I know this beach, Sampieri – it brings the issue home
Welshcakes has two posts on it:
The human tragedy doesn’t, despite the words of the Italians, reach us here more than as a passing footnote but it should. Though it’s however many thousand miles away, it raises all sorts of issues, from the inhumanity of the leaderships of those countries, the inhuman religion exacerbating most of it, the tragedies themselves – people clinging to boats being beaten off to drown by those who’d exploited them in the first place …
And then the issue for the nation of where they are. No one likes to mention this at an emotional time but there is an issue nonetheless. For each tragedy, heaven forbid, there are all the boats which do get through. Once processed or even not, what then?
UNHCR figures show that nearly 22,000 migrants have arrived in southern Italy so far this year, a shocking rise over last year’s total of 7,981. Eritreans and Somalis make up the biggest groups, but Syrian arrivals have increased more than tenfold from 2012 and now rank third behind the Horn of Africa migrants.
In a 40-day stretch between August and September, “3,300 Syrians, of whom more than 230 were unaccompanied children, have come ashore, mainly in Sicily,” said Adrian Edwards, a UNHCR spokesman in Geneva.
The Syrian influx swelled noticeably as fighting ground down this past summer between rebels and government troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, culminating in the now-confirmed use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21 in suburbs of Damascus.
Most of those in the surge of Syrians reaching Italy fled Damascus, which has been the scene of intense fighting for months. Many of them are Palestinian refugees born in Syria, forced to flee from one shaky refuge to another, Edwards said.
In a July report, the U.N. refugee agency took note of increasing arrivals in Southern Europe from Egypt, Pakistan, Gambia, Mali and Afghanistan, all scenes of political, ethnic or religious conflict.
Afghans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and others from the impoverished Asian underbelly north of the Indian Ocean have mostly set sail for Australia and its outlying islands in attempts to escape turmoil and repression at home. But there, too, shipwrecks occur with numbing regularity, like the June capsizing near Christmas Island of a smuggler’s overloaded boat in which at least a dozen perished. In December 2011, more than 200 asylum seekers drowned or went missing when their overcrowded ship sank off Indonesia’s main island of Java.
In addition to the risks migrants face in crossing vast water bodies in unseaworthy vessels, they often find the circumstances awaiting them more difficult than those they fled, the International Organization for Migration reported last month.
“Migrants are less likely to feel satisfied with their lives than the native-born population,” the Geneva-based IOM said in its World Migration Report 2013. Referring to the Southern Hemisphere, which suffers a marked deficit in prosperity compared with Northern countries, the organization concluded that “migrants in the South often fare the same or worse than if they had not migrated.”
Would-be migrants to Europe also find less-than-hospitable refuge in the Northern African ports where they go to await boat passage, enduring abuse by local residents in Moroccan, Libyan and Tunisian ports.
It’s a constant dilemma – compassion versus responsibility to one’s people and what will happen to the culture – it’s an issue Australia had and it cost John Howard deeply. They have boat people, we have Labour and UKBA.
I was speaking to a Fijian recently and the issue there is similar, though without the boat tragedies. The Fijians felt they were being overrun by, swamped by the Indians and it was the change in culture which was the issue, the non-assimilation.
Australia’s a good case in point. So many Greeks, Italians and Germans settled there, they became part of the community and assimilated. Even the Vietnamese intended to do likewise.
In the UK, it’s an entirely different matter. From the gypsies to the Muslims to the Jamaicans, they’re a major problem. Italy has similar. One can deplore and feel desperately sorry for these tragedies at sea but also feel deeply sorry about what has happened to one’s nation.
And its culture.
There’s no solution. This is but one of the crimes attributable to Them and why we need to remain implacably opposed to the monsters t the top, running the world’s affairs.
Prayers for the dead, yes. As I go to work, that will be on the mind. Prayers for the nation the next day and for humanity itself the day after that – it is under attack.