On June 14th a trawler capsized with as many as 750 people including children on board under shady circumstances in the Mediterranean Sea. The Greek authorities were first alerted to the vessel about 15 hours before it capsized. With the vessel clearly in distress, a rescue operation should have been launched. The ship, afflicted by engine trouble almost from the outset, was stationary for several hours before it sank. There are strong indications that the Greek Coast Guard attempted to pull the boat out of Greek waters before it capsized. The Greek state provided no information on this. This could be because they were not rescuing people but pushing them back from Greek waters. Towing overcrowded boats is dangerous and is not used in rescue operations, but in pushbacks. Greece has for a long time been accused of pushbacks - an illegal act even in terms of bourgeois international law. For many years now, European states (including Greece, Italy, and Spain) with the implicit encouragement of the EU and tolerance of other international organizations conduct lethal operations on the European borderland to protect Fortress Europe. At the same time, the wealthy European North has closed down their borders, despite the alleged freedom of movement within Europe, and has politically and economically supported hard anti-migration policies and practices at the European borderland, including the disgraceful EU-Turkey deal in 2016. The deal was one element of the EU’s inhuman policy to a sharp rise in the number of people arriving at Europe’s shores in search of safety and protection in 2015.
As a result, the Mediterranean Sea has turned into a gigantic cemetery. While the EU hysterically regulates for and facilitates the freedom of movement of capitalist goods, it normalizes the assassination of thousands of people who simply attempt to reach the European continent for a better future. The creation of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, known to everyone as FRONTEX, symbolizes the EU's politics of death.
But this time, Fortress Europe exceeded itself. The people aboard the trawler were from numerous different countries, such as Pakistan, Syria and Palestine, and they were headed from Libya to Italy. At the moment, there are hundreds pronounced dead and hundreds missing - which makes this shipwreck amongst the worst ones in the history of Europe after the Second World War. The media coverage of the shipwreck itself in the Nordic countries is minimal. The death of poor migrants from Asian countries does not shell on Nordic media and does not appeal to the average Svensson/Hansen as much as the war in Ukraine. Ironically, around the same time, five billionaires died on their vanity trip to observe by close proximity what is left of Titanic. The 'lucky five' received much more attention than hundreds of migrants who died in the Mediterranean Sea. While the contrast is outrageous, it is not surprising! Life is not valued the same in capitalist societies!
The physical violence of the European borders is grounded on peoples' perceptions of the socially constructed myth of the sovereign state. "Fortress Europe" is constructed through the imaginary that Europe is a special and separate space that should be protected. Needless to say, that Europe - both in material and conceptual terms - is built on colonial exploitation. Climate change, an important reason for people to be fleeing their homes in the first place, is rooted in the same colonial, neoliberal politics, that benefit Europe and force populations to leave their shelters due to poverty, environmental degradation, capitalist exploitation, wars and so on. In addition to the abuse of natural resources and the exploitation of humans by humans in different regions of the planet, the colonial power dynamic is based on white privilege - that is, the protection of Europe equals the protection of whiteness.
The same white privilege and whiteness characterize the Nordic states and their far-right governments. The recently resigned Finnish minister of economic affairs Vilhelm Junnila had previously publicly spoken at Nazi events, as well as posted photos of KKK snowman and so on. A number of Swedish governments both from the left and the right blocks for many years now have fueled racist discourses, enacted anti-migration policies, and established police state in vulnerable urban areas. The Danish state went as far as to enact the so-called "ghetto laws" which allows for the eviction of ‘non-western’ housing estate residents in areas classified by the government as a “ghetto”.
It is time to abandon this exceptional view on the Nordic countries. Nordic states are equally guilty of murder. We need to act now. To act is both to provide material aid to those in need, as well as to smash the oppressive system. Our enemy is here, within Fortress Europe.
They shall pass!
Solidarity with migrants!