“Melilla, One More Step”, Blanca Garcés Mascareñas (CIDOB, Barcelona)

The border violence isn’t new but the deaths at the Melilla border fence on 24 June are one more step. One more step in the images they have left. Although photographs and videos of bodies on the border, and of the violence and illegal acts committed by security forces on both sides have been circulating for some time now, this time they are terrifyingly brutal. The image of heaps of bodies left lying around and treated with contempt has historical connotations that nobody, and least of all in Europe, can ignore.

In addition to the images are the words. The Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, didn’t hesitate to call the immigrants’ attempt to cross the border a “violent attack” against the “territorial integrity of our country”. No mention of the deaths. Moreover, to make matters worse, he congratulated the Moroccan gendarmerie for what he deemed an “assault well dealt with”. Statements like these also represent one more step with the unabashed, categorical assertion that migrations are a question of national defence, as if we were really at war.

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