A lot of bad things can happen to human beings throughout their life. Even being born may not be good if you were born in a place or time that is bad. One can have the “bad luck of not being rich”, a euphemism for poverty, or not having to eat, or not being able to go to school. You can live in a place with no living conditions, no water or no roof. We can have the bad luck of being a minority in time or in the space where we are not respected. You can even have color on the ground of people who think they are colorless. You can be a child where, or when, you cannot be a child. You can be young when you should be an adult. You can be a woman where and when only men can. We may have to flee from a cataclysm, an earthquake, a dictator or a war. You may have to walk through a desert or a sea (or both) with your life in the hands of others. We may have to live between countries, the homeless and the homeless, the homeless and the family. You may find yourself in a refugee camp and be hungry and thirsty, cold, hot and scared. We can be alone in a crowd of people like us. You can be persecuted just for having ideas (!!) or opinions (!!). We can have misfortunes throughout life, each of us can one day be a refugee.
However, when I watch Mória, when I see the images of single children and parents and grandparents with empty hands, when I talk about the suicide attempts of the children after another start to finish as the fire started, I wonder if it is just that. these human beings must suffer all these adversities in one lifetime. When I see images of people like us in unnecessary suffering, I wonder if we are still human. Mory is the hell that Dante Alighieri guessed almost a thousand years ago.
A few months ago I wrote a text here suggesting that Europe, at least the European Union or Schengen Europe or maybe even Euro-Europe (which, after all, there is a lot Europeans), was able to create an “Operation Welcome” solidarity – as Brazil created for the Venezuelan refugees. In this operation, on the front line, a consortium between structures of the Brazilian State and United Nations organizations provides assistance and reception in various centers created for this purpose in cities such as Pacaraima, Boa Vista or Manaus. After a local referral, a first reception and a definition of the legal status of each host (i.e. asylum seeker, subject to humanitarian protection or candidate for legal migration), these migrants and refugees are distributed over on a voluntary basis, throughout the Brazilian territory. This intra-Brazilian mobility is mostly done independently, but in many cases (around 40,000 since April 2018), an innovative mechanism – which they called “internalization” – is used which allows migrants / refugees to move around towards municipalities where their integration (work, housing, health or school) can be achieved more quickly and efficiently.
This mechanism makes it possible to reduce migratory pressure at the “entry points” and to share the burden of care between the different states that make up the Federative Republic of Brazil. I would highlight, among other mechanisms used, the use of family reunification or familiarity reunification (or social sponsorship reunification), work twinning between a potential employer and a potential worker (done remotely), school twinning (reception of families where there are children and young people in schools) or the voluntary offer of care made by Brazilian municipalities. These mechanisms make it possible to accelerate geographic mobility and to withdraw entire families from refugee camps in border areas. It’s not a perfect operation, far from it, but it certainly contains a good practice manual that can be exported to other places in the world.
The motto of the Brazilian “Operation Welcoming”, “Welcoming, Sheltering, Interiorizing”, contradicts our imagination of a Brazil with closed doors and high walls in terms of migration and, after all, for us Europeans, it leaves us with a certain “bitterness of the mouth” concerning our inability to “welcome, shelter, distribute among the European States” the weight of a tragedy like that of migrants / refugees who try to escape poverty, war and hunger and to enter one of the richest regions of the world for its Mediterranean doors. In recent years, this tragedy has known, here in Europe, many remarkable moments such as the pateras heading towards Spain, the boats arriving in Lampedusa, Malta, the south of Italy or the Greek islands, the lines of hikers crossing several borders in Inner Europe in an attempt to gain safety and refuge. We have the burden of thousands of corpses in a Mediterranean that has already united, but now it is only parting. We have famous refugee camps like those in Greece or Calais. We have children emerging dead on our beaches and now we have a sequence of chaos, fire, chaos, which takes away from those who already had nothing what they had left.
Here I call directly on the main leaders of the European Union not to let Hope die. Part of the future of Europe lies here. It is this social, humanist and progressive vaccine that will be able to fight against the virus of indifference and make us become human again.
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In a time of pandemic in the world, the biggest virus remains that of indifference. In a Europe rich enough to waste food, consume the world of future generations in single-use packaging, use advanced technologies for entertainment and recreation. In a Europe rich enough to take care of financial markets and support economies confined for reasons of public health. In a Europe with larger intellectuals, senior executives of the world’s largest corporations, with armed forces and civilians trained to act globally (and even beyond). In a Europe with 500 million Europeans and a vast territory that crosses several parallels and meridians.
In this Europe, it is not possible that we cannot organize to “welcome, accommodate and distribute internally” the refugees who are stationed at the southern border. I directly call on the main leaders of the European Union (in the Council, in the Commission, in Parliament) not to let Hope die. Let us know how to organize a ‘welcome operation’ in Europe. Let us build with what we have already learned (and which international institutions, NGOs, the Academy can synthesize) a European model of reception which is a reference for the world and for future generations. Part of the future of Europe lies here. It is this social, humanist and progressive vaccine that will be able to fight the virus of indifference and make us become human again.
The author writes according to the new spelling agreement