Thanatopolitics and immigration: the power to decide who should live and who should die

an article by Lilian Pizzi from Terre des Hommes Italy  and Raffaele K Salinari, President of the Terre des Hommes International Federation. Published in “Il Manifesto”(Rome, 29 august) 2014

While the attention of the media focuses on the new features of Frontex Plus – the new European “defence-rescue” system for immigrants that try to cross the Mediterranean- the crisis situation in Libya and the Middle East continues to force men, women and children to seek asylum in Europe.

Guilty of forgetting that almost all wars and old and new dictatorships in conflict today are the direct result of Western interests -the United States and European interests- the foreign policies of the industrialized countries are limited to deal with the waves of migration as merely contingent and seasonal emergencies, rather than for what they essentially are. Migrations are by now a structural phenomenon, organic and essential for the dominant development model that uses them depending on the economic circumstances. When the market pulls migrants are used as a reservoir of cheap manpower, but when the labour is no longer needed, migrants arrive as asylum seekers and become a matter of international public policy, governed by military force.  In this contingency it is clear that, beyond the rhetoric, the liberal Europe acts only to the bare minimum, in order not to lose face in front of UN agencies, but without tackling the root structural causes of the phenomenon, nor enhance the European hospitality level, as evidenced by the reluctance to the more structured Italian proposals, on the shared permit of stay and on the changes required in Dublin 2.

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