Today I want to reflect a bit on what does the word human makes us think of? In this fast world that we are living in, it feels like the word has lost its meaning as from morning to evening – the news abounds with inhuman acts – nothing new you would say. True. Nothing new, unfortunately. Indifference though, the fact that we have this impression that we cannot change the things which concern us because we are too small to do it – is the result of this globalised world.
However, when you see this in your day to day life and you end up accepting it…when you turn a blind eye to what’s around you, acknowledge, yet you do not stand against, you end up believe in it, you end up being indifferent and on top of that, justifying yourself. A person’s moral sense of what is right and wrong can change so much in time…
Is this all consumerist, capitalist, high-tech society makes us forget about what being human means? Because what is being human after all than just see yourself in the other? When the other has nothing and is on the brink of dying, would you just watch and point fingers at who’s fault is it, at who should deal with it or the reasons why you aren’t responsible for this? Or even worse, take all those people as you would take a ball of tennis and throw it over the fence- tell yourself it’s not your problem and forget all about the matter?
We are living historical times – whether aware or not – we are living times of a huge humanitarian catastrophe and collective failure. Yes, I am talking again about the refugee crisis – as the Mediterranean sea is becoming a silent cemetery where the numbers of graves are rising and yet the real number is lost.
Yet there are still some human rights fighters, those that have silenced every voice that told them they can’t. I wanted to write about those that beyond all international declarations, laws and regulations, pacts and conventions that rule and promise REsolutions and variables – they do what is right according to their conscience, to what a human should do for another human.
I recently watched a documentary which startled me to the point that I said I have to write about this. I have to let it out. ‘Iuventa’ is a documentary directed by Michele Cinque (which I definitely recommend you all to watch), which talks about a German NGO https://jugendrettet.org/en/– who set up a high target and with crowdfunding managed to buy a ship and conducted several operations at sea in the rescue of migrants. They started in 2016 until August last year they managed to save more than 14000 people in 15 rescue missions!
Since they were already starting to raise questions on why Europe does not do something in this respect ( their initiative was mostly to attract the attention of the EU and eventually recreate a second ‘Mare Nostrum’ but funded by Europe) their ship was confiscated and they were accused of human trafficking and violation of the Italian immigration law! So while Europe was trying to camouflage, push back the problem back to Africa, some idealistic youngsters were trying to overdo it and yet falsely accused for doing so! Till today the ship is still seized in the port of Trapani.
While the aim of the European Union is to close the humanitarian corridor, they criminalise and accuse those that want to bring a change. While the NGOs are trying to keep up with the incoming influx of refugees, Europe turns its back and gives in to massive human rights violations, disregarding the international law and allowing people to end up in detention camps with catastrophic conditions.
The same documentary mentions about Mediterranea-Saving Humans https://mediterranearescue.org/en/ –a platform that conjures different organizations that have joined forces with one single focus- to put the lives of the people above everything’s else.
While Europe refuses to see itself responsible for the death toll that keeps on rising, after Iuventa and many other NGOs saw a dead end in its aim to bring a change, Mediterranea is a project that can show to the world that yes, it is possible. While their main aim is to monitor and report what is happening, they also intervene when needed in saving people – and bring them to a safe harbour, according to the international laws. Now, of course, that following that, the refugees will be subject to the respective countries’and European laws.
Italy, as well as the majority of Europe, are following an enclosed strategy towards the refugees. Many nations are in moral decline and unfortunately, even if we believe ourselves to be good, giving, the truth is that when it comes to foreign, to other – we somehow become frightened, defensive and close our doors.
Because in the end, we should be more reflective. Isn’t the way we treat the refugees a direct mirror on how we, as citizens will be treated? Seeing how governments and the media treat the refugees is a direct reflection of a society that in the long run will lose humanity towards its own citizens. We have forgotten to see the morality in the matter and we tend to just scrupulously focus on the economic side. We forgot that caring only for your own tribe or group is still a ‘toxic residue of centuries of slavery and segregation’ . This is NOT a UNION as we so much like to call lit.
We should create a society that is to be first moral – inclusive, we should, at this point, be able to live in a humane, caring and wise society that cares for the human not for the capital ( and we don’t lack models here, although the countermodels stand massively ahead – see the UNITED States).
Storytelling – we need to talk to find dialogue, to stop simplifying a problem that is so complex. We should not refrain from talking about it, from doing our share. We, as individuals, can start just by changing something in our own heart first – then maybe we can expect a shift in conscience at the societal level. We should reflect more on what does being a human mean to us. We should stop taking things as they are served to us and question more. Remember that we, after all, are the creators of our own life where we are always the main actors!