The anti-racist groups who have circulated an open letter for the blocking of the C-Star are organising a press conference to emphasise the Catania is a city which welcomes migrants, and which rejects the arrival of the ship belonging to the Fascist group Generazione Identitaria and instead expresses its solidarity with the NGOs saving lives at sea – organisations which have been hit by a ferocious and unjustified campaign of defamation in recent months.
The press conference will be held tomorrow, Saturday 22 July at 10m, at the port of Catania, next to Dock 8.
The Fascist ship C-Star is expected to arrive at the port of Catania over the following days, a vessel hired by an explicitly racist and xenophobic group, Generazione Identitaria, in order to push back migrants – through paramilitary action – who are attempting the Mediterranean crossing. They would thus intercept the important rescue work undertaken by the increasingly criminalised NGO humanitarian vessels.
A stop over in the port of Catania or other Sicilian ports would allow the loading of provisions necessary for the “mission” and the “volunteers” who have signed up for the paramilitary operation.
Since the end of last year, Frontex and other “secret services” of European governments have spread defamatory accusations that the NGOs collaborate with human traffickers. Unfortunately, many media sources, instead of checking the veracity of this claim, have amplified a climate of intolerance with regards to those rescuing people at sea. In doing so, they have heightened a xenophobic panic pushed forwards by openly racist political forces, despite the fact that “incitement to racial hatred” being a crime in Italy under the Mancino law (n.205, 1993).
We extend our solidarity to the NGO humanitarian missions. We recognise the value not only in saving thousands of human lives but also in their constituting an irreplaceable witness to that which is occurring every day in the Canal of Sicily and along the Libyan coast, at the exact time when European governments are financing and arming the Libyan Coast Guard to block the departure of migrants and Frontex is gradually reducing its Search and Rescue interventions, instead prioritising the militarised blockade of the departures and the closing of the borders.
Generazione Identitaria’s “mission” is the latest moment in a growing climate of criminalising solidarity, from Catania to Ventimiglia, from Greece to Calais.
Project “OpenEurope” – Oxfam Italia, Diaconia Valdese, Borderline Sicilia Onlus
Translation by Richard Braude