Is anyone here even aware of what is happening in Italy right now?
For about two months, Italy has been governed by a new right-wing government. The right-wing alliance together won 44% – led by the current prime minister and neo-fascist Giorgia Meloni. Meloni is quite open about her ties to the far right.
As one of its first official acts, Italy closed its ports to civilian rescue ships two weeks ago. At that time, several large ships were already operating in the Mediterranean and had many hundreds of rescued people on board, some for two weeks. We know the stories of how high the psychological strain is for people on board, some of whom have been severely traumatized: the more people are rescued, the more cramped the space on deck becomes, the more stories and experiences come together, and over everything hangs the constant fear of being taken back to Libya after all. Nevertheless, Italy began its sick game, played out on the backs of the rescued, allowed the ships into its ports to let the sick and children disembark, but sent the rest back to the open sea. Fortunately, the ship’s leaders showed great courage and refused.
In Germany, almost no one was interested in all this and there was hardly any news coverage. Where is the feminist foreign policy of Annalena Baerbock, who supposedly opposes violence and discrimination?
Meanwhile, last week another sea rescue organization successfully asked to be allowed to land in France to bypass Italy. The right-wing government in Italy promptly presented this as its success in getting rid of the first sea rescue ship in just a few weeks of government. France often claims to be a great ally state that likes to put the fascists in Italy in their place, but it directly stated that this action will remain a one-time exception, that it will not accept any more refugees from Italy for now and that it will strengthen its border controls to Italy. This morning we heard the first reports from the French-Italian border that every single car was controlled despite kilometer-long traffic jams. That escalated quickly.
Over the weekend, the Mediterranean states of Malta, Greece and Cyprus, already known for pushbacks, other violence and inhumane practices at the borders, drafted a joint letter under Italy’s leadership against civilian sea rescue – which, however, is only used as a symbol for the migration policy of the richer EU states, with which it is falsely thrown into the same pot by the fascists. This power struggle will soon have the same effect on flight movements and aid organizations on land.
The fight here is not about the rights of people fleeing, but about who is allowed (first) to seal themselves off against immigration and who is not. The border between France and Italy is thus becoming increasingly impassable for people who actually have a right to flee from war, poverty or injustice. We await the reports of the coming weeks from our comrades from Squat Yallah and the group Kesha Niya with great concern.