Friday, 4 July 2014

boat-people or sacco and vanzetti

Leadership in the Italian navy has fears that terrorists may be trying to seek anonymously into Europe by migrant boats, refugee processing centres and camps having been over-whelmed for some time by the huge numbers of people fleeing strife and poverty in Africa. Thousands are risking their lives on a very difficult and dangerous journey across the Mediterranean to a safe haven island, and then, having survived, are greeted with an uncertain reception.

While this may turn out to be a tenably horrendous act, and it is an important warning—though European governments are not exactly blinded by magnanimity when it comes to immigration—warning the press on such concerns (aside from promulgating misconceptions, which might have contributed to mass egresses all over) seems to serve little purpose other than to galvanise public-opinion on the matter. Historically, the press and politicians have always made such claims about immigrant groups, sculpted to the fears of the times—being anarchists, atheists, communists or disease-ridden. Though reporting ought to take place and it certainly a prerequisite that receiving nations be able to care for and shelter those they take in with dignity, making a humanitarian crisis look to be an open, back-door invitation for terrorism seems just the latest incarnation of stereotyping and xenophobia. Though a generation or more has elapsed since colonial rule ended—meaning colonialism and empire in all its awful forms, it was the Pieds-Noirs hot-footing it out of their former mandates and leaving many of these lands in chaos.