There are many strong reasons to criticize the migration policy of those years. There are many reasons to stigmatize the indifference and the inaction of Europe and some member countries. But there are no reasons to overlap different levels. Humanitarian commitment is a pillar of that universe of nonnegotiable values which connotes Italy as a civilized nation. Said, with extraordinary intensity, by Pope Francis, in light of that tragedy, in occasion of his surprise visit to Lampedusa, with words of high political impact, as described by Massimo Franco in “The Vatican according to Francis”.
The Mediterranean is life, history, culture, humanity. It could not and cannot be death, affliction, indifference, shame. Those who affirm that we should shrug and get by with minimal assistance or with the usual rhetorical statements, repudiate our identity and have an idea of political and civil commitment that does not belong to me and never will. It is clear that Mare Nostrum was not enough. As much as it is clear that the matter represents one of the most complex phenomena of our time.
A part of the world, the poorest and in difficulty, pushes, beneath us, to survive or just to have its own opportunity in life. Millions of people in motion, an extreme pressure that is shameful thinking to control with rejection or populism, in the name of the most insipid “stay in at home”. It is an epochal pressure, result of the geopolitical transformations of the last decades. With the difference that in the 1990’s, United States was the major destination of migration, now Europe is the object of this pressure.
The earthquake continues without breaks by the end of the cold war and now its epicenter is in Africa and Middle East. In this scenario the struggle to find shared answers is obvious and reflects Europe’s incapacity to make a political community with common values and well recognizable identity. In my opinion from this derives the difficulty to reach a fair balance between different needs of countries with distant traditions and politics in terms of integration and immigration.
The deep distance between “north” and Mediterranean approach, with a clash of values between principles of responsibility and solidarity, ends up with immobilizing Europe, to which the juridical instruments of Dublin Convention are not enough. Here-hence hard compromises and downward choices.