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LIKE A MAN ON EARTH - A need for memory


A EU Council of urgency is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday April 23rd, for tackling the immigration emergency after the recent tragedies occurred in the Mediterranean sea.
We believe that this Council should have the courage of finding its roots in memory and in the recognition of specific responsibilities.
Today, we are not facing an unexpected chance, but rather the breaking point of a process which has begun over 15 years ago.
For those who, in the recent years, have had a chance of listening and understanding stories of migration across the Mediterranean sea, it is all too clear that the current humanitarian crisis is linked to the securitarian and repressive policies implemented by European countries who chose to finance North African police and militias, especially in Libya, rather than considering the rights and choices of fleeing human beings.
The buzzwords "not all of them can come here", "we must stop them before they arrive", "fight against illegal immigration and human trafficking" have produced a blockage which hasn't allowed an intervention on the causes of migration, but has increased the pressure, pushing it to its current unmanageable level.
Human traffickers, who today represent the main objective of European repression, are nothing but the result of a short-sightedness by the mentioned blockage. These people have acquired enormous power thanks to being the only alternative for entire fleeing populations. In order to fight illegal traffickers, we ought to understand how to talk to those who decide to leave. Otherwise we are doing nothing but help traffickers grow in their power and violence.
It feels useful to propose the free online streaming of LIKE A MAN ON EARTH at this very moment, as we are trying to understand what has happened and what we did wrong.
In 2008, the film denounced the atrocities of Libyan police and smugglers against migrants, but it especially pointed out the financial and logistical support granted by Europe and Italy who chose to remain silent despite having information about the perpetrated violence.
If Europe had listened to the witnesses of these stories, it would have stopped the construction of detention centers and it would have ended its operations of deportation, which gave power to the business of ''trafficking''.
But the choice was not to look in the hope that our policies of closure would work as a deterrent for those who, instead, continue to travel because they have nothing to lose.
Going back to these testimonies hurts, because now it feels like its too late to act.
Yet it is necessary, because only an assumption of responsibility can start a radical change of this terrible chapter in European history.
We ask that Europe pursues all possible efforts to provide accessible escape routes and to make migration legal, safe and secure. This in fact is the only way to undermine the power of human traffickers and to respond to the cries of those who will never choose to stay home, when home means death threat and no chance for growth.
And we ask that this efforts go alongside spread reception projects, so that the burden of this process is shared and not sustained by only a few countries and areas of the continent.

Andrea Segre e Dagmawi Yimer
Cultural Association ZaLab - in collaboration with Archivio Memorie Migranti