Italy Reacts to Chaotic Arrival of Migrants

Nearly 7,000 migrants disembarked on the Italian island of Lampedusa between September 12 and 13. The island’s permanent population is only 6,000. The scenes of chaos that followed exemplified the challenges of the renewed migrant crisis Italy and the European Union are facing.

Tragedy: Approximately 6,800 migrants arrived in 120 boats, flooding a shelter designed to hold only 400. Multiple tragedies have accompanied the event.

  • During the chaotic approach to the island, a 5-month-old baby fell from one of the boats, drowning before rescuers could arrive.
  • On September 15, a bus carrying roughly 50 migrants from Lampedusa crashed into a truck on the outskirts of Rome, killing two.
  • Video evidence has also emerged of migrants inappropriately touching female volunteers, though no charges have been filed.

Reactions: Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said that “what happened in Lampedusa is the death of Europe. The dead newborn represents political, cultural, social and moral death.” He called the events “an act of war” and an “exodus” of migrants planned by human smugglers.

Speaking to Italian news channel Rai 1, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said the primary question was how to stop migrant arrivals in Italy, but added, “I still don’t see any concrete answers.”

Search for solutions: Italy’s problem is Europe’s problem. The EU saw a 28 percent rise in asylum requests during the first half of 2023. Some of the migrants who landed in Lampedusa will end up in northern Europe, such as Germany or the Netherlands. Others, from French-speaking countries in Africa, will go to France or Belgium.

In August, Belgium suspended the right of single male refugees to claim asylum, citing a lack of available housing and a desire to prioritize families. Most of the migrants who arrived at Lampedusa were single males.

The subject of redistributing migrants among EU member countries is highly controversial. Italy regularly accuses the EU of not doing its part, leaving the peninsular nation alone in its struggle to integrate vast numbers of migrants with different cultural and religious backgrounds into Italian society.

Question of leadership: Successive leaders have tried and failed to resolve the migrant crisis. However, the Trumpet forecasts a distinct change in how Europe deals with migrants is on the horizon.

The ongoing societal and religious tensions will worsen until a strong leader comes to power, both in Italy and at the European level. This leader will be motivated by strong religious beliefs; the Bible gives insight into what his leadership will look like.

Daniel 8 describes an authoritarian leader who will briefly unite Europe. Daniel 11 reveals that he will confront “the king of the south,” which the Trumpet identifies as radical Islam.

Revelation 17 depicts Europe as a beast (or superpower) with seven heads and 10 horns. Verse 12 reveals that these “ten horns” are 10 kings, or lesser authoritarian rulers under him. The seven heads represent seven resurrections of the Holy Roman Empire (verse 10).

As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in the July Trumpet issue, the 10 kings of the Holy Roman Empire are rising now. The events at Lampedusa are part of a trend that will lead to a dramatic leadership change in Europe.