Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Deaths per thousand at european borders : Welcome to Fortress Europe.

It is now estimated that over 300 people will have died when a ship full of migrants sunk off  the Italian island of Lampedusa.Since then on Monday, 13 refugees drowned off the coast of Scicily while attempting to swim to shore.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24380247 These people have  joined the thousands of people who have already died thanks to the racist policies of Fortress Europe. Policies  have been designed to make it almost impossible to legally reach Europe and consequently as a result of this people are forced to take desperate risks.
One of the first divers to reach the wreck reported that " There were bodies everywhere, trapped inside the wreck, but also on top  of it and around the boat. I saw at least 100 corpses. But what struck me most was that some of them were locked in an embrace - they were hugging each other as they exhaled their last breath. Nobody wants to die alone. I still can't get the sight out of my head. I can't think of anything else."
The map above shows graphically the scale of deaths on the borders of Fortress Europe - this latest disaster off Lampedusa was of a scale that it was reported on. But as shown again and again there is a constant death toll of small groups and individuals that are not judged to be even worth reporting on.
Europe cannot go on sealing its borders and pretend this is not happening. Movement of people is inevitable due to social conflicts, repression, despaired poverty or natural disasters, there will be further asylum seekers and further tragedies, as  people try to escape persecution.
I believe that Europe must act together and dismantle its barricades to avoid further tragedies. These deaths are not isolated incidents, they are symptomatic of policies that no longer see the humanity of those fleeing their homeland.  For most refugees they are  denied access to the asylum system and are treated like criminals.By making legal immigration and asylum nearly impossible these policies will  lead to further tragedy.Border militarisation, asylum laws, detention policies, deportations and carrier sanctions etc etc. that lead to the  tragic death of migrants and refugees must continually be questioned. Senselessly increasing military  patrols near the coast of North Africa is simply not a solution, and while condolences are always  good to hear, there must be a better way, and the continued detention of vulnerable desperate people must be avoided, and the laws of immigration should not be punitive.  However much European governments try, it is impossible in this global world to shut its doors, we are living in the age of migration, fact, we must look for solutions not more punishment.
The survivors of Lampedusa are now crammed into a refugee centre  on the tiny island, with many forced to sleep in the open.


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