Starting from 2007 Italy has received close to 800 million euros to manage the problem of migration.
This comes close to 14% of the total European budget made available to front the problem of people coming into Europe from Africa across the Mediterranean, looking for a chance to live.
At the time of Gaddafi, Berlusconi’s government had struck a deal with Libya to involve the Libyan government in the management of this wave of illegal migration; in exchange for a hefty sum of money, Gaddafi set up camps on the borders were most of those trying to cross over illegally were detained.
We liked that a lot because it worked – we would turn the other way about how it worked and what was the destiny that the people held in Gaddafi camps had to face, we only cared about the fact that they wouldn’t try to come here to take the little that seemed to be left for us, be that jobs or the chance to beg in the streets; when Austerity aka Misery becomes a National Anthem we can’t expect people to be concerned or generous about the survival of others, everyone is out to protect their own and their family’s survival and we can’t make space for others in our mind, hearts or on our land.
For years we praised the good results of the migration policy under Berlusconi, as I said, that didn’t mean that we had handled the problem effectively, it meant we didn’t have to, because someone else did, away from our eyes and consciences.
Gaddafi was an intelligent man, I can’t say if he did or didn’t do many of the horrible things for which he was charged and tried by the American government (which would best look at home for problems to solve with over 40 million and rising poor -many of which happen to be children), what I can say is that he did take care of his people, he gave them for free most of the things we are still dreaming about: free housing (yeap, this terrorist believed housing was a human right and that one’s house could not be owned by anyone else), Education and medical treatment were free, free electricity, cheap oil, free water and the rest you can read it here.
At the time of his government he asked 5 billion euro a year to manage the problem of migration. Obviously such money were not necessary to set up contention camps, no, it would be used to create living conditions from which people wouldn’t desire to flee from. At the time Europe said what he asked was a bit steep but he said
“We don’t know what will be the reaction of the white and Christian Europeans faced with this influx of starving and ignorant Africans,” the Libyan leader told a Rome meeting attended by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister. “We don’t know if Europe will remain an advanced and united continent or if it will be destroyed, as happened with the barbarian invasions.”
Obviously this is a point that the do-gooders don’t want to talk about, the point of the low quality migration we are faced with at the moment, we want to talk about human lives being equally worthy, and they should be, but they are so very not at the moment.
People who are born in war ravaged countries, who have missed out on their chances to be educated and build a life for themselves are now becoming everyone’s problem, as it should be, because their existences, their lowness in the ladder of this money-worth world has been intentional. No one can believe that third world countries are still developing, development is a process that has a timeline, when we are faced with a “forever third country reality”, we have to accept that we have designed some countries to be third, so we could be first, there is no other reason for it. Instead of supporting their growth, we have gone over them like the pests of the Apocalypse, never satisfied we had done enough damage and never willing to take responsibility for what we had done.
Now, this slice of left-over humanity is coming to claim their dues, we are mistakenly assuming they are stealing from us because we forgot how, what and for how long we have been stealing from them, turning a resource rich country, like Africa, into an economic wasteland by transforming by magic their real resources into numbers on some Banks spreadsheet, attempting to prove they are our debtors for imaginary benefits they never received, as Bishop Tutu said
I don’t want to call that ‘life’ a Life worth living, because at the moment very few Europeans are enjoying one of these, but we have enough to live, we can buy food (not as good as the one we were accustomed to), pay for rent (barely in some cases) and we can keep hoping that a job will come up some way or another – we have been told we need to be creative, that it is our responsibility if we are unable to reinvent ourselves but these are the usual excuses the system uses to show that it’s the fault of the weaker if they are unsuitable for a living. Yes because a job nowadays translates into being enabled to ‘make a living’, the living that we decided had to be earned and that we sustained as everyone’s right (the earning part) -in theory- until we realized what having to EARN a Living really means.
Now that we find ourselves unable to ‘make a living’ what do you know, we are starting to to consider that Life should have always been Given and not Earned and we are now competing in Wars Among Poor for those that can secure their right to survive – while the others I am afraid – will have to die. What else?
Obviously in this climate of ‘not enoughness’ we can’t conceive having our borders open to people who are way worse off than we are, so, instead of looking at this problem as a global problem, what we do is discriminate among those that are making the ‘Hope trip’ across the Mediterranean to decide if they are worthy of this chance to live – or not, we have to assess if they have suffered enough for things we consider worthy of a second chance, we have listed Wars and Genocide and Torture as reasons that will grant Asylum to those fleeing their countries but we don’t want to include Poverty and Misery and Women’s abuses in the list because frankly, that means we’ll have to take them all in and we can’t afford to do that, there just isn’t enough to go around, reason why xenophobia is rising and very subtly encouraged by some political parties that see this as their Trojan Horse into Parliament.
No one cares about the people coming in, we don’t care about their lives, their stories, what made them flee their home country to come to inhospitable Italy and the rejecting rest of Europe, we just want to know – do you have the right to seek Asylum or are you just trying to get a piece of our pie because you decided you had enough of not eating or seeing your kids go to bed hungry at night or to be unable to pay for their medicines or education because We want to be clear, we won’t bloody stand for that.
The new European legislation is supporting the sinking of the boats to stop ‘the human trafficking and people being exploited’, I would like to point out that that trip comes as the last -if at all- act of exploitation in the mind of those that do somersaults to put together the money for a passage across the sea, no one that is not desperate would make that trip, ask yourself if you would board an unsafe, overcrowded fishing boat -with no toilets or water- for a hefty price as a lottery to a new life. Bet you would not.
In my view what we are doing is insane, maybe that’s why we talk about Asylum when talking about granting some – but not all the right to stay, we are not offering Asylum, we are The Asylum, in the sense of a mad house and before calling those that are offering passages across the sea ‘criminals’, we should take a hard look at ourselves and ask the question ‘how did Africa become so poor’, take an inventory of how we contributed to their demise and then look for solutions that INCLUDE our direct responsibility.
One solution is to guarantee a living to All across the world, no matter how highly we think of ourselves, we can rest assured that many are crying at the thought of having to join Our Asylum for their last chance to survive and that they would gladly stay in their home countries with their families if they only could, so the solutions of sinking boats and going after the criminal ‘migrants exploiters’ are just convenient smoke in our eyes, we were the first exploiters and we should be the first to step in to repair the damage we have done, not with guns – with money.
Check out our solution for a world that works for All, a guaranteed Living is a choice that we can make to support each other, it’s not an unattainable dream, we just need to wake up from the fairy tale called Economics and rewrite this system to consider giving to each other what we would like for ourselves, and if a Life is not top of our list, we must rearrange our priorities until it is, because without A Life, what are we even talking about?
Become part of the Solution, Life doesn’t have to be this hard for us or anyone else, fighting among poor won’t make anyone better off, Unity, Consideration for Each Other and our Common, Shared Needs – will.
Stand up and be counted for a Life-Giving System Change. Giving a Life to each other is within our grasp, Let’s Make It Happen.