Oppressed populations around the world acquired a new rival on Wednesday with the announcement by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of his campaign to “Free Lampedusa” within 48-60 hours.
What the Sicilian island requires freeing from: thousands of migrants, primarily arriving from North Africa.
Why it requires freeing: residents are not pleased, and Berlusconi sympathizes. (So much so that he has spontaneously purchased a villa on the island.)
The migrants are being transferred to refugee camps on the Italian mainland, which has generated unrest among certain sectors of population of south Italy who feel that the freedom of Lampedusa will occur at their expense.
In this video below, for example, from minute 1.22-1.34 the south Italian gentleman in the red hat explains that “since the state doesn’t do shit” he has taken it upon himself to capture refugees who have escaped from the makeshift camps—in this case, the two darker men being herded in front of him.
One of the camps has been set up in Oria, a city in Puglia where I have spent a great deal of time arguing with the relatives of friends about whether or not the Muslims are endeavoring to absorb Italy into an Islamic caliphate.
That Italy may not be the current focus of caliphate expansion has been suggested by the following cartoon, posted by the group Oria & gli Amici della Lanterna, which also raises the question of whether it makes sense to capture refugees headed for the train station when your goal is ostensibly to purge foreign invaders from your territory as quickly as possible:
The bubble on the left reads: “Go away!! We don’t want you here”; the bubble on the right reads: “Who wants to stay here anyway? We want go France and Germany… this is worse than Kabul!” (Background photo of Oria from wikipedia.it)