French-Italian governments’ conflict on refugees


This 18 February 2018 video says about itself:

Italy: Protesters rally at French-Italian border in solidarity with refugees

Some 150 activists protested at the Italian-French border town of Ventimiglia, Sunday, to demonstrate against the heavy French police presence in solidarity with migrants.

The protest, organised by left-wing group ‘No Borders’, was entitled ‘We tread [on] the border’ (Calpestiamo il confine). The protesters climbed up the hills to the border fence, repeating the route that a number of migrants have travelled in order to reach France.

According to the report, 13 people died in the mountains attempting to cross the border, which is now separated with a chain fence and barbed wire.

Protester (Italian): “This border is not only represented by this physical frontier, but also what happens everyday in Ventimiglia and nearby areas. We are here to stress the fact that we don’t recognise this border. We don’t consider it as a real border. Freedom of movement for everybody.”

Dutch NOS TV reports today that the French Macron administration has recalled its ambassador from Italy because of conflicts between these two governments.

The right-wing Macron government and the Italian government, a coalition between the extreme right Lega and the ‘neither left nor right’ Five Star Movement, accuse each other viciously. The paradox is that in these accusations by both governments there is some truth, but also much hypocrisy.

The Italian government says that the cause of the refugees trying to cross the Mediteranean is ‘French colonial policy’. That is definitely partly true. Until the 1960s, big parts of Africa were French colonies. Much violence, economic exploitation. With consequences till today. After the 1960s, French colonialism changed to neocolonialism. Though the ex-colonies were now officially independent, French governments kept supporting pro-French local dictators and invading African countries for uranium or other resources every now and then. In 2011, French President Sarkozy was a major instigator of the NATO war on Libya. Because he wanted French oil corporation Total to grab Libyan oil wealth; and because he wanted to cover the tracks of payment of his presidential election campaign by the Libyan Gadaffi administration.

That Libya war never stopped, and led to a country in ruin: healthcare destroyed, women’s rights down the drain, slavery brought back after its 19th century abolition, torture, ISIS, bloodshed everywhere. And from Libya at war, the violence spread to many other African countries. Which led to more French neocolonial invasions and war crimes. And this way, indeed, to more refugees.

So, why is the Italian government not just partly correct, but also hypocritical? Because, like France, Italy has a bloody colonial past and a neocolonial present in Africa. Fascist dictator Mussolini, praised now by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Salvini, and his predecessors caused horrible bloodbaths making Eritrea, Ethiopia and ‘Italian’ Somalia Italian colonies. Mussolini’s soldiers and concentration camps in Libya killed hundreds of thousands.

After Italian colonialism came Italian neocolonialism. Eg, by Silvio Berlusconi, participating in the NATO war on Libya to grab some oil and letting the refugees of that war drown or imprisoning them. And by later Italian governments, with their harsh anti-refugee policies and their handing over of Italian taxpayers’ money to torturers and slave traders in Libya to stop refugees from coming to Italy. So, Italian politicians, like French ones (and US American ones … and British ones … etc.), have definitely contributed to the refugee crisis.

The Macron government in France criticizes the Italian government because of its anti-refugee policy. Again: there is truth in that. But also much hypocrisy.

Because the French government violently attacks refugees in Paris, Calais and elsewhere.

Because the French government violently, including with torture of children, tries to stop refugees from crossing the French-Italian border. European Union or no European Union.

Talking about the European Union: that is another reason for conflict between France and Italy. The Macron administration wants a centralized European Union. The government in Rome wants decentralisation. The logical consequence of centralizing the European Union is: making national borders ‘soft borders’. However, ‘pro-European’ Macron is inconsequent; making the French-Italian border a very ‘hard’ border.

The French National Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Monday to approve President Emmanuel Macron’s “anti-riot” law, undermining the right to protest and further expanding police powers: here.

17 thoughts on “French-Italian governments’ conflict on refugees

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