What will Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti say now? Will he say anything? Or will he shrug his shoulders, just like a few days ago when the U.N. criticized Italy in harsh terms for their deals with Libya?
And what about Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni? Will he act like nothing happened? He who just returned from an African tour, where he promised investments in exchange for putting the brakes on migration?
The accusations by Amnesty International, released Tuesday in their report entitled ”Libya’s dark web of collusion,” reported everywhere in the press, are both terrible and well-supported.
The European governments — all the E.U. governments — have knowingly been complicit in the abuses and crimes committed by the Libyan authorities against tens of thousands of migrants illegally detained in Libya.
The European governments are aware of the appalling conditions in which migrants are detained, and therefore know about the rapes, torture and killings (it would be surprising if they didn’t, with all the intelligence and special operations forces operating in Libya). Moreover, they are collaborating with the sophisticated system of exploitation of refugees and migrants. This is not just an indirect collaboration, but active support, such as in the case of the Ras Jadir, the ship donated by Italy to the Libyan Coast Guard, which was responsible in November for a maneuver that led to the drowning of an unknown number of migrants.
The Europeans have set up the grotesque Frontex system, responsible for patrolling the land and sea borders of the union, which has withdrawn its ships to port, lest they rescue anyone. They lavished money on Italy — several hundred million euros — for playing the role of a marine sentry and managing the relationships with the Libyans, just as they funded Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to take back Syrian refugees and intern them in camps known for their inhumane conditions. In short, the Europeans have implemented a strategy for the containment and deterrence of migration up to the point of active collaboration with torturers and war criminals (as well as regular ones).
Now, if Europe is collaborating directly with those who commit crimes against humanity, Europe is responsible for crimes against humanity. There is no avoiding this truth.
Amnesty’s accusations put forward allegations that none of us can ignore. Neither can the government, which has to give an answer and do it fast, as it is the main protagonist of the Libyan strategy. Neither can the Italian president, who is also a guarantor for the manner in which the human beings affected by Italian immigration policies are treated. Neither can the judiciary, which has the duty to intervene in a matter of government action if they have reports of crimes committed.
Up to now, some prosecutors have shown zeal and candor only when they were accusing the NGOs of collusion with human traffickers, giving the impression of acting in full support of the government. Like Trapani’s prosecutors, who seized the ship Juventa belonging to the Jugend Rettet NGO, or like Zuccaro, the infamous chief prosecutor of Catania, who repeatedly accused the NGOs of making deals with the pilots of the migrants’ crafts, only to say afterwards that he had no evidence and that these allegations were only ”working hypotheses.”
We at the il manifesto have been writing about these things, saying them out loud, and denouncing them from the very beginning. And we would like to know what Senate President Pietro Grasso thinks of this, given that he is now a political leader of the Left on the national level, and that on the matter of these tragedies he must rise up to the occasion not only on an institutional level, like he has done so far, but at the level of a movement.
And most of all, we want to know what former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has to say about it — he who wanted to ”help migrants get home.” And what the right honorable Mr. Di Maio has to say, the jovial candidate for Prime Minister of the 5 Star Movement who attacked the NGOs as being ”water taxis.” Now, we are calling on those whose minds have not been clouded by the fear of an invasion of foreigners — to make yourselves heard, to raise your voice. Because, if our country is guilty of crimes against humanity and we remain silent, we share the responsibility for them ourselves.
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Your weekly briefing of progressive news.