(ANSAmed) – LAMPEDUSA, AUGUST 4 – EU lawmaker Pietro Bartolo, who worked for years as a migrant doctor on the Italian island of Lampedusa, said on Thursday that the Mediterranean had taken the lives of “more than 40,000 people and I had to see so many of these bodies during post-mortem inspections.” Speaking outside the island’s Porta di Ponte during Gratitude Day celebrations, Bartolo said he wanted the Mediterranean to be again “a sea of life, a bridge, not a cemetery, a sea of support, something it has always been” for the inhabitants of Lampedusa who have given everything to help those who have not lucky enough to be able to stay home – people who have made terrifying journeys to land on this raft, or Lampedusa”.
Bartolo, who was in charge of the Poliambulatorio clinic in Lampedusa, said there are “small fringes” of people who are beginning to “oppose the reception” of migrants, “but that’s the big responsibility of those who let the migratory phenomenon become a problem – a problem that does not exist”.
He added that he was “very disappointed with the attitude of Europe”, which transferred all the responsibility “into the hands of those who rescued more than 30,000 people. It is something that Europe should have done by establishing a center for search and rescue service at sea,” he noted. “NGOs would be very happy to leave the Mediterranean if such a service was in place. Migrants should not arrive there, they should arrive through humanitarian corridors,” the lawmaker continued.
Bartolo said “we talk about economic migrants, climate change migrants, undocumented migrants” but “these are people, they are not enemies” who threaten “our borders. Borders must be defended against those who are armed, these people are only asking to help people is not a choice, it is a duty and the inhabitants of Lampedusa and the security agents have always done it. To say that these migrants are enemies is intolerable”. (ANS Amed).