The lead front-page story in today’s New York Times is about illegal immigrants from Africa and Islamia pouring into Sicily.
No one could accuse Pozzallo of indifference. This small Sicilian town, like Italy itself, has staggered its way through a skyrocketing migration crisis in the Mediterranean that has seen roughly 120,000 migrants rescued by Italian ships this year, almost triple last year’s figure, while nearly 2,800 have died in shipwrecks or in transit, a fourfold increase. And more bodies may be coming. Rescuers are searching in the waters near Malta after reports this week that more than 750 people may have died in two shipwrecks in recent days. [Sicilian Town on Migrants’ Route Cares for the Living and the Dead by Jim Yardley; NYT, September 18, 2014]The Times’ traditional cluelessness about cause and effect (classically: “Despite Drop in Crime, an Increase in Inmates”) gets an airing:
Over the past three years, Italian authorities have swung from a hard-line policy to “push back” migrant vessels to Libya, to a search-and-rescue program to deliver them safely to Italian ports like this one. Migrants still keep coming.(My italics.)
The entire tone of the piece is cast in terms of sympathy for the illegals, although the examples Mr. Yardley cites aren’t actually very sympathetic.
Along the southeastern coast of Sicily, small cities have hurriedly opened holding centers, including an abandoned school in the port city of Augusta that now houses unaccompanied teenage boys. Many of them had left Gambia and Ghana, and even Bangladesh, to work as migrants in oil-rich Libya. But as Libya has steadily unraveled into anarchy and violence, they feared for their lives.Why not go back to Gambia and Ghana, then? Mr. Yardley has that covered.
“They can kill you at any moment, any second,” said Ibrima, a 17-year-old from Gambia, who worked in Libya before paying smugglers to reach Italy in August.
Asked why he had originally left Gambia, Ibrima lifted the back of his shirt to show a gruesome scar on his back. He said his father had two wives, and the second wife, jealous of Ibrima’s mother, doused him with scalding oil.That was not very nice of her, but presumably Gambia has laws against that sort of thing. In any case, as a reason why Europe should accept Ibrima for permanent settlement, it is not really very impressive.
This situation is only going to get worse—much worse.
“It is a river of people coming in,” said Daniele Carrozza, who runs one of the many holding centers in Sicily that house migrants, among them several thousand unaccompanied minors. “For the next few years, we are going to have an exponential increase.”I think Sig. Carrozza is right (assuming he understands the meaning of “exponential”).
If he is, then the moral universalism that informs the Times story will soon become untenable.