cost Guard and now also of Medici Senza Frontiere going outside territorial waters near Libya to rescue who is calling for help is like going directly to Libya to help them, as nobody is trying to solve the conflicts in that country and in the others, that finally have been created by us…
There is no way EU can build bridges for millions of people from Africa and Middle East in the next decades…it is unsustainable. But the EU at least can think strategically and act wisely in three direction. Emergency rescue is the first one, but is not going to be enough, it is just a temporary solution. Secondly we need a new refugee policy (with long term integration plans for a new force that the immigrants could represent for Europe in crisis). And finally, but this has to be done with all the international community that is also absent or not fully engaged (in primis the UN): new mediation efforts to solve the conflicts that we fueled and new foreign policies to foster structural development of those regions in the long run. There is no easy solution but these are important paths to follow. For now, as the political will languishes, the EU just thinks about emergency, but unfortunately it is again with the fortress idea. Fighting the traffickers is not going to change the need of millions of people to escape from wars and poverty. The EU doesn’t speak about rescue, protection, shelter or immigration policies. Just bomb the boats before they leave. This is like confuse the causes with the effects. Traffickers and boats are not the causes, are the effects of the problems of conflicts and poverty the people are living.
We are not going far, and I see decades of troubles in front of us…as Gramsci said we need the pessimism of the intelligence and the optimism of the will. May God welcome those perishing in the water, who from hopeless became hopeful for a short time. They were just looking for a better life.