“The seas around us have turned into a cemetery.” (Maltese Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat)
In the past few weeks we’ve had stories of boats sinking going from Indonesia to Australia and Syria bound for Sweden and on the 3rd October a boat carrying migrants from Libya (mostly Eritrean or Somalian) to Italy sank off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa, killing over 300 people.
On 11th October a second shipwreck approximately 120 km from the island claimed the lives of at least another 30 migrants. There are reports of another boat which has capsized this week carrying yet more people trying to find a better life elsewhere, and were willing to risk their lives, and pay incredible amounts of money to do so.
“More than 6,450 people have died trying to cross from Libya to Malta and Italy since 1994, Italian charities say. People also perish trying to reach Spain or the Greek islands. Thousands more suffer daily hardship on their quests across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.” Says this article.
Most of the coverage I’ve seen has been about patrolling the waters and working up how to tighten immigration, with most European countries battening down the hatchets against immigrants. There are stories I could tell from people I’ve met in South Sudan where there is sheer, heart-wrenching, and life-risking determination to flee from hardship, dictatorship, poverty and live here (whether or not this country is quite as celestial and brilliant as they anticipated once they arrive is another matter entirely).
Yes we need to look at out borders, but where are the voices calling for action to bring regime change in Somalia and Eritrea (just for starters). That would require bravery. It may not yield oil and thus it’s not high on the agenda. I have written to my EU representatives- if you need a reminder of who to write to check out the http://wimps.tv/contact-public-servants to ask for their lobby on this issue in the European council on the issue on 24th October. Why not join me?