We must be careful about the message we send to the men and women who land on the Italian shores in search of help. Those people are devastated by pain and fatigue, but they use their reason. The fact that newly arrived African children – especially asylum-seekers – are enrolled into language courses to encourage their integration, bears witness to it. The same way they understand the things we teach them, they also perceive other information. And if we show them hate, hostility, rejection, or compassion (at most), we need to be aware that we are cultivating the same feelings and the opposite.
They are young and their idea of their future is blurred. From this point of view, they are like Western youth, with the aggravating circumstance of coming from a world of violence. If we reject them, if we show contempt, we will get paid back in our own coin. And if some of them are approached by an extremist of some kind, it might find the fertile ground for hate it would not have found if we showed acceptance and tolerance.
In Nice, the murderer responsible for the massacre on the Promenade des Anglais, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, became a jihadist over a few weeks. Beyond the investigations on all the shades of this tragedy, it is a matter of fact that if those people grow up in intolerance, they are more likely to develop deviations of some kind. We never think about it, do we? If we want to stick to technical terms, security is created by avoiding conflict, demining situations that may evolve in danger. Right now, we are doing exactly the opposite, except some praiseworthy initiatives.
And if we want to talk about humanity, we must remember that if someone is falling and we do not stretch our hand to help them, our action destroys the concept of humanity itself. We are “human” only if we respect all the facets we endow this concept with: all the essential and distinctive features of the human species, of course, but also solidarity, brotherhood, selflessness, charity, tolerance, and indulgence. Let us not forget that.