'Sea captain Carola Rackete broke the law to pull migrants out of the Mediterranean and bring them to Italy. However, support for immigration in Europe is falling, and the outlaw activist has embraced a new cause: the environment.
The line between ‘activist’ and ‘criminal’ is often a blurry one, and 31-year-old Carola Rackete has one foot to either side of it. A former conservation volunteer and officer on Greenpeace ships, the German activist took over the helm of the ‘Sea-Watch 3’ in June. A month later, she was arrested in Italy for docking on the island of Lampedusa with 53 migrants in tow.
The Italian government had closed its ports to migrant ships in June, and the Dutch government - whose flag the Sea Watch 3 sailed under - described her organization as “not a rescue service but a ferry service.” Rackete was honored by left-wing politicians across Europe, but is being investigated for aiding human trafficking, as her ship would regularly sail just kilometers off the Libyan coast, ferrying migrants on the last leg of their trip to Europe.
Italian authorrities are investigating her for disobeying an order not to enter Italian waters, and for aiding illegal immigration. If found guilty she could face 15 years in prison.
The criminal investigation hasn’t deterred Rackete. Instead she’s hopped on a new bandwagon: saving the planet.
Rackete got on board with Extinction Rebellion this summer, after the eco-activist group made headlines by gluing themselves to trains in London and blocking roads to Heathrow Airport. In her new calling, she’s been just as cavalier about the law.
Speaking to German media recently, she aped the rhetoric of climate crusaders like Greta Thunberg, warning “we are the last generation that can do something. It will be too late for future generations to stop climate change as an existential crisis.” Rather than badgering politicians like Thunberg does, Rackete calls for her supporters to break the law to bring about change. Otherwise, she argues, “we support the current system with everything we do and everything we don't."'
Read More: Germany’s migrant-smuggling activist switches to climate cause, calls for civil disobedience and ‘eco-socialism’
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