On Friday, as Italy declared a day of mourning for the souls lost at sea and local fishermen threw wreaths into the waters, it struck me how much Australia’s heart seems to have hardened to the plight of those less fortunate.
You mean, they aren’t quite so happy to accept economic migrants ad infinitum? How strange.
Might it be because they aren’t part of a huge union that knows there’s a good chance any people they accept will try to head straight for more generous member states like the UK?
I remember too my mortification when I described the Lampedusa arrivals facility as a detention centre –the director corrected me with palpable annoyance: “These poor desperate people come to us, to Europe to find a new life and to find succor. This is a centro d’accoglimento (a welcome centre)” .
Well, how nice. Do the people of Italy get a say in that?
Laura Boldrini, the centre left MP and speaker in the Italian parliament, flew to Lampedusa on Friday to express her nation’s condolences and declare solidarity with those who survived and those who rescued them. As she spoke, the humanity and potency of her political rhetoric expressed a rare, internationalist viewpoint that tries to see beyond national borders and past the notion of migration as a security issue.
How nice for you. Oh, isn’t it a shame that no-one in power agrees with her (and you)?
Boldrini is adamant that this kind of migration cannot be solved with criminalisation and repressive measures and that the language of leaders’ must express humanity: “It is unthinkable that someone who flees wars or death will stop in front of the hypothesis of a crime.”
‘Humanity’ shouldn’t be used as a lever to allow open borders and mass immigration. And it won’t be.
Boldrini is also a writer and an eloquent former spokeswoman for the UN’s high commission on refugees. It was she who facilitated our trip to Lampedusa to show Australia, first hand, what Italy has been trying to deal with for more than 20 years. Her voice appears to be that of a new style of politician, a truly global citizen moved less by nationalism and more by the common good.
Well, so far, there’s only one of her, as you point out.
If only she were not so alone.
Maybe you might like to ponder why there’s only one of her? Why aren’t more like her, with her views, being elected by the voters?