1 -The theme of the Exclusion-Inclusion of immigrants has become the hot topic around which the destiny of Europe and the future of humanity are being played out. At the centre of the chronicles, the infernal game of politics, a place of conflict over ethical values, migrants and their tragedies, have become a direct expression of the globalisation of indifference to which Pope Francis now refers on a daily basis. If, in fact, the economic, social and democratic crisis affects the whole world, globalization is the decline, if not the end, of the solidarity that the state had put in place to manage fear and insecurity.
With globalization, with respect to fundamental ethical principles, competition and individualist competition come into play. And it pushes on the key of dangerousness, as a result of the conviction of social insecurity, which predisposes neither to generosity nor to the capacity to risk, rejecting the new. Analyzing the multiple fears that cross the cities of the globalized world, S. Bauman points out that, reducing the trust that modern solidarity had built, suspicions and mistrust towards foreigners, refugees and all forms of diversity are fuelled. Chocolat, Hallström’s film work, had stigmatized the concept in an extraordinary way. Cities thus become fortresses. And how can we not think of Kafka Castle and the dialogue between the innkeeper and the surveyor? She is not from the Castle, she is not from the village, she is nothing. Yet she too is something, unfortunately, she is a stranger, one who is always too much and always between the feet, one who provides a pile of headaches.
That’s it. We don’t want to know. At most we inform ourselves, but we don’t want to know. To know requires time, effort, willingness to understand; and then to understand subtracts from us the subterfuge of the fake dumb. Galimberti in his The New Capital Vices mentions denial, that is, the hypocrisy of denying ourselves the problems of others. As long as foreigners arrived in controlled quantities, carrying out the smallest and most poorly paid jobs, everything was fine. When the unsustainability of their existence has pushed them to migrate, we observe them from a distance, in the two-dimensionality of our television screens; we watch the shipwrecks on the news while we have lunch or dinner, the walls taken by storm, the refugee camps full of hungry and sick; they are scenes before which we have developed a strong habituation. Increasing reactions of defense and rejection. The social phenomenon of what “every citizen knows”, of common sense in its showy or hidden aspects, is immigration as a metaphor for deviance, myopia or microscopy in the overestimation of the symptoms of crime. They attack us, they subtract our well-being from us, these are the commonplaces. In reality, the knowledge of citizens is symptomatic and tends to diverge from that of the police. The term immigrant, therefore, assumes more and more – consciously or unconsciously – a worsening value, in any case, of course, it identifies with poor and delinquent. It does not matter if in this wide process of the migratory industry, of the frontier economy for those who wish to pass from the poor bank to the rich bank of the geography of our unequal world, we are witnessing a curious diversification of approaches to the crossing of borders. In fact, when the citizens of the north of the world arrive, we talk about mobility. Let us think of the way in which young Europeans are encouraged to become increasingly mobile through the Erasmus programmes, while young people from other parts of the world are asked to remain in their countries, even if they die. When it comes to the south of the world, then we call it migrants. The hypocrisy of whitening money. Just think of the players in our clubs.
In this way, Europe has stopped pretending, showing itself to be a land of asylum and freedom. Closing ourselves in a hedgehog, we began to pretend that there could be an Africa that could deal with Africa, as if the Maghreb and the sub-Saharan Africa were one and the same. As if we did not know how much hate passes between these two realities. And so we ended up handing over to a strip of sea, to a symbolic threshold between north and south, a few nautical miles as a whimsical line in the middle of the sea, handing over, as I said, the place in which every life begins to count, coordinates that mark the difference between existence and non-existence, between the European land and the African limbo. Coordinates that mark a world.
Baudrillard, in 1978, said that a silent mass can be manipulated by dubious polls. The link between poverty and immigration is linked to the costs of rescues at sea, the idea that they take advantage of our welfare when the age ratio between foreigners and citizens is inversely proportional, and consequently the lack of access to health care and so on. And the value of a political tactic can have perverse consequences in terms of social and cultural repercussions. If then taken up by some press, then the result can be catastrophic.
If the Italian emigrants had not been there, today the Argentines would not be able to express the pride of the first Pope coming “from the end of the world”. The Delors report and many initiatives by UNESCO and the Council of Europe show how the commitment to learn to live together with others has become the key challenge of our time, to which we cannot escape, because it is an indispensable task for all. In its educational plans, UNESCO calls for strategies for living together, such as inclusive, quality, integral and supportive education, so as to be able to go well through the future, and intercultural education as an opportunity to know how to live together. This Education for all is part of the perspective of learning to love. It is an emerging global challenge, but it is absent in paths outside the Christian sphere. Moreover, in his report to the 46th session of the CIE (Conf. inter. Educ.) at the UNESCO headquarters in Geneva, John Daniel stated that: learning to live with others implies the right of people to remain “others”.
Living with others is an ethical-political ideal, a utopia. Above all, it is an indispensable commitment on the part of individuals as regards their own human growth and an indispensable commitment on the part of institutions as defenders of human dignity and guarantors of peaceful coexistence. Leaving aside religions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “The recognition of the inherent dignity of all members of the human family and their equal and inalienable rights constitutes the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. It is difficult to read such statements today. Seventy years after their promulgation, that Declaration of Human Rights – the redemption of the world’s social conscience after Auschwitz – stands before the free interpretations of politics, which increasingly bind their usability to the citizenship. So if you are not a citizen you do not enjoy Human Rights. An oxymoron. All the more so when one thinks that René Cassin – one of the fathers of the Declaration – defined it as a corollary of the Right to Life of every single person. And we have totally cancelled the right to life.
