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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.
Libya’s Col. Muammar Gaddafi is known for his proposal of a state called Isratine. I would propose another state by the name of Italibya.
Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi has already sounded the alarm that taking a stroll in downtown Milan can cause one to think that one is not in fact in Europe but rather in Africa. In 2009 Italy test-drove a convenient way to deal with attempts by the formerly colonized to violate the territory of their colonizers, and hailed Tripoli’s acceptance of over 200 Africans discovered in small boats off the coast of Malta.
The voyagers were escorted by the Italian coast guard and police from European waters back to their continent of departure. For anyone in doubt, Berlusconi clarified that his government was not founded on the goal of a multiethnic society and would receive only those migrants meeting the requirements for political asylum. It was not explained whether asylum tests were simultaneously administered to the 200-plus migrants while they were being forcibly repatriated by the Italian state.
Back in 1986, The Washington Post reported on a meeting at the White House, attended by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State George P. Shultz, about ways to undermine the regime of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. The terrorism option had already been tried.
According to an AP report on the story, it contained the following details:
…Mr. Reagan at one point referred to Colonel Qaddafi’s reported proclivity for flamboyant attire, saying, ‘Why not invite Qaddafi to San Francisco, he likes to dress up so much?’ and Mr. Shultz rejoined: ‘Why don’t we give him AIDS!’”
California officials took offense on behalf of San Francisco and the AIDS community.
Reagan smoothed things over by denying that he wanted Gaddafi anywhere in the U.S.
During a visit to Nicaragua not so long ago, I spent a good deal of time speaking with a former Sandinista fighter, now a bank security guard in the town of San Juan del Sur, who was disillusioned with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and what he referred to as Ortega’s abandonment of Sandinista revolutionary ideals.
It was as if, the security guard said, the dead no longer mattered when one was in power.
The death toll of over one thousand in Libya has provided the Nicaraguan leader with a second opportunity for revolutionary abandonment, and Nicaragua’s opposition daily La Prensa reports Ortega’s affirmation of total solidarity with Muammar Gaddafi at the United Nations yesterday.
According to the paper, Ortega condemned “speculation by western media, which through exaggerated and contradictory news reports incite violence and [set the stage for] foreign intervention” (see Fidel Castro’s warning of an impending NATO invasion of Libya). (more…)
Nearly 25 years ago, U.S. air strikes on Libya killed 41 people in Tripoli and Benghazi, including the adopted daughter of Muammar Gaddafi, in what Noam Chomsky has referred to as the “major single terrorist act” of 1986.
In 2009, Gaddafi himself posed the question:
What’s the difference between the U.S. airstrikes on our homes and [Osama] bin Laden’s actions?”
Congratulations to Gaddafi for thus far outperforming the U.S. by a factor of 3 in Benghazi alone.