IN THE RADICAL PRESS / IL MANIFESTO
Welcome to the European Union: migrant marine cemeteries and concentration camps
By Tommaso Di Francesco
You can’t get into Fortress Europe. Less than 24 hours after the shipwreck in the Aegean of a boat of desperate migrants, which saw the deaths of at least sixty people, half of them children, yesterday there was another tragedy at sea off the coast of Italian island of Lampedusa, with many ‘missing’. Both this disaster and for the events in the Greek-Turkish sea involved desperate Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians, Palestinians and Tunisians fleeing poverty and war, including our own wars, ongoing conflicts and inconclusive revolts.
For Italy it is a ‘traditional’ tragedy, for Greece a novelty. There the fierce internal crisis, the draconian dictates of the Troika and the carefully constructed strategy of violence by the xenophobic and neo-Nazi movements, has made anti-immigration policies yet more cruel with massive expulsions and the now common practice of detention camps. With the help of a diligent Turkey which, in an attempt to be befriended by the European Union, has militarized the land border with Greece and the EU at the river Evros.
There is only one route now to escape from despair – to venture into the sea, with precarious means of travel, at the mercy of people smugglers.
All this is happening in surreal harmony with the euphoria of governments, stock exchanges and markets over the decision of the ECB to make unlimited bond purchases to safeguard financial speculation in European Union countries. It ‘s the anti-spread prescription disliked by the Bundesbank. What is certain is that this move is designed to save a system based only on the paper economy (euro and stock exchange transactions).
And, in order to preserve the power of the banks, which are now beyond any democratic norm, there are strict requirements for social exclusion that are hurting our citizens. Beyond the last minute firework display orchestrated by Angela Merkel, this is a a failure of a Europe founded on rights, a victory of markets, to enrich a few and starve the majority (116 million Europeans are at risk of poverty, according the European Commission).
But paying the price now are not only the working class, the unemployed, the young, the powerless in the Old Continent, along with the battered welfare system. Literally dying of this exclusion from the wealth of the few, and this cancellation of the rights of all, are migrants. The new pariahs, the wretched of the earth who are denied every opportunity. The only choice is the daily hovering between life and death.
An immense marine cemetery of thousands and thousands of drowned immigrants spreads out in the Mediterranean and the Aegean. The bitter fruit of a continental barbed wire fence and a string of concentration camps, built, with democratic backing in Europe, stretching from Spain through Gibraltar, passing by Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and onto Turkey, Greece and Slovenia. Forget about the Berlin Wall. Welcome to the European Union: to migrant marine cemeteries and concentration camps. This Western crime, this crime for all to see, is the real incurable spread.
Translation by Revolting Europe