Italian authorities vowed a few days ago to send home more than a thousand Africans who invaded the isle of Lampedusa after leaving Tunisia and Libya to seek fortune in Europe. The latest pronouncement from Italy, London's Telegraph reported, came after the detained illegal aliens set fire to the facility in which they were housed.
But the latest crisis on Lampedusa is merely one more ugly episode in the avoidable fate that befell the island when the tsunami of refugees landed after the collapse of Tunisia’s government early this year. The island is just 113 miles from Tunisia, and is indeed closer to Africa than to its mother, Italy.
Throughout this year, Italian officials sat paralyzed, wondering what to do about the great African migration while the teeming horde of Tunisians, Libyans, and others swept over Lampedusa like a biblical plague.
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Photo: Anti-riot police officers line up in the island of Lampedusa, Italy, Sept. 21, 2011.: AP Images