Monday, 07 March 2011

Italy's Frattini: If Ghadafi Falls, Refugees Will Overwhelm Europe

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If the Libyan government collapses, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini (photo, left) has warned, Europe may suffer an influx of many as 800,000 refugees.

Frattini told London’s Telegraph that an exodus of biblical proportions was on the horizon should the dictatorial regime of Moammar Ghadafi fall to the revolutionaries fighting his forces:

We know what to expect when the Libyan national system falls — a wave of 200,000 to 300,000 immigrants. These are estimates, and on the low side ... It is a Biblical exodus. It’s a problem that no Italian should underestimate.

Frattini said a third of Libya’s 2.5 million people are immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa who will flee the country if Ghadafi falls. Already, thousands of those immigrants are heading for Tunisia. Last week, the New York Times reported that 90,000 refugees were trying to cross into Tunisia.

Ghadafi The Border Guard

Ghadafi, Speigel Online reported in late February, “has enjoyed a cynical role as Europe's border guard against African immigrants.”

In December, he warned that “Europe will become black” if he decides to pull back his patrol boats that stop refugees from reaching Italy and Greece. Speigel continued:

Gadhafi in recent years has played up his role as a bulwark against African immigrants to Europe. Italy and Libya began joint naval patrols in 2008 to stop boatloads of illegal or trafficked immigrants from crossing the Mediterranean, and last year Libya signed a €50 billion deal with the European Union to manage its borders as a “transit country” for sub-Saharan Africans.

According to the Telegraph, since 2008 when those patrols began, the number of refugees entering Italy has dropped dramatically.

Amnesty International has called upon the German government to help Italy if African refugees flood the country. “Germany has to finally end its obstructionist attitude regarding a common refugee policy in the EU,” said Monike Lüke, the head of Germany’s AI branch, according to Speigel Online.

Another Italian official, Umberto Bossi, a leader of the anti-immigration Northern League and a minister in the government of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, said Italy would merely send any Libyan refugees to other countries: “If they arrive we'll send them to France and Germany.”

Has "Camp of the Saints" Finally Arrived?

In February, The New American detailed the arrival of 5,000 refugees on the Italian isle of Lampedusa after the government in Tunisia fell. An Italian called that an “unprecedented biblical exodus” as well.

Tunisians overwhelmed the island. According to The New American,

Such is the influx to the small island that its Mayor Bernadino Rubeis declared a state of emergency. So did the Italian government. With a population of just 6,000, the arrival of the Tunisians meant the population doubled in just a few days. The Mayor told the Associated Press that Lampedusa’s detention center was unguarded because the island does not have enough police to stand the post.

Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni told the BBC, “It is a question that risks igniting an extremely fast process of change in North African countries, that can have devastating consequences on the institutional and social structures of European nations. ... It’s not a question of traditional immigration involving Italy alone.”

The frightening influx of Africans to Europe bears an eerie resemblance to the scenario that French novelist Jean Raspail described in his apocalyptic novel, Camp of the Saints, which envisions the collapse of Western Civilization when 1 million Indians, sailing in the “Last Chance Armada,” show up on the shores of France.

Like the officials who seem powerless to stop the very real immigration crisis facing Europe now, Raspail’s fictive Frenchmen are paralyzed with fear, wondering what to do. In the end, they permit the “Last Chance Armada” to land, which results in the collapse of France and, ultimately, of the West.