26 June 2018

Neo-Fascism, Italian Style

After months of games and spectacle, a government has been established that makes electoral statements on a daily basis, that directs accusations against uncomfortable witnesses, that reacts with power and viloence against NGOs, unalligned journalists and whoever rebels against the status quo.

We are living through a period in which Fascism as de facto returned to the surface, through racial censi and the removal of fundamental human rights that mean democracy is dieing every day. Both the head of government and Minister of the Interior rant and rave, strengthened but an immunity they believe protects them from all personal responsability, allowing themselves to offend, defame and verbally attack anyone who doesn’t tow the line, without any institutional opposition that might represent that part of public opinion that still contains some conscience and human dignity.

In this historic moment in which the Italian government is alligning itself with European neo-Fascist states, in which on the streets and on social media one can witness the targetting of blacks, in which migration is being used as an issue to cover up the inertia of a propagandistic politics deprived of any real content – in this situation it is everyone’s duty to rebel against those who undermine the fundamental principles of Italian and international law, in order to return to being worthy of the anti-Fascist history on which we rest.

The first signs of the Fascist turn of this government have come from the commands imposed on public administration staff, as shown in a comunicatioin from the President of the National Asylum Commission to all of the presidents of the Territorial Commissions, which we reprint in full:

“Dear Presidents
I return to the issue of Tunisia on which, as you will recall, I had already focussed in preceding communications. In particular, I would like to emphasise that the country benefits from a democratic constitution and has signed an agreement of readmission with Italy. For this reason, asylum seekers from this country cannot be recognised with any form of protection.
I would also like to take the occasion to state that, in accordance with the indications of central administration, while awaiting greater detail on the policy of the government that has just been established, it is better that no one participates in conferences, congresses or seminars nor provides interviews without prior authorisation.”

The public administration is thus at the behest of the whims of the government, even in relation to the recognition of fundamental guarantees of a Constitution that by now seems like nothing but a piece of torn up paper, in the face of statements by Italy’s politicians.

The same has happened to the Coast Guard, who have been banned from executing their responsabilities, thus becoming entirely complicit in the deaths at sea, forced to follow the unreasonable and inhumane orders of ministers that clearly want to play politics off the backs of other people’s uffering, and do not even understand the law (and thus how can we expect them to respect it?)

We are faced with dirty propaganda, full of lies, which comes at the expense of citizens’ wallets, with soldiers engaged in usefless and dangerous operations, aside from costly ones (as in the case of the Aquarius) or blocked for hours and hours near our coasts awaiting to know which port to land in , as in the case of the Diciotti, which arrived at the port of Pozzallo a few days ago with 500 people on board in the middle of the night, to try and hide the continuing landings from public view, despite the Fascist declarations. This is dirty propaganda because it comes at the expense of people’s health, as in the case of the Odyssey experienced by the 41 survivors rescued by the Trenton from the latest massacre at sea, in which more than 80 people died. Everything has to be ommitted, covered up, forgotten in haste. No one is meant to know that all those days spent at sea in harsh physical and psychological conditions simply aggravates the condition of those who have already spent long periods of time in Libyan detention centres, or that the survivors of shipwrecks, including women and children – who states are obliged to save at sea – are victims of human trafficking who have suffered torture and remain in a serious condition of malnutrition.

The current regime has decided that no one should know what is happening in Libya, and the only witnesses to the criminal plans of European governments – those NGOs carrying out rescue operations at sea – should be cancelled out, in continuity with the criminalising operations begin by the former minister, Minniti. The current regime has decided that those in danger at sea – due to the human trafficking the Italy is financing and the policies of border closure that simply work to increase the irregular immigration necessary for our hidden economy – should be left to die, or taken back to Libya.

Few know that the Justice of the Peace in Palermo, accepting the request made to the anti-mafia public prosecutor, has closed the cases against the NGOs ‘Golfo Azzurro’ and ‘Sea Watch’, categorically excluding the existence of any connection between the two organisations and human trafficking in Libya. The news came and went in silence, a casualty of the smoke and glass of the Minister’s twitter feed.

Few inform themslves by reading the news and investigations – those not in the service of the regime – because the majority remain hynotised by the tweets emerging from our rulers, like stupid teenagers spendiing hours and hours with their telephones in their hands searching for consensus and infamy.

We think such indications are extremely disconcerting, and open up a new period of darkness for the state of law. The iinstitutional racism and the exclusion of persons from access to their inviolable rights is unacceptable, above all the right to life. We remain concerned in the face of the denial of the right to international protection on the basis of nationality or any other category.

Lies, silence, accusations, finding an enemy at all costs – this generales a sick society that plays with murderous politics, one that we are called on to reject at all costs, in order to remove ourselves from the web of Fascism into which we have fallen, a generator of death, pain and suffering for everyone. We remember our history.

Editorial, Borderline Sicilia


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

Translation by Richard Braude

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