For days and days, the Open Arms ship has been criss-crossing the Mediterranean Sea in search of a port where its singular passengers disembark, which are called migrants for the convenience of language when they are simply damned from the earth. For days and days, European capitals such as low-level rag-pickers have been arguing over who should welcome them. For days and days we have been blaming Italy, Spain, France, without being able to agree on humanitarian provisions capable of putting an end to all this sinister circus.
How can we fail to see in all these petty procrastinations the exact reproduction of past behaviours when in the last century other seas and oceans were home to makeshift boats where Jews were crapped as plagues that no one wanted? How can we not compare these migrants today with the plight of the shamed populations that, in the aftermath of the Second World War, people were cradding in camps for displaced people in search of an impossible solution? How can we not be moved that western countries are once again seeking by all means to pass on these migrants as if they were lepers, scarecrows who once they reached the mainland would sow disorder and chaos?
Same selfishness. Same fantasies. Same irrational fears. Even chilly. As if the very principle of hospitality were a vain notion just good to be included in some Gospels without ever being put into practice.
Finally, who will be led to believe that these thousands of migrants could pose any danger to countries as opulent as France or Italy? Is there not, therefore, an obligation of solidarity, in the name of human life, in the face of this spectacle of human beings crammed like cattle on ships which we suspect are anything but cruise ships? How can Europe, this continent of human rights, enlightened democracies, allow us to see human beings so tossed around, despised, sent back to their sad condition without even reacting, without doing anything to ease the burden of their pain?
Recalling Europe has its duties
As we know, behind each of these individuals are hidden unspeakable tragedies. No one ventures far from his native country for reasons that would not be of the order of compelling necessity. They flee war, the smell of blood, chaos, abuses, bombings, the impossibility of eating to their hunger; the irreducible despair that eats away at hearts and plunges souls into a distress from which nothing ever comes out of them.
They are men, women, children, human beings like us whose only fault has been to be born in the wrong place, under the black sun of countries left to the disorder of history when it condemns individuals to live an existence made of begging, renunciation and unrelenting mourning.
It is not a question of welcoming all the misery of the world, nor of pouring into a bleating humanism, but simply of reminding Europe of its duties. How can a continent of nearly 500 million people, most of whom live in relative ease, deny hospitality to tens or even hundreds of thousands of migrants without renouncing themselves, without giving up what it is in essence: a lighthouse whose light is supposed to guide the whole world?
It doesn’t matter who these migrants are. It doesn’t matter what color their skin is, what their religious affiliation is, why they’re exiled. It doesn’t matter where they come from. It doesn’t matter what language they speak. They look like us. They are our past, our present, our future. To turn away from them in order to ignore them better would be like smearing the human race as a whole.
To save them is to save ourselves.