24 July 2018

A War Fought With Weapons Of Mass Distraction

In the era of social networks, politics has moved away from the piazza, instead flowing with the tide of the web and conditioning not only voting patterns through weapons of mass distraction, but even modes of thinking and the perception of reality.

Migrants have become the enemy to be defeated by any means, and our cities are now sites of beatings, violence, abuse, gunfire and intimidation towards blacks, Roma and those who do not enter into the ethnic order of the new Fascists.

This kind of violence is accompanied by the attempt to lash out at whoever resists, criminalising solidarity, smearing the people and organisations that are not willing to abandon people in the street or at sea, because rights and freedom belong to everyone.

It is precisely through this targeted brain-washing that the government is managing to gain consensus in its decision to close the ports, first in relation to the NGOs ships and then naval vessels, causing the deaths of hundreds of people.

For their own part, the main methods of information, instead of highlighting the continuing contradictions and lies, and revealing propaganda behind every declaration, simply help along this process by providing an echo to every tweet or Facebook post put out by politicians who hold more in common with teenage bullies than adults with the level of responsibility their roles entail.

Why is it that the media provides more space to statements by ignorant politicians who speak about Libya rather than to those by international bodies that have stated very clearly that the Libyan centres evoke Nazi concentration camps, and that there is no way in which Libya can be considered a port of safety?

Why is is that no one talks about the people who are arriving, about their experiences in Libya, why instead do that only insert small parts of statements by this or that international organisation that speak about the conditions of people in Libya as if they had never seen them before?

The Nazi concentration camps have become museums in order to prevent what happened during WW2 from every happening again – but it is not enough to keep the memory alive in Europe, nor to avoid the consequences. The weapons of mass distraction have reached their aim, even claiming that the photos and videos of mothers and children dead at sea are fake. Real facts have lost every value, and the dissipation of reality if becoming totalising.

During the episode of the Vos Thalassa, rather than denouncing the violations that were being enacted (to the extent that the President of the Republic was called upon to intervene), they preferred to invent the story of mutiny on board, helping launch the tweet by the Minister of the Interior invoking handcuffs for the migrants, substituting the role and functions of the magistracy. The two young men accused were first taken to the Hotspot in Trapani but immediately afterwards were taken in the middle of the night to prison, in almost total silence. The words of the spokesperson for the company controlling the Vos Thalassa were not taken into consideration at all, who stated very clearly that “there was no insurrection on board, the situation has been blown out of all proportion by the newspaper. There was no mutiny and no one was beaten.”

In the meantime, criminal episodes of racism pass by in silence, such as the Roma baby who someone shot at in Rome and now risks being paralysed.

To ask the TV and journalists to go against orders is too much, we understand – but hiding the truth is simply criminal, and carries a burden of blame with it. Our politics favours human traffickers and the trafficked, and we are only able to plaster the arrests of suspected boat-drivers across the front pages – people who, in the majority of cases, are simply migrants who have been forced to drive the boats. The real traffickers enjoy their immunity from European governments. We have consigned to the keys to hell to them and to the Libyan militias, a hell in which women, men and children are kept. These are people with no scruples, just like own own politicians.

To ask the TV and journalists to go against orders is too much, we understand – but hiding the truth is simply criminal, and carries a burden of blame with it. Our politics favours human traffickers and the trafficked, and we are only able to plaster the arrests of suspected boat-drivers across the front pages – people who, in the majority of cases, are simply migrants who have been forced to drive the boats. The real traffickers enjoy their immunity from European governments. We have consigned to the keys to hell to them and to the Libyan militias, a hell in which women, men and children are kept. These are people with no scruples, just like own own politicians.

Flash mob of the “Abriendos Fronteras” caravan

In the last week alone there has been a huge increase in the number of deaths. We know this through freelance journalists who are trying to tell the truth, and from the few NGOs remaining in water: these are the only stalwarts of truth, uncomfortable witnesses to be eliminated at all costs. If the Open Arms had not been at sea, Josefa would have died with the others and the truth would have been buried at sea. Instead, the Libyan Coast Guard have had to admit that they left the mother and child at sea, who were on board the same rubber boat as Josefa – though they claim they were not aware of were existence. But these admissions have not had any impact on stopping those who cry ‘fake news’, who say the NGOs are finances by Soros, about the invasion of Europe and all the other idiocies which eventually history will reckon with in confronting this deranged period.

And the cost of this theatrical spectacle? Navy and Coast Guard vessels that spend days and days ar sea without any rescue operations, only to escort and supply food to the ships that have migrants onboard, to whom the government denies a port, embarrassing the soldiers themselves who, in order to follow orers, are forced to ignore the sacred principle of rescue at sea. Money frittered away on construction falsehoods that we Italians pay for with some tax imposed in silence, perhaps while again passing the blame onto the migrants.

Finally, no one asks why, since this government was established, the landings have happened at night time. Why does no politician from the opposition – instead of having hysterical nerve attacks in front of the TV cameras, simply due their duty, proposing motions and looking for the truth? And all of the people who arrive on our coasts? Every now and again there is news about a small boat that arrives, but no one says that since the beginning of the year more than 3,000 Tunisians have arrived on Lampedusa alone, to which you have to add all of the people who arrive on the coasts of Trapani, Syracuse and Ragusa. People who, if they are intercepted, are put in Hotspots only to be left in the street with a ‘7-day paper’ in their hands. But this obviously cannot be said, because the hypocrisy of this system of manufacturing irregularity cannot be revealed, one that simply bloats the ranks of the arm of slaves to be exploited in the countryside, and in order to make up for the chronic failure of governments to find a solution for the labour market. This government also needs invisible people, and if they arrive at night or without anyone shouting about it, it simply helps the government and their propaganda.

In the last week alone more than 20 North Africans have been let out of the Trapani hotpot, who then paused in Palermo before moving on to other destinations. In any case, the periods of detention in the Hotspots (and consequent payment of funds) have notable increased, despite the contraventions of current regulations.

We will not back down in the face of this barbarity, and we know that there is a world of people who, like us, do not want remain silent. This is one of the reasons that we welcomed the arrival of the “Abriendo Fronteras” caravan in Sicily, a network that wants to beat back the borders, open the ports and put truth, rights, justice and humanity back on the agenda of European politics.

Alberto Biondo
Borderline Sicilia

 

Project “OpenEurope” – Oxfam Italia, Diaconia Valdese, Borderline Sicilia Onlus

Translation by Richard Braude

Print Friendly, PDF & Email