Since the “Solidarity” village first opened, we have been speaking out against the squalid operations of the ex- Minister Maroni who actually experimented his new segregationalist politics on asylum seekers by placing them in a village more than 10 km from the nearest inhabited centre. Furthermore, under the guise of the North African Emergency, tens of millions of euro were squandered on rent (€6million per year for Pizzarotti di Parma) and made accessible to the usual local clientele, all to create business at the expense of the migrants.
We speak out against the fact that the Mineo Cara (Hosting Centre for Asylum Seekers), a place of profound suffering (7 manifestations have taken place outside the gates and numerous cases of attempted suicide have been reported) has stolen more than a year of the lives of thousands of migrants who could, had they had their asylum applications’ rejected, made immediate use of a permit of stay on humanitarian grounds. This is especially true for those who arrived as a consequence of the war in Lybia (it is interesting to note here that 85% of military operations started from the Birgi (Trapani) or Sigonella Bases), just as was seen in previous years with those escaping the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
There are still some people who continue to have the courage to protest at Mineo- not for the rights of the migrants to have a dignified future- given all the injustices they have already been subjected to, but because of the huge amounts of money which are being made at the migrants’ expense. Migrants have been placed indefinitely in the Cara, with the aim of squandering public money which would have been more effectively used had it been injected into the SPRAR (Service for the Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees) system. Many more people in small and medium sized towns would have been able to benefit through the favouring of their progressive social insertion and their possibility of joining the workforce. Instead since March 2011, the entire area has been militarised and those who exploit illegal hiring in order to have cheap labour to work on their land have become better off (some have even had the courage to ask for compensation for damages caused by migrants).
Many asylum seekers are still awaiting their permit of stay as a result of the numerous rejections based on fabricated grounds which are being issued which in turn lead to biblical waiting times for the consequent appeals. The 18th December is a global day of action against racism ( http://globalmigrantsaction.org/index.php?mysection=Italiano ). This year we will again be organising an interethnic meeting in front of the disgraced megaCara calling for its closure. We appeal to the migrants and to all associations to help build a pathway of solidarity and to continue to fight for citizens’ and asylum rights.
Catania Anti- Racist Network