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Focus

by Isabel Cuesta Camacho

This first issue of Focus for Atlas of Transitions centers on the idea of the European Project as a peace and Human Rights project. Under the premise that it is important to know history in order to understand the present, three scholars have been interviewed about the origins of the European Union.

In an interview with the Swedish scholars Peo Hansen and Stefan Jonsson, we talk about their book Eurafrika, The Untold History of European Integration and Colonialism, an impressive piece of research written with scholarly rigor and journalistic flair, about the important role of the economic and geopolitical exploitation of Africa in the foundation of the European Economic Community. Gustavo Gozzi, from the University of Bologna, takes us back to the time of colonialism to reflect on the fact that in the European colonies, indigenous populations had no rights, which he argues “is a central point because this reflects the attitude of Europe today”.

Nando Sigona, Birmingham expert on migration issues, explains how the migration crisis of 2015 has turned also into a “solidarity crisis and a crisis of the European project”, and discusses why actual European intervention in Africa won’t might solve the migration problem in the long run but may instead destabilize local economies. And we have spoken to John Mpaliza, Italian activist of Congolese origin who through walks, tries to draw attention to the ongoing 20 year war in Congo, that he denounces as “not only a war of occupation but a war for the exploitation of minerals”, especially Coltan and Cobalt, the precious metals that are used to manufacturing of mobile phones, the ones we use in our everyday life.

As Gustavo Gozzi says, “the past has illustrated to us that European intervention has not been in favor of Africa (or the Middle East). And therefore the migratory flows are a consequence of the lack of development that Europe has not favored in any way… History should be rewritten. Historiography should be used to make a country understand its responsibility”.

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The book Eurafrica: The Untold History of European Integration and Colonialism written by Stefan Jonsson and Peo Hansen explains the role of the economic and geopolitical exploitation of Africa in the foundation of the European Economic Community.
“In the European colonies, indigenous populations had no rights. This is a central point because this reflects the attitude of Europe today”.
“Refugees used as instruments for individual geopolitical agendas” - How the refugee crisis of 2015 turned into a “crisis of the European Union as project”, says Nando Sigona, expert on migration issues at the University of Birmingham.
“All the technology we use now somehow has its origin in Congo” - Peace activist John Mpaliza talks about the war in his homeland, and the exploitation of minerals that is killing children.