The mainstream newspapers are worrying that Europe would be unable to cope with the influx of another million refugees, like that of 2015. However, no one is asking themselves why Turkey (an emerging economy, but in the depths of a crisis) should be able to cope with no less than 3.5 million.
There is only one answer: because—and only because—Turkey is a dictatorship disguised as an authoritarian democracy. And it is a dictatorship that the European Union needs in order to keep enacting its rejection policies. Just as, on another front, it needs to entrust the management of these same policies to the Libyan armed gangs with whom it has become allied.
In both cases, Europe has placed itself at the mercy of these “allies”: Erdogan’s “blackmail” began on the very day of the signing of the notorious 2016 agreement with a European Commission fully aware of the consequences. These included having to accept without a word of protest the ferocious repression against the Kurds, inside and outside the national borders of Turkey; the Turkish military presence in Tripoli—in defense of the government with which Italy signed an agreement on the rejection of the refugees headed towards it—the support given by Erdogan to the jihadist militias (the very opposite of the fight against terrorism!) and his occupation of half of the Mediterranean to extract oil and gas, while Italy and Europe continue to sell him weapons (as Turkey is still a NATO member) and lend him soldiers to actually operate them. On the other hand, trade with Turkey is flourishing and its labor force is cheap—especially when it consists of refugee children.
As long as things keep going this way, there will be no real showdown: only local “skirmishes” at the expense of tens of thousands of desperate people, with the role of reminding Europe of who actually has the upper hand. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Greek-Turkish border, Europe is showing the cruelty and cynicism underlying its migration policies.
What is truly horrifying is not only the conditions—worse than inhuman—to which it is condemning the refugees crowded on the islands of the Aegean Sea; or the free hand given by the Greek police to the Nazis from Golden Dawn in their attacks on refugees and volunteers; or the deployment of soldiers, militias and barbed wire along the land borders; but rather the fact that the President of the European Commission, on a visit to those very borders, called Greece and its migration policies the “shield of Europe”—almost as if a second “front line of containment” should be set up if the Turkish one were to fall.
Furthermore—in a derogation from its austerity policies, abandoned only theoretically up to now—the Union, with its Frontex agency, is now allocating hundreds of millions and an entire fleet to Greece—after they starved it for years as a direct result of the ferocity and greed of the EU’s economic policies—in order to strengthen the defense of its borders. Sovereignist policy, which is in reality racist and ferociously authoritarian, has taken over the governance of the Union via the Trojan horse of refoulement policies, without any concern about the consequences.
There is a whole population of people—hundreds of thousands of desperate people today, but destined to grow because of war and the climate crisis triggered by the governments and economic interests of the countries that don’t want to welcome them—that is flocking to their borders.
These are people who could not stay and cannot return to the countries from which they have fled; who cannot stay in the country to which they have fled, be it Turkey, Bosnia, Croatia or Libya; who cannot enter the countries that are their destination, and who are rejected, mistreated, hungry, cold and desperate everywhere. And this is the message being sent to all of them, and to those who will follow them: that there is no more space for them on this Earth.
The consequence—which no one is willing to openly contemplate, but which will soon present itself before us—is that they must be eliminated.
Just over the horizon, we can glimpse, more and more concrete, the prospect of another “final solution”—no longer entrusted to industrial organizational structures such as those of the Nazi extermination camps, but, for now, left up to the simple decision to ignore the designated victims.
It is becoming more and more difficult to stop this tendency, but it is high time for everyone to realize just how much it has advanced during these years, what its inevitable outcome is, and, above all, the fact that violence towards “the other” is destined to hit back at us with a vengeance.
This is because everyone—us included—can find themselves classed as “the other”: first of all, by those who are already governing or dominating us today. This is why we must conceive a real alternative (today) and then propose, pursue and realize it (tomorrow).
It can only begin from the premise that in Europe there can be, and must be, room for everyone (just as there was room “for everyone” from the end of the Second World War to the crisis of 2008, when the strong countries of Europe, pursuing different economic and social policies, were able to absorb more than one million migrants per year).
And we must be aware of the fact that a dignified welcome, social integration and decent work are also a prerequisite, and an indispensable condition, for a policy of pacification and rehabilitation of the countries from which so many have had to flee, and to which many of them dream of nothing more than returning one day.