Author: Roberto Saviano
I have never felt a greater need to speak out. I have never felt a greater need to try to explain why this new Italian government cannot be allowed to survive. Even before it has got down to real work, it has already done so much irreparable damage. The drama of the migrant rescue ship, Aquarius, which last week was denied permission to dock at Italian ports, drew everybody in – it seems there are those who, indifferent to the fate of 630 human beings at sea, think it was right to teach Europe a lesson on the migrant issue. Yet, of course, others think it preposterous to use 630 lives as bargaining chips. The trouble is that we have all lost sight of the bigger picture.
The sad truth is that this government has many supporters and is popular because it identifies targets: categories of individuals that people can unleash their frustration on; enemies to be stoned. Whether Italians like to hear that or not, that’s how it is. But the huge numbers of suffering and angry Italians will not better their own condition by mobilising against migrants. On the contrary, in countries where rights are guaranteed to everyone, including minorities, it is the entire community that enjoys the benefit. It has taken decades for communities to integrate, but very, very little time for everything to collapse like a sandcastle, destroyed by a nationalism that is making everyone the enemy of everyone else.
And if Europe fails in its mission to host and integrate migrants, those European leaders who can’t measure up to the situation would do better to hold their tongues, rather than go in for calculated insults. It is Italy’s duty to battle for change for the better, not to descend into the most boorish nativism. Human lives are at stake.