Last night’s news feed featured a series of articles about the latest wave of refugees to land on the Italian island of Lampedusa. Over the last two days, more than a thousand new “migrants” — most of them Tunisians — have come to Lampedusa, which is close by the Tunisian coast.
Since the uprisings began in Tunisia, thousands of immigrants have been added to the native Italian population of Lampedusa. If the refugees are not yet a majority on the island, they will be shortly.
A discussion arose among the commenters on the news feed about the possibility that the Italian authorities might decide to send the Tunisians home. Randian responded with this comment:
I’d like to believe that, but if Italy won’t disobey EU law and start shooting the invaders, or ship them back to whence they came, they will lose Lampedusa without a shot being fired.
Lampedusa’s total population was about 4,500. 1,000 Muslim invaders just showed up. We have seen what happens in Europe with just 5% Muslim population. What do you think nearly 20% will do? Another wave and Muslims will be the majority on Lampedusa.
Randian has a point. But what exactly will “losing” Lampedusa involve? Will the Italians, both on the island and on the mainland, simply capitulate to the new owners, and allow sharia to take hold on Lampedusa?
For the time being the Italian government is following EU human rights law — the Marquess of Queensberry rules for immigration in the 21st century — and treating the immigrants with great care and at great expense. But there’s no guarantee that the current situation will continue indefinitely. The Eurozone is about to hit a very hard fiscal patch, and financial constraints will tend to change the nature of the game.
The last time I heard, Muslims were already almost 50% of the population of Lampedusa. Before the latest crop arrived, several thousand refugees had come to the island from North Africa since the trouble started in January. So the island is already close to a crisis point.
And think about the larger implications: Lampedusa is (or will be soon) majority Muslim, but its new arrivals are totally dependent on subsistence supplies sent in by the Italian government. If a change in the political wind in Rome were to cause the withdrawal of this generous support, the refugees would be grappling for fish in the surf to avoid starvation.
Lampedusa is much closer to Tunisia than it is to Italy. If the Italian government were to cut its supply lines and evacuate the native Italians from the island, then the Tunisians on the island would soon jump in the nearest rickety tubs and hightail it back to Africa.
Or they could continue on to Sicily, which is also a major destination for refugees from North Africa. However, Sicily has a much larger native population, as well as its own quaint customs about how to handle meddling strangers.
The financial crisis that lies ahead — which may include severe inflation for the euro and all other major currencies — will change the rules about handling immigrants. What is inconceivable now may become quite thinkable at that point, and maybe even a political necessity for those who end up running Europe in the aftermath.
We live in interesting times.