Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Italian naval, Coast Guard, Guardia di Finanza and merchant vessels succeeded in rescuing over 2,100 migrants in the Mediterranean on Sunday night and in the early hours of Monday. The migrants were rescued from 13 dinghies that had sailed from Libya and the news that Italian coast guards were threatened by gunmen during the operation has made world headlines:  it seems that four armed men on a speedboat threatened the coast guards, who go out to rescue operations unarmed, and ordered them to leave the migrant boat they were dealing with alone once it had been emptied of its human cargo. In the interest of saving human life, the coast guards did so.

The rescued migrants have been taken to safety on Lampedusa and in Pozzallo, where one of them, a young man with gunshot wounds, said that people traffickers had caused his injuries whilst forcing him onto a departing boat.  

There have been many calls since Monday for migrant departures from Libya to be stopped but no one knows how this could be done. One suggestion is that blocking the departures would be a by-product of any Italian military action in Libya but Prime Minister Renzi has firmly said that such an intervention would be a matter for the UN.  I must say that I perceive a lack of logic in the West's attitude to the crisis: if we are all agreed upon the horror and barbarity of certain régimes and organisations, then how can we blame people for trying to escape them?

Fear is also raising its head here as rumours of  missiles in Libya being pointed at Sicily spread and I was glad to read some sense in an interview in today's Giornale di Sicilia with Andrea Margelletti, president of the Centro Studi Internazionali-Ce.S.I. and a former adviser at the Ministry of Defence, who says that these missiles do not exist. I would add that everyone seems to have forgotten that Sicily has Sigonella!

Another worry that is receiving a lot of press coverage is that there might be extremists among the migrants attempting the dangerous crossing. It would be naive to think that this is impossible but the British experience shows that extremism is more likely to flourish amongst those who find no hope in the West, whether they were born here or have immigrated. The table in this article would appear to show that Italy has a good record in looking after migrant arrivals, but the figures are misleading and probably reflect the fact that few migrants wish to stay in Southern Europe. I will end by quoting Andrea Margelletti again:

"They [the migrants] come ashore in their underwear. What harm can they do?"


annechung said...

They can later be radicalized but we can't tell who is going to be. Some of those radicalized were native born, not refugees or asylum seekers. I would think if we had taken such a dangerous trip to come here, I would do my best to thrive. I am myself an immigrant and am grateful to the US for the opportunities.

Sabine said...

Thank you for bringing this to our attention again and again.

Whispering Walls said...

The extremist idea sounds like propaganda to get more support from the EU/UN.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Anne. Yes, I did say that some of those who become extremists were born in the West. I am sure that many are h
grateful to be here, too. Thank you, Sabine, Hi, WW. Or it's an attempt to create chaos.


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