In the Mediterranean Sea: on one part Europe, on the other part Africa. And in the middle: no longer a privileged set of holidays’ postcards but the agonizing cemetery of shipwrecked without a name. In the world: walls that fall down and others which are threatened to be built. Hunger, blood, despair.
Protests, populism, wars. Globalisation? Protectionism? Europe? Yes. No. Who knows. Solidarity? Maybe yes, but … In the succession of so many tragic events and many confused and contradictory words to which the hammering chronicles of television news have accustomed us up to addiction (or the tragic boredom of impotence) the 10 April 2017 could remain as a significant landmark in the big battle for life that never makes the headlines but does good.
In this date was held in Rome at the Palazzo della Farnesina a conference organised by the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of International Cooperation with the support of the Catholic Liaison Committee for a Civilization of Love.
Many academic debates and programmatic manifests have been done, but here they wanted to lay down a few fundamental points as first step of concrete humanitarian and solidarity actions like micro enterprises for Ethiopia. In the first place the theme, that from the association of two statements that are usually opposite, “Migration and development“, defines a new way in dealing with the phenomenon of migration. A series of mass events that, perceived as a major turning point, threaten to distort the journalistic chronicles and the same history books that will be written on the years in which we are living, that risk to enclose the West in the cynical spiral of consumption that are increasingly fragile and voids.
And then the method: the two major issues, economic crisis and migratory flows, can no longer be dealt separately or as if they are realities where no one is able to determine – in the controversy between the schools of thought that are more in vogue – which is the cause of the other. This, despite the often contradictory statements of some protagonists of the Italian Cooperation.
Can the Italian case, for once, with its widespread tradition of laic and religious volunteering, with its history of catholic associationism, with its many small courageous industrial and agricultural enterprises (see the model of Coldiretti) constitute a virtuous example of sustainability and progress on a planetary scale?
Through the involvement of public and private bodies, many microprojects in low-income countries are able to promote development both in the nations so-called “rich” and in the so-called “third world”. This was recalled in his introductory speech by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mario Giro, as well as by Paola Alvarez of the International Organization for Migrations and by Luigi Maria Vignali, Central Director for policies on migration and visas of Maeci. According to Pietro Sebastiani, Director General of Development Cooperation, Migration is a phenomenon that is so complex and fluid that solutions carried out must necessarily be successful for all.
Only if we involve all the parties concerned (starting from Europe and Africa) according to a logic of mutual enrichment we can exit from the self-perpetuating logic of exploitation, wastage and rhetoric.
Migration could be an exchange of gifts and knowledge; not the tragic constriction of hopeless people. The director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) Laura Frigenti stated that migration must be managed more than contrasted and that in most situations the results come through small daily interventions.
The Ethiopian case, cited by the Eng. Giuseppe Rotunno, on behalf of the initiatives of the Civilization of Love, can offer the world a lesson. In Wolayta, region in which two million people live in hardship with a family income of five euros per month, a quarter of this population has no electricity and no enough water for their primary needs: forget about for agricultural use. The micro enterprises project plans to provide to the first 100 villages, with over 500.000 inhabitants, water and electricity. But it is not limited to provide pumps and various technological means, but training and ability to maintain in the long term – and in the less wearing ways for the territory – such achievements.
The most brilliant young people, who could leave their country to its unlucky fate, are the first natural target of a similar project. A demonstration that small is often beautiful and that simple, focused and achievable objectives – highlighting the local forces and sustainable agriculture in ecological terms – can be the longest lasting. Even where they give the impression of a few drops of good in a too big sea of need.
The biblical migrations of the chronicles cannot be contained by culturally backdated forms and non-educative welfarism, intended to waste and to feed the most perverse schemes. We need a network of small but significant interventions calibrated on the issues and on the economic potential of the territories, often frozen by monopolistic logic of large international commerce (remind us Fao and Coldiretti in case of hyper concentration of agricultural seeds). Maybe this is the “globalization“, the “civilization of love” of our dreams.