watersbroken

After Lampedusa?

Posted in 1 by Editor on February 14, 2011

A massive wave of migrants has struck the island of Lampedusa in Italy in recent days, as people seek to escape economic and political uncertainty in North Africa. Italy has declared a state of humanitarian emergency, but so far its requests to send police to patrol the Tunisian coast line have been rejected by government officials in Tunis.

Tunisian authorities have angrily turned down an Italian request to send police to help battle the overwhelming tidal wave of refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean. Thousands of would-be immigrants have swamped the tiny island of Lampedusa, a part of Italy but located just 150 kilometers (93 miles) from the North African country.

In the past five days, more than 5,000 Tunisians have inundated the 20 square-kilometer island, with around 1,100 refugees reaching the shore on Saturday night alone in what Italian Interior Minster Roberto Maroni has described as a “biblical exodus.” Some have been forced to wait on the pier in the cold winter weather, while others are in makeshift emergency shelters. The constant stream of thousands of Tunisian refugees struggling to make it to European soil in boats has been declared a humanitarian emergency.

Read more http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,745421,00.html

 

The Tunisian government has condemned calls from Rome to deploy Italian police in Tunisia to tackle a sudden wave of migration.

Spokesperson Tayeb Baccouche said Tunisians rejected the idea of foreign troops on their soil, but said the cabinet would debate the issue. More than 4,000 migrants are reported to have arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa in the past few days.

Read more http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12445008

 

Malta  next?

In the meantime, Malta’s justice minister, Carm Mifsud Bonnici, wrote to EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to express concern that his country could be soon affected by the immigration wave, the Times of Malta reported. He said Malta was backing calls by Italy for a forthcoming meeting of EU justice ministers to discuss the impact of developments in Northern Africa on immigration.

According to the UN refugee agency that is monitoring the situation, Malta could be a landing point for Tunisian migrants who are fleeing in large numbers to Lampedusa.

Read more http://www.euractiv.com/en/east-mediterranean/tunisia-boat-people-put-eu-test-news-502113

 

MEANWHILE IN EGYPT…

So far, Egyptians have put their faith in the fact that the officer corps watched the extraordinary events of the last two weeks and would not dare undermine the democratic demands of millions of fellow citizens.

They may very well be correct that the army can become a democratic force despite serving as the pillar of a non-democratic system for the last sixty years. There is great hope that the political dynamics in Egypt have now changed in such profound ways that it would be impossible for the military to do anything but help midwife Egyptian democracy. Observers can only step back and hope that Egyptians are correct. far, Egyptians have put their faith in the fact that the officer corps watched the extraordinary events of the last two weeks and would not dare undermine the democratic demands of millions of fellow citizens. They may very well be correct that the army can become a democratic force despite serving as the pillar of a non-democratic system for the last sixty years. There is great hope that the political dynamics in Egypt have now changed in such profound ways that it would be impossible for the military to do anything but help midwife Egyptian democracy. Observers can only step back and hope that Egyptians are correct.

Read more http://www.cfr.org/egypt/egyptian-militarys-moment-truth/p24093

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