Don’t Call Them Racists

Those who defend what the Italian government did with the rescue ship Aquarius have been called racists. But this simplification would imply a greater good, a genuine point of view in their common vision.

What is happening in Italy, with the new government refusing to allow a rescue ship with over six hundred migrants to dock, is a story where the lowest forms of humanity came out in the eyes of the entire world. A situation for which the current governing politicians are being blamed.

However, to get the full picture, there are some things that we should finally have the courage to say out loud. Indeed, in the common contemporary rhetoric in Italy and elsewhere, it is generally accepted that these events are the unavoidable response to the natural uneasiness and sentiments towards a situation that, however oversimplified, is real. Second, it is also widely agreed that the original sin belongs to those political forces who have not been able to tackle the growing discontent of the electorate.

But let’s be honest. This hypocrtite, gutless, all liberal analysis of the defeat is comfortable for those who attend political talk shows with the aim of not disappearing. However, it is also the best way to avoid to say openly how and why the Italian and, more generally, the European society split apart in these last few years.

And while some political forces are stuck in their swan song, i.e. the internal debate about what they are doing wrong, some intuitive political smartass managed to give an ideological framework (this is the how) to what, more or less unconsciously, unites always more people in this radical struggle (this is the why).

They have been called fascists and racists, but this stupid and offensive simplification would imply a greater good, a genuine point of view in their common vision. They have been also delegitimized by their own political representatives, the same who claim to defend the man in the street from a clique of urban bookworms who don’t know how life really is in the real country (il paese reale).

But this is not true at all. These people are not stupid, nor ignorant like some people proudly and some other snobly suggest, as in any case political cleavages do not unfold along these lines. It would be just presumtuous to think so. In fact, those who applaud what the government decided to do with the rescue ship Aquarius, are lucidly defending what they already expressed with the March 4 vote.

By exorcizing their authentic fears, they fight to defend the innate privileges of an ideally closed society. These positions are triggered by the non-acceptance that the world is intrinsically complex and ever-changing, and supported by the recent social media boom that brought them closer to the existence of different realities, made of more fluid borders. This especially applies to those generations who never lived and cannot remember the history of the past century, but that have always enjoyed and taken for granted the opportunities deriving from a free life, far away from the troubles of the world. And this reasonment cannot be obviously confined to the scapegoat of the migrant crisis.

Instead, the reassuring ideological framework offered by the ‘politicians of change’ tricked everyone. Indeed, every time a tragedy occurs, the dialectic level is almost footballing. It seems that, those who call for the tightening of the immigration laws and controls, cannot avoid to remark that any means is permitted to obtain what the so-disliked representative democracy voted for: a better life, as it was in an idealized golden age. Those who oppose this childish objection are radical-chic ‘buonisti‘ (bleeding-hearts) or graduate rich kids. On the other hand, the others cannot avoid to endrose and lend credence to the spontaneous nature of their counterparts by naively accusing them of being just ideological.

But don’t call them racists, as it is exactly what some experienced politicians want and benefit from. By shifting the attention to the political field and defending the interests of those who are so apparently proud of being anti-liberal and anti-globalist, these positions are falsely elevated to the only concrete and disinterested measures to the defense of the Italians, creating a dangerous value-based cleavage.

No matter if the crossings from the South of the Mediterranean had their very first start when an Italian government which included the Northern League contributed to destabilize Libya. No matter if the fact that other countries do not want to share the burden does not automatically justify a government’s action. No matter if defending the borders from illegal immigration could be a legitimate political struggle, if carried out in the appropriate fora and if separated from the instrumental decision of leaving six hundred people in the middle of the sea. No matter if there is all the difference in the world between a theoretical discussion about the reception of migrants and the rescue of real human lives.