Commentary. The true face of migration policies: organized production of violence and death along the borders to deter people on the move.

They’re letting people die to discourage those behind them

If we go beyond slogans – such as that of the Meloni government about the “Mattei plan for Africa,” of which we know nothing except the name – the facts of the matter are clear: support for dictatorships, wars unleashed in the name of democracy, savage exploitation of the natural and human resources of the migrants’ countries of origin. The supposed concerns for the living conditions of the inhabitants of those countries are empty words. The management of migration policies is a perfect demonstration of this reality.

No collaboration is being pursued with the countries of origin of the migrant flows or with transit countries that would aim to improve education or health systems, expand the guarantee of fundamental rights or protect the freedoms of citizens. For European countries – Italy first and foremost – only police measures aimed at putting obstacles in the path of migrating people seem to matter. These measures are unable to stop departures, but only make travel more difficult, longer and more dangerous.

No one would put their life in danger if they didn’t have to. Crossing the Sahara Desert or the Mediterranean Sea is not child’s play, and nobody does it for fun. Ten years after the October 2013 tragedies, we know that governments don’t care about preventing people fleeing their homelands from risking death at every step of their journey.

So many migrants are leaving from today’s destabilized Sahel countries. So many more do so as a consequence of the war in Libya, which brought us to this situation. Can we, Italy and Europe, really have the gall to deny these people any chance to rebuild their lives, to have a family, to enjoy rights, given that we are primarily responsible for their situation? It is inhuman and shameful.

We have decided to fund real concentration camps, where women, men and children are detained. Women forced into prostitution and all kinds of violence, young men forced into slave labor for the benefit of the same people who are being financed by Western governments.

And to top it all, we have even managed to criminalize those who save lives despite the too-many victims because of the absence of rescue at sea. This shows the true face of migration policies: organized production of violence and death along the borders to deter people on the move; and structural racism and segregation within our “area of freedom, security and justice” to create a second-class population to be exploited, in election campaigns as on the fields.

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