The Mediterranean is Becoming a Killing Field

I’d like to take you on a journey. Up in the mountains behind Malaga lies the small town of Alameda. It’s only a little place, around 5500 residents, but it was my home for 5 years. Many of you may also have spent time in similar-sized towns, regardless of where you’re from on this world. Now imagine that over the course of one year, over half of its population died. You never knew where they’d gone, but you knew they were dead. Then imagine that in the first four months of this year, nearly all of those remaining died.

All those people, with their own individuality, hopes, dreams, desires, loves, talents, skills, irreversibly removed from this world. The devastation you would feel would be intolerable, and yet death of this scale is happening as we speak, as so chillingly put by Dan Hodges in his blog for The Telegraph.

Since January last year, 3750 people are thought to have died crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe. Some are fleeing a wrecked state that the US and EU have barely helped since the Civil War ended. Others are fleeing Somalia, or Eritrea, or other countries in desperate situations. In the latest incidents, 1300 people have died in a single week. You’d think that such “civilized” nations would be trying their hardest to stem the flow of blood that is seeping into the Mediterranean from the bloated corpses of those who had the temerity to wish for a better life, but no.

Instead, Britain and the EU have cut search and rescue. Through some perverted reasoning, it is believed that instead of saving people, search and rescue actually causes more people to die. That they’re enticed across as the refugee believes they’re more likely to survive the crossing. In the perfected Machiavellian logic of conservatives, it must make sense – “this way we can pretend to care and cut costs at the same time!” Either the conservatives, who have likely never experienced such a crisis don’t understand the desperation of those fleeing a conflict zone, or simply see it as a way to seem hard on immigration, appeasing xenophobes.

The rise of the anti-immigrant UKIP political party in the UK, and the racist vitriol found in the right-wing press went some way to creating this policy too. It is possible that by the end of the year, 5000 or more people will have died making the crossing. Killed by this policy. The “immigrants taking our jobs and benefits” idea is riding high going into the UK General Election next month. Will any change come, regardless of who takes power? Looking at the parties, it seems unlikely. Even the ostensibly left-wing Labour Party are promising to be tough on immigration. This toughness has already killed thousands.

David Cameron, Nigel Farage, the Daily Mail, right-wing peddlers of hate of all European nations – thousands of people, with their own individuality and dreams of a better life, are now dead by your hands. How do you plead?

JECC – Nerja, Spain – 22/04/2015

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