Thousands of people have arrived, yet hostile Italian and hypocritical EU leaders offer no help – to them or to the 6,000 islanders

It is nothing new for Lampedusa to be waved about politically as the symbol of a supposed European migrant invasion. Yet the latest operational emergency, in which up to 15,000 people arrived on the island in a few days, could have been foreseen and properly responded to by a country of Italy’s size. The situation here is a crisis only because we have a population of just 6,000.

Lampedusa experienced a similar wave of boat landings in 2011 after the Tunisian revolution. Then, large numbers of people crossed the Mediterranean to flee the political unrest after the regime’s collapse – and the population of the island doubled in a matter of weeks, causing a political outcry.

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