The Cambridge Dictionary defines “taking the lid off” as: “to cause something bad that was previously kept secret to be known by the public” (Cambridge Dictionary, Cambridge University Press). A writer like Thomas L. Friedman in the New York times should know this perfectly well, as he used this term in his column ‘ Opinion Can I Ruin Your Dinner Party?’ published on the 7th August 2018. This is the reason for why I writing this. Because of two paragraphs that needs to be addressed, I will first let his words speak, before showing what the EU says about the matter. As a European, the American writer doesn’t make sense.
The key part was:
“Toppling Qaddafi without building a new order may go down as the single dumbest action the NATO alliance ever took. It took the lid off Africa, leading to some 600,000 asylum seekers and illegal migrants flocking to Italy’s shores in recent years, with 300,000 staying there and the rest filtering into other E.U. countries. This has created wrangles within the bloc over who should absorb how many migrants and has spawned nationalist-populist backlashes in almost every E.U. country” (Thomas L. Friedman – ‘Opinion Can I Ruin Your Dinner Party?’ 07.08.2018 link: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/07/opinion/can-i-ruin-your-dinner-party.html).
I don’t know in which world Friedman is residing, but the words of the EU, Zelesa and MPC are clearly not opening any jars of uncertainty. Yes, there been a growing amount of illegal and non-asylum seekers through the United Nations or Bilateral Organizations, which they have come from War-Zones as in the past. As the EU Member States takes their quota of refugees and asylum-seekers as a global task of helping people in need, as that cannot happen where they are or they are living in temporary shelters awaiting hopefully a helpful nation to become their guardian. However, no else is saying it is NATO fault or even the fall Qaddafi, which is the reason for crossing across the Mediterranean sea. There is more porous borders as well as the conflict in the Sahel Region that has continued. These are all reasons for the transport of refugees from the rest of the Sub-Saharan Africa. However, there was never a lid to be taken of the continent.
The EU Science Hub states:
“Between 2008 and 2016, the total annual number of African migrants remained stable. However, legal immigration was declining in this period, while the number of irregular arrivals and asylum claims of Africans increased. Irregular arrivals of Africans via the Mediterranean started to decline again in 2017.In Europe, the majority of African immigrants come from North Africa, with most people making the move to reunite with family members already settled in a European country” (EU Science Hub – ‘New perspectives on African migration’ 01.07.2018 link: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/news/new-perspectives-african-migration).
EU Project opened more nations for Immigration:
“Clearly, African immigration to Europe was marked by increasing diversification both in the number of countries sending and receiving the immigrants. Particularly remarkable was the emergence of the southern European countries, principally Italy, Portugal, and Spain, themselves longstanding emigration countries, as immigration countries. This was as much a product of the improving economic fortunes in these countries and their integration into the prosperity and political sphere of Western Europe as it was of mounting immigration pressures on their borders to the east and the south. Enclosed in a new European transnational space, new identities of ethnicity and citizenship began to emerge that entailed creating both symbolic and material borders to keep away or distinguish the immigrants. The Europeanization of these countries and the rebordering of the Mediterranean that it implied required the separation and stigmatization ofimmigrants from the global South (Suarez-Navaz, 1997; Royo, 2005)” (Paul Tiyambe Zeleza – ‘Africa ‘s Contemporary Global Migrations: Patterns, Perils, and Possibilities’ P: 39, June 2010).
Migration Profile – Libya:
“Despite Libya being, first and foremost, a country of immigration, the deterioration of immigrants’ conditions in the country has also made it an important country for transit migration and particularly for the many migrants trying to reach Malta and the Italian Isle of Lampedusa As to emigration patterns, Libya has never recorded significant outward migration flows. However, during the 2011 unrest, there was an upsurge of Libyan nationals fleeing the country. According, though, to the authorities in neighbouring countries, the great majority are believed to already have returned to Libya” (…) “To conclude, two considerations can be made about the impact of the Libyan crisis on international migration movements. On the one hand, Sub Saharan nationals were without any doubt the people most at risk, both in Libya and at the borders (where repatriation activities led to an impasse). On the other hand, the capacity of neighbouring African countries to manage the crisis in terms of the reception of migrants was remarkable. (IOM, 2012)” (Migration Policy Center – ‘MPC – MIGRATION PROFILE Libya, June 2013).
As we can really see, is that what Friedman is saying is wrong. The African Migration to Europe has lasted long. That is not new and has usually followed to the previous Colonizers of the ones migrating. However, with the change of he European Union, has changed that pattern, but not opened up something. The Libyan Crisis and fall of Qaddafi have had is effect. However, the results by the EU and the IOM are stating not as bad as previously stated. Also that the “illegal” are rising, but less of the direct asylum-seekers, meaning their means and ways has changed, but the end-game are more of the same. They are still fleeing from crisis and wars in Sub-Saharan Africa, but they doing so by the shores of Northern Africa crossing into EU Countries.
So, the taking the lid off by invading and deposing Qaddafi seems like far-fetched. That is a lie, also a relic of the past, as Friedman sounds like they opened a box with a box-opener. This was simply done with getting rid of one dictator. He seems like that is the reason for the whole transit in Libya, not the whole conflict within the continent and neither the true nature of it all. As people are doing whatever they can to get shelter and hope for the future, because the International Community isn’t reacting or caring about the oppression in their nations. They are forgotten and know they will not get help, as the Western Powers are boasting these leaders who oppress and then people want to flee from these shores.
No lid was taken, it was never a lid there to begin with? Are there a lid that was opened so that United States could have space for all the slaves in the past? Or is there a lid taken of the brain of Trump? We all, the rest of the world really want to know.
Enough of this nonsense. Peace.