From Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Somalia they come. North African immigrants are fleeing their homelands for a brighter, hopeful future. From the beginning of this year there have been reports of at least 25,000 refugees from Tunisia alone hitting the shores of Italy. Not being welcomed in Europe, subjected to racist and cultural suspicion since most North Africans are Muslim. Italian trains filled with North African immigrants are being stopped at the French border. In March, 2011, 98 North African immigrants went on a hunger strike in hopes of securing residence permits. The hunger strike ended 98 days later after the immigrants were assured that the Government would delay their proceedings and grant temporary status so they could remain in the country. Their future undoubtedly remains uncertain.
And so it goes with the plight of the modern-day 21st century “Trail of Tears” for the roving bands of North African immigrants. This is a shame, because while the EU is crumbling under the endless cascade of public debt that is quickly going to bankrupt countries within a few years, and these people lucky enough to be hired will be the first to get a pink slip. They have no future in a post-colonial, post-industrial world. They can’t go back to North Africa – that would be certain death, or worse. They can’t stay in Europe because people there are fearful of losing what they have to the immigrants. They are literally stuck between two worlds. That these lives will probably be thrown away is a damn shame. And for what? Because there is not enough money in the world to insure people have a dignified life.
This can be changed, if we can agree on a new set of principles on how we want to live and if we are willing to scrap the current system and begin anew. Wealth redistribution isn’t the answer because we have poisoned this economic system beyond repair. The explosion of the Global Debt Time Bomb will level the playing field, paving the way for a post-capitalist New Deal where we can make it so that people do not have to buy their survival from others. What will have to happen in the aftermath of the Global Debt Time Bomb is that the elites will have to accept that their days of ruling the roost is over, and for the good of all, they must relent. They were not worthy of their position and actually messed things up for everybody. A new economic system will have to be drawn up from scratch, one that takes into consideration everyone, fairly and equally.
The revolutions that have been claimed to “change the face of the Mideast” has not in fact changed anything in any fundamental way. The military is still protecting the interests of the Arab elites, just as before. Why do you think the poor in those countries are leaving? Because as it is in most revolutions, the poor are always left worse off.
So you see, the poor have no choice in wanting to stay or leave their countries because they will do what will guarantee their survival first, and if that means hopping on an overcrowded boat to get to Italy, so be it. They are not going to worry about whether the Europeans (who are directly responsible for the partitioning and rape of resources in Africa) think of them. That problem will be faced in time. And if that means hopping on an overcrowded boat to get to Italy, so be it. If they have to face drowning in the Mediterranean Sea, so be it.
And that principle should be one thing – that which is best for all. If we can put a man on the moon, we can figure out the calculus of Equality. The entire conception of Human rights emerged because there was a sense of human dignity being assaulted and diminished. (Habermas, 2010) Are we really that content to continue down this path?
Jürgen Habermas (2010). The Concept of Human Dignity and the Realistic Utopia of Human Rights. Metaphilosophy 41 (4):464-480.
Article first published as The Plight of North African Immigrants on Technorati.