Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Italy's Operazione Mare Nostrum may have been wound up and replaced by the Frontex [European External Borders Agency] operation Triton, but the incidence of boats carrying migrants on perilous journeys from Africa towards Europe shows no signs of abating. Calm seas recently have favoured departures and a new route taking some of the migrants to Puglia seems to be in use.

On Sunday an Italian naval ship brought 864 migrants to safety in Pozzallo in the second largest landing of migrants in a Ragusan port this year. Most were Syrian or Palestinian and there were 69 accompanied and seven unaccompanied minors among them. Of the 104 who were women, two were pregnant and had to be taken to hospital in Modica. The migrants told Italian officials a familiar story of a dangerous crossing in overcrowded and inadequate boats and all had been rescued by various Italian naval vessels.

Half have now been transferred to Palermo, another 150 to Florence and arrangements are being made for the transfer of most of the rest to other reception centres in Italy as the Pozzallo centre is now overcrowded.

The past week has seen ugly scenes in Rome, where residents of the Tor Sapienza suburb protested angrily and, in some cases, violently, about one of the migrant reception centres there, blaming migrants for the area's misfortunes. Tor Sapienza is a poor district where many people are unemployed and tensions came to a head at the weekend, when children in the centre concerned had to be evacuated from it.  Pope Francis has asked all interested institutions to deal with the situation as a "social emergency" and has also called for dialogue between the local community and immigrants.  

I am not in Tor Sapienza so cannot comment further on the area's troubles but I do know that an identifiable immigrant community anywhere is likely to become a scapegoat in times of economic hardship. Anti-immigration feeling, it seems to me, is being whipped up all over Europe as I write. Willing or unwilling host countries could do worse than heed Pope Francis's call for dialogue.


Sean Jeating said...

Interestingly [?], some minutes ago I posted something similar.

And I suppose, both we "know" nothing will ever change. Nowhere.
The peace of the night.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello, Sean. I will come and look at your post now, which I'm sure is interesting. Peace to you, too.

Unknown said...

Yes, “scapegoat” is what I was thinking as I read what you wrote about the unrest. I have been listening to comments about the EU's Operation Triton on BBC radio. I am concerned that it will result in the deaths of many immigrants.

RNSANE said...

I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like to be willing to take such risks to escape oppression and seek freedom. And, of course, it does create problems for host countries with a huge onslaught of immigrants. On our U.S. West Coast, we get immigrants fleeing Asian countries, mainly China, in horrible conditions aboard freight vessels and people fleeing north from Mexico, spending their life savings to be "escorted" up by "coyotes" as they are called. These men, of course, often rape the women and molest the children.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Nick. Yes, that is what I fear, too. Let's pray we are wrong. Hi, Carmen. I didn't know the "escorts" were called "coyotes". It's such a tragic situation, in so many parts of the world.


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