What are the boundaries for considering a law as unfair?
This is what I asked myself as I followed the debate around the Sea Watch, the ship of the namesake German NGO, but flying the flag of the Netherlands. Indeed, the ship’s captain Carola Rackete ignored the naval blockade set out by the Italian Custom Corps and landed the 42 migrants she was carrying on board and left adrift at sea for two weeks.
What fate awaits Carola, who was arrested as soon as she touched the ground, will be decided by the Italian judiciary. And if it’s true that a country’s law must be upheld, it is equally true that legislation in this area is quite complex, as both the law of the sea and international right cannot be ignored.
Yet, reading the comments and the opinions of these days on the issue, I managed to give myself an answer, that is, there should always be a line which no law should cross: the respect for human life.
This is why I feel safe to say that I’m not afraid by someone who contravenes the law, if that violation allows you to save even one person. I’m more afraid of those who, under false pretences, demand compliance with laws they don’t even know, leaving people for dead into the sea, giving themselves the right to decide that some lives deserve assistance and that nobody should care about other lives. As if the discriminating factor for determining whether one deserves to live or not was being born in the right or wrong part of the world. As if we hadn’t already been there, right here in Italy. As if we all didn’t study to what indifference towards laws which deny respect human life and dignity lead, whatever this means.
Therefore, seeing all the hate and the rage poured into Carola, I find myself thinking about the promise we always make each other every January 27, on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day: “never again”. And in front of those who believe that the sea, and not the institutions, is the right place to make decisions on human lives in danger, I have no choice but to ask myself what have we learned from that day.