Former Tunisian MP Karbay: “From Meloni, a new colonial project with old recipes.”

While twenty representatives of the countries of the expanded Mediterranean discussed migration and energy with Giorgia Meloni in Farnesina, a “counter-summit” was held within the walls of the Romanian social space Spin Time Labs on the same issues organized by Mediterranea Saving Humans. The meeting, which was attended by activists and refugees from several African countries, was moderated by Magdi Karbay. He arrived in Italy in 2009 for study reasons, and ten years later he was elected deputy of the foreign department. After what Said calls a “coup d’etat”, he can no longer return home.

How do you evaluate the Italian government’s strategy on the Mediterranean and Africa?

Meloni and the EU see immigration only as a security problem. Their goal is to outsource border control to non-democratic regimes on the other side. This strategy has already been applied, with Ben Ali or Gaddafi for example. When those systems fell down, it turned out that nothing worked. Meloni has a neo-colonial spirit, but with really old proposals. For us, we need to focus on the rights of those fleeing authoritarian regimes, war, poverty and natural disasters.

Meloni speaks of “non-predatory cooperation” with North African countries to support their development. Unconvinced?

You always repeat the name Enrico Mattei, but Mattei supported national liberation movements in various African countries. He said that the population must revolt. On the other hand, Meloni supports authoritarian regimes. The Matty Plan only exists in his head, and the real goal is to exploit resources. Supporting authoritarian regimes in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt does not serve development but rather to control borders. Human rights are not talked about in these countries.

Does the memorandum between the European Union and Tunisia make effects?

There were deportations to Tunisia on Thursday and Friday. This look might work. Not the rest, because if you give money to corrupt systems it won’t end up where it should. Not even cooperation can stop those leaving because something is wrong in Tunisia.


An economic model based on income and lobbies. Agricultural, tourist or financial lobby, for example. Banks and insurance companies are piling up profits even in this moment of crisis. On the other hand, if you are a freelancer, you cannot work remotely for foreign companies because the central bank prevents you from receiving money from other countries. It is a ruthless and corrupt system of government. If it does not change, then no development will come. It is also a stage in which the police take revenge for the years after the revolution. Now you end up in jail for nothing. Before, people would write, speak and criticize. Now nobody does that anymore. They are all afraid of finding themselves behind bars.

In Farnesina Said spoke about peace, fighting poverty, African pride, fighting slavery and human rights.

Said says one thing and does another. He talks about welcoming and deporting hundreds of immigrants to the borders with Algeria and Libya, where he took a picture of the deceased mother with her daughter. He speaks of Pan-Africanism and is the first to criticize the existence of sub-African immigrants. He accused them of conspiracy and ethnic substitution. He talks about human rights, but there are dozens of political detainees, such as former Minister of State Property and Land Affairs Ghazi Chawashi, activist Khayam Turki, and others.

Can you go back to Tunisia

No, I couldn’t go out anymore. In 2019, I was elected Member of Parliament for the environmental party and the center-left party Corrente Democracy. After Said’s coup on July 25, 2021, we held a plenary session against extraordinary measures. By zooming in and broadcasting publicly. We have been accused of conspiracy. The prosecutor who received the case archived everything. But then he was fired along with 57 other judges. It ended up in the hands of another judge. One of my former colleagues elected in the French constituency last June returned home. When he tried to return to Paris, they prevented him because of the ongoing investigation, which could last for many years.

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