What will be left of the Diciotti affair? A few hours since its conclusion the question appears to be legitimate and necessary inasmuch as an ordinary episode has abruptly grown out of proportion on the international scenario. The facts are known: on the one side the Italian government was unwilling to authorize migrants to disembark from its Coast Guard ship, on the other, for the umpteenth time, Europe has refused to address this phenomenon with a shared approach. Finally, the Italian Church resolved the situation by taking in the migrants. Thus,
In a week’s time we witnessed a typically Italian anomaly resulting from a political and social climate marked by a wave of escalating hostility against immigrants over the past years, involving also the institutional realm.
In 2017 the previous government undertook a perilous road, first by signing an agreement with Libya to stop migrant inflows into Italy and then by excluding NGOs from taking part in rescue operations at sea. In continuity with that decision, the government-in-office raised the ante to the extent of blocking the activity of an Italian naval vessel, stretching laws and procedures in an unexpected manner. The judiciary evidently could not ignore this anomaly and decided to open an investigation against Government representatives. What has happened is unquestionably worrying, and nobody is left unaffected. We are experiencing a humanitarian and values crisis marked by the institutional bodies’ utter inability to interact with one another and to engage in dialogue with civil society, not even when faced with emergencies. The irresponsible dissemination of fake news, whose immediate effect is to polarize the positions of public opinion, prevents the full exploration of news reports, thereby further aggravating this situation. As a result,
Eritrean refugees on board the Diciotti coast guard ship were hastily dismissed as economic migrants, while it is a shared view that they are people fleeing from persecution in their home countries, and are thus entitled to humanitarian protection.
The verbal attacks against the Church on the aftermath of her intervention to solve the Diciotti case, by offering to accept migrants into her structures, covering the costs, is symptomatic of the current situation in our Country. In many cases the Church’s welcoming approach was met with harsh reactions despite the efforts to solve an institutional impasse. This shows that concrete gestures of solidarity are no longer sufficient, not even to those who have repeatedly accused the voluntary sector of helping migrants for financial profit. Nonetheless many have decided to go straight on regardless, in the belief that solidarity remains a value in all circumstances. Thus it should not come as a surprise that after the migrants disembarked over 40 dioceses announced they would take in 100 people who, despite themselves, in a few days became the symbol of a disoriented Country in search for a lost identity.