On March 18. 2016, it will be four years since that day. The EU signed a joint action plan with Turkey, which included, as a first objective, the generalised pushback of “all new undocumented migrants and asylum seekers” into Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s country, hereby conveniently defined as “safe third country”. This was what put an end to the right to asylum, as well as an end to its founding principles, such as the ban on collective pushback, especially when this pushback would take the displaced individuals back to countries where their basic human rights would not be protected. On the one hand, the EU did not consider this head of state fit to join the Union, due to the structural problems of Turkish democracy, but clearly, he was deemed fit to take care of the lives and deaths of millions of displaced people, who were fleeing some of the worst wars of the last decades, such as those in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
That joint plan worked as a model, further South, for Italy’s agreement with Lybia — this agreement was also signed by the so-called progressive politicians of EU states, in this case, Matteo Renzi, who was Italy’s prime minister at the time.
Women, children and men, used as cannon fodder, their position exploited by all parties while they are subject to gunshots from national police forces on the one hand, and the violence of Neonazi groups on the other.
Meanwhile, the EU rants contradicting itself, speaking of closing its own borders and of respecting human rights, as if denying asylum seekers weren’t one of the worst possible human rights violations per se.
Billions of Euros are spent every day to organise and maintain a system that outsources EU’s dirty work to bordering countries; billions of Euros are invested to militarise borders against innocent individuals, whose only crime is trying to find their place in this world. All this while it would be so much cheaper to open those borders and welcome these displaced people with dignity, redistributing them among member States, and taking away the power of Erdoğan’s to the East, and of the Lybian militias to the South, to use these people as pawns in their blackmailing schemes. The rightwing, ranting about the motherland and security, both in Italy and Europe, exploiting even the COVID-19 epidemic, as a good reason to legitimise border violence.
This version of Europe and its policies is leaving only ruins and hatred as its legacy. What can be built from on ruins and hatred, then?
Not even when faced with the evidence of the massacre by Greek police of unarmed individuals does this version of Europe manage to clearly condemn the violence. After all, Greece is merely implementing the policies that Europe imposed — using national sovereignty in the only way possible: against people, and to defend the continent’s border. The same sovereignty that amounted to nothing when it was time to defend the rights of Greek people against the austerity measures imposed by the European investment banks is today hailed as “Europe’s shield.” Greece, like all Mediterranean European states, are only allowed to play the role of border guards. Whenever they step out of this mould, they turn into a weight for those political and business group that took the idea of Europe as hostage. And the same happens to non European countries: Lybia, just on the other side of the Mediterranean, with its well known concentration camps, was chosen as the southern border of Europe.
We have invented Lybian sovereignty and given it to a puppet regime run by militias and jihadis. We left a country already battered to a civil war fought by gangs, to a proxy war over the control of the country’s oil. And the so-called Lybian sovereignty has one and only function: exercising violence and control over harmless people that are only trying to reach a place to live in peace.
Let’s rise against this to reaffirm once again, in every way we can, that humans must come before any political or financial evaluation.
That the only real solution is to create European human corridors to open those borders to the women, men and children that were shamefully closed with barbed wire — that wire that instantly recalls Auschwitz and its horror.
Enough is enough, there is no end to the shame and the cruelty of the European heads of state and the European institutions. Those borders and those tortured bodies are there to show us the death of the very idea of any possible future for Europe. Europe is not an exercise of power by a group of states that work against human rights and the rights of people. We shall not be complicit, we will not remain indifferent. We will practise every day in our daily lives those human rights that today are being held captive, completely illegally and utterly illegitimately.
We want to take back life, beauty, solidarity and justice — on land, and at sea.