From 26.9. to 10.11. in Berlin: Action days against deportation prison at the airport +++ From 4.11. in Berlin: Exhibition "Three Doors" on Dessau and Hanau +++ 4-6.11. in Cologne: Germanwide meeting on church asylum +++ 5 and 6.11. in Hamburg: Christening of Sea Watch 5 +++ 9 and 10. December in Geneva: Protest and demonstration in front of UNHCR headquarters +++ Flight helper in TV-Report Mainz: ++ Campaign: Right to stay instead of opportunity trap +++ Afrique-Europe-Interact newspaper on Togo +++ Zarzis: Search for truth and justice +++ 8 years of Alarm Phone +++ Review: TAZ on Melilla Massacre
The worst-case scenario for Italy has come to pass: with Meloni a post-fascist as head of government, in the Ministry of Transport Salvini, among others, with sovereignty over the coast guard, a former Salvini subordinate as Minister of the Interior. Things could not have been worse, not only in reference to migration.
Rome's "cabinet of horrors" (taz) had just begun to take office when the Alarm Phone received a distress call on the morning of 25 October that would subsequently force the Italian Coast Guard to undertake one of its largest rescue operations in recent years. The boat, which had set off from Tobruk in Libya and was in distress south-east of Sicily, had 700 (!) people on board. And: the caller states that a second boat with 600 people is on its way with them and is also in the vicinity. Never before in its almost exactly eight-year history had the Alarm Phone forwarded an SOS with almost 1300 people to the coastguards.
It seems all the more interesting that the Italian authorities - apart from a very short press release - published virtually nothing about their large-scale operation with at least five rescue ships. There were no photos of the overloaded boats in the media, no overcrowded harbour after arrival, nothing. Rather, the 1157 people rescued and two corpses were quietly distributed to different ports. Two NGO ships that were in the vicinity were explicitly ordered to stay away from the two boats. Obviously, the new far-right government had the highest interest in carrying out this rescue without publicity and not letting any further details leak out.
The coming days and weeks will show whether rescue ships - as in 2018 under Salvini - will once again be denied access to Italian ports. In any case, the new government was unable to prevent the arrival of the people who left Tobruk, and it remains questionable whether and how Meloni will implement her announcement of a "sea blockade" against refugees and migrants.
In Berlin, meanwhile, Interior Minister Faeser has repeatedly made it clear that she is in fact pursuing a very similar policy as Italy with regard to the external borders. "We have a joint responsibility to stop illegal entries so that we can continue to help people who urgently need our support," she said, according to dpa. Faeser is thus trying to play off those in need of help from Ukraine against "illegal entrants" from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea or other countries of origin. Recently, she invited to a Western Balkans conference in Berlin to more effectively "limit irregular migration", which in view of the daily realities means nothing other than justifying push-backs and further human rights violations in the Balkans.
All the more important that practical resistance against the brutalised border regime once again even makes it into the mainstream media. A film team from Report Mainz recently accompanied and documented the solidarity-based help for a family from Iraq to flee across the Balkans - with legal commentaries that questioned the potential criminalisation of the supporters.
After Rome and Berlin, we conclude with a hint to the capital of international organisations: Geneva. Here is the headquarters of the UNHCR, which is to be besieged in a two-day action on 9 and 10 December 2022. "A year ago, thousands of refugees protested for over 100 days in front of the UNHCR office in Tripoli: a historic act of self-organisation under the harshest conditions." This is how the transnational call for the protest days begins, which aims to amplify the demands of the "Refugees in Libya" in Europe, i.e. to make them louder and more visible. All are invited to join this mobilisation to Geneva for the International Human Rights Day.
With anti-racist greetings,
the Kompass team