On Thursday July 15th, Italy has approved the renewal of funding toward Libya's coast guard. Italy is my home country. I am so proud of being Italian on many occasions, but when something like this happen, how could I - and many others like me - be proud?
It's not like decisions maker don't know what happens to people who flee from their countries. We all know that. We all have seen photos and videos. Journalists and media have talked about what happens in those detention camps. This decision has been made despite the fact that we all know. Decision makers have decided to stand with Libya's coast guard despite the fact that this means violating human rights on a daily basis.
The majority of the Chamber of Deputies approved renewed funding for a training program for Libya's coast guard as well as other Italian military missions abroad. Amnesty International has released a report which describes abuses perpetreted against refugees and migrants in Libya's detention camps. Let's not even talk about the fact that today, in 2021, there still are such detention camps. What's really outrageous is, again, how much we know and how little we do. Many people have taken to the streets to show their dissent yet many Italian coalition governments have supported the Libyan coast guard hoping to stop the arrival of people from North Africa on Italian coasts.
Thousands of migrants arrived in Italy in the past years and many of them haven't been found eligible for asylum by Italian authorities. Italy has tried to ask other European countries to help them hosting some of the migrants and refugees arriving on its shores, but those country have been unresponsive. Still, many people died in the Mediterranean sea and the no-profit rescue boat Sea Watch has recently reported about gun shots fired at a migrant boat by Libya's coast guard. The goal was to prevent those people from reaching Italian shores. The boats Libya's coast guard was using were donated by the Italian government to Libyan authorities, along with other tools, with the goal detain migrants from getting to Europe.
People, especially policy makers and politicians, seem to forget why these people flee. They flee because they are forced to leave their countries due to war and/or persecution. Most of them know the journeys on those boats can be dangerous or even fatal, yet they have no other choice than jumping on board and hope for the best. No parent would bring their child on those boats unless life on dry land was so dangerous. These aren't people who have decided to come to our countries and steal our jobs. They actually have no choice but to try to leave their countries and start a new life somewhere else. They wouldn't want to; they love their countries. They want to go back to their countries, but it's often impossible.
Again, Italian governement has showed us how humanity is failing. How can these politicians sleep at night? How can they play with their children and grandchildren? Do they think their kids are worth more than those on the migran boats? Do they think their own lives are worth more than those of those desperate people confined in Libya's detention camps? Amnesty International talks about more than 7.000 people that, in the first six months of 2021 alone, have been forcibly returned to Lybian camps. This means being forced back to torture, forced labor, inhuman detention conditions, cruelty, ill-treatment and extortion.
I think the main problem often is those who make decisions, those who'd have the power of actually changing things for the better and support and help refugees and migrants, don't actually see them as equals. They don't see them as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, workers, students, dreamers.... they don't see them as people who, like all of us, had lives and still have dreams, hopes and a lot of resilience and courage. There is no other way to explain all this. If policitians would actually see refugees and migrants as equals, they'd do anything in their power to help them. They wouldn't choose to turn their backs on them and they wouldn't still be able to sleep at night. They can't even hide behind the "I don't know what happens there" excuse because they know. We all know. Everyone who simply dismiss the information or says "It's not my problem", to me, is as guilty as they are.
Until there won't be a global understanding of each other and a willingness - including a political willingness - to actually change things to create a better world for everyone, and not for a handful of people at the expenses of many others, preventable and avoidable tragedies such as this one will still happen.
Notes: this is my personal opinion and doesn't reflect the ones of any NGO and/or individual mentioned in the blog post. Photos are taken from Google and their rights remain to their owners.
Welcome to my blog! Here I talk about social issues close to my heart, my opinions, ideas, books or movies I've particularly liked, ideas and interesting facts about my writings, places I've seen, people I've met, experinences I've had and I also have conversation with inspiring people. It basically is a little slice of my world.