Italy may be home to some of the oldest civilizations in the world, but its endurance over millenia of cultural evolution have also pushed it the cusp of Europe's future. This nation suspended between the Old World and the New, has become the point of arrival for migrants from the Global South to the North.
"One can’t fail to see the connection between the wave of migration and the events in Europe. Granted, not every immigrant is a terrorist, but in Europe we don’t pursue the right policy on immigration.”
The original refugee story of the holiday season was the nativity, with the migration of a young family in search of a place of sanctuary. Today's holiday refugee story begins with a similar quest to a destination unknown, but it started the day after Christmas, not in a ramshackle manger by the roadside in Bethlehem but at a retired airport in Berlin. A group of activists gathered at Templehof Airport to start a similarly perilous journey--a pilgrimage to the ancient city of Aleppo, marching back into a biblical land overtaken by humanitarian crisis.
The migrant encampment known as "The Jungle" in the port city of Calais, France, is set to shut down starting the week of October 24. The British and French authorities who administer the area have, after months of political squabbles, moved to demolish the vast shanty town that migrants have built here as they seek passage to the United Kingdom by road. For those stuck in limbo at the border, authorities have promised to move remaining residents to supposedly safer shelters.
With hundreds of people thronging to the southern shores of Europe every day, and scores of rescues--and deaths--taking place on a daily basis on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, the refugee crisis on the Mediterranean often seems like a horror to which the world somehow remains blind. One man on the island has made it is his life's work to help us see. As the optician of Lampedusa, he has witnessed, mourned, and reached out to the people he's encountered on the sea, and he's begun telling his story.