(Photo above: refugees being detained in Italy, 1991)
This is an article from 1991, before the world got crazy.
““Twenty years ago, on 8 August 1991, several ships carrying approximately 15,000 Albanian migrants succeeded in entering the port of Bari, Italy. The Italian government’s response was harsh. Most of the Albanians were detained in a sports stadium without adequate food, water, or access to bathrooms. Italian authorities dropped supplies to the detained migrants by helicopter. Within several weeks most of the migrants were deported to Albania. Their harsh treatment was criticised by human rights organisations and the Pope, but was justified by the Italian government as necessary to deter further irregular migration from Albania. …
Albania’s forty years of isolation from the rest of the world, combined with its disastrous economic, social and political situation, have had a traumatic effect on its citizens. They feel overwhelmed by hopelessness in the face of Albania’s domestic situation, and although their knowledge of other countries is based solely on what they have heard, or seen on Italian television, they long for the opportunity to start a new life abroad. …
During the first days of August 1991 thousands of Albanians reached the western port of Durres and the southern port of Vlora, in the hope of going on board ships that would take them to Italy. … On 8 August 1991 an estimated 10 000 Albanian nationals aboard several ships forced their way into the port of Bari in the south-east of Italy.
… After several hours of waiting in the port of Bari, the Italian authorities allowed the Albanians to disembark for humanitarian reasons and led them to La Vittoria Sports Stadium. As the Italian authorities started forced repatriation using military transport planes and ferries, clashes broke out between policemen and Albanians.
… The large majority of Albanians arriving in Italy were claiming to be looking for work and escaping the poor economic situation in their country. … Although there was remarkable sympathy for the Albanians in Italy, the official Italian position was that these persons were seeking economic betterment in Italy and consequently could not be considered as political refugees.”