Anglers of Men: the Politics of Rescuing African Migrants in the Mediterranean Basin
Lorenzo R. Rinelli
This article theorizes the dynamics that emerge from the intimate relationship between contemporary African migration, liquid borders, and law around the channel of Sicily, between Italy and Libya. This is one of the deadliest and most trafficked migratory passages in the world. There, in the same waters where Ulysses and Aeneas roamed for years, whose epic journeys are considered foundational within the European identity narrative, the trajectories of migrants boats are traversing, disrupting and shuffling the European geographical limits. As a response, states are enacting a policy of containment that renders African migrants’ presence at sea invisible, while criminalizing human solidarity enacted by private organizations as well as individuals. Making use of a legal discourse analysis I will dig the premises behind the antinomic concept of criminal solidarity that emerges today in Europe as a somehow coherent system of thought, shaped by laws, codes of conduct, rules, and rulings. Specifically, by analyzing the rulings of one tribunal in Sicily, I will make an attempt to expose how rigid conceptions of borders naturalize state’s efforts to define the limits of national territory, while conversely, I will consider how the micropolitics of justice are capable of shaping the contours of discourses on current migration.
Key words: Border, European Union, justice, migration, rescue.