Let us help them at home …. He feels increasingly bawdled by politics. Of course. As an African proverb says: If one strikes a beehive to take away the honey, the bees chase it. We should probably begin a serious examination of conscience that – from colonization to post-colonialism, even more complex and violent than the first – with the impoverishment and misappropriation of African resources, from green grabbing to grabbing mineral resources, we see raiders. Not to mention the political disorder, result of the manipulations of the West, as well as the war industry thirsty for markets (and of which only Italy is an active part for 2.7% of the global market), which causes conflicts on command, destabilizing the entire sub-Saharan area in order to better manage it. So, one escapes war, torture and political persecution, but there are those who want to transform them into the Western enemy of the 21st century. Because we are incapable of accepting to be considered the America (the paradise) of Africa, which we ourselves have impoverished, if only for reasons of proximity. “Good conscience is over forever – wrote Ernesto Balducci – and opulence cannot last without crime. European man today knows how much his fathers did not know: the emancipation of peoples and the permanence of the Western model cannot be reconciled” (EB, La Terra del tramonto, ed. Culture of Peace, Fiesole 92).
3 – We are indifferent to the tragedy that these brothers who cross the sea, go from being persecuted in their territories, to the terrible plague of being persecuted by the justice of our Western democracies. In fact, if they manage to get here alive, they end up in the hellish circle of control and acceptance. Restricting regular access to the European Union has countless negative consequences, forcing those who flee to come across a series of crimes that even involve detention, pushing them into the jaws of crime or into an undergrowth of irregularities and offences, while their presence is becoming increasingly transparent for our society, a shadow area of which we do not want to know hypocritically anything. We have been able to make an irregular entry a crime, rather than a civil offence, by criminalising asylum seekers.
They would be refugees, but this term is now for the use and consumption of the West. If, after World War II, the refugee was a reputable person, wrapped in aura of prestige for having escaped barbarism, now that the war is relocated, the refugee is a non-European person: and therefore not respected, persecuted, escaped barbarism. But isn’t barbarism always the same?
Of the 65 million or so migrants, 1 % of the world’s population, only one third are refugees. But the figures are not true. Since it does not cover those who flee from cartels, gangs, non-governmental militias, local mafias, there are so many undefinable people who flee from blind violence without protection. We try to identify the reasons for escaping from wars and hunger, but there are wars made up of hunger and hunger made up of war. The collection camps, which should be a temporary patch, a way of directing aid to you in a simple way, become a permanent reality of pain for years to come.
“I was a foreigner and you hosted me, naked and you clothed me” Bergoglio repeats the verses of Matthew. Today this mandate is very topical with regard to migrants. Economic crisis and armed conflicts, climate changes that take away from entire peoples the most precious asset of water, violence and harassment of all kinds, push many to migrate. Yet migration is part of the history of mankind and there has been no lack of great expressions of solidarity. Today, however, the context of crisis favours closures and refusals to welcome.
We are facing a cultural wave that enters and conforms consciences, putting on the index both citizens who feel the need for the other as a moral imperative, and humanitarian organizations that deal with refugees. This is the time that has made identity its concern, the result of the distrust that citizens place in the state. And so identification – Bauman tells us – becomes increasingly important for those who are looking for a “us” in which to fit. But cultural identity does not exist – says Françoise Jullien – (philosopher and Greek scholar of the China/European relationship) defining it as a pernicious concept that sees culture immobile, which implies the risk of fundamentalist communitarianism or inert and indifferent relativism.
Humanity will have the worst in every selfish choice we make, says Evangeli Gaudium at number 87. Humanity has the task of transmitting the mystique of living together, of transforming us into caravans of solidarity. And instead, looks wounded by fear and enlightened by hope, cross the Mediterranean on death boats run by criminals. It is incredible that from these boats, the desire for the future passes through the desperate cry of the lives rising among the waves, children who have come to light on the battered boats, among a thousand dangers, sometimes with death around them. An open challenge, therefore, to guarantee the future to millions of human beings, combining the value of hospitality to an effective accompaniment in the south of the world, along the arduous path of development.
Solidarity, says Enzo Bianchi, takes place in an exchange between natives and foreigners, integration must outline conditions and paths to lead to citizenship for immigrants, a situation in which it is possible a real participation in the life of the polis with the recognition of those rights and duties that are common to all citizens.
4 – The encounter of Jesus at the well of Samaria with the Samaritan woman is the emblem of our waste. The woman/us is closed in on herself, she doesn’t want to see the other person in front of her. A Jew! But then from the encounter comes knowledge, dialogue, Jesus stopped for two days. In other words, the way of approaching the dialogue tells us that in it the Jew acquires a name and a face. We pass from the generic term to the name. For us, immigrants are just a generic name with the characteristic of the color mostly black, they have no face, they have no name. Neither for us nor for the state. The logic we should be moving towards should be a progressive enlargement to include mobility as a guarantee of success, including economic success. For it is better to have recognised people on the ground, with rights and open to the market, rather than people awaiting trial for much longer, worried and supported by welfare, who then become illegal.
“Justice does not save – said Don Primo Mazzolari – because the right to life, in the heart of those who love, is before the right to justice”. In the document denouncing the Combonians signed also by Emergency and many others in 2004 for the case of Cap Anamur it is stated: Europe and every single “civil” nation must question itself on international solidarity. It is not enough to have a few interviews that place the emphasis on the humanitarian approach to the problem; it is urgently necessary to rethink at European level the policies on immigration and the great social disparities that cause it. In 2004! In 2019, we are condemning to death those who leave in despair. We do not need rallies or the rhetoric of appeals. We need the courage of everyday life, the effort to give a name and a face to those who arrive, to recognise their stories, which are not the same as the others. In other words, we must do our part.