Day Fifteen: Your Voice Will Find You
Today’s Prompt: Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force.
How does that make you feel?
Today’s twist: While writing this post, focus again on your own voice. Pay attention to your word choice, tone, and rhythm. Read each sentence aloud multiple times, making edits as you read through. Before you hit “Publish,” read your entire piece out loud to ensure it sounds like you.
I will digress from the prompt of the course today.
First of all, because ‘evil corporate forces’ organized all events that I’ve attended lately, strictly business, and no ‘love’ involved. Second of all, those events were not, for sure, life changing.
However, there is an event that deserves my attention. The decision taken by the European Union’s leaders, on the help to refugees from Africa, when trying to reach the shores of Southern Europe.
That is worth talking about, and I will explain why it matters to you too.
According to statistics provided by the International Organization for Migration, an estimated number of 1,750 people have died in the Mediterranean this year, up to April 21st. And estimated 850 perished in one of deadliest shipwrecks, when a ship carrying hundreds of refugees sank last Sunday.
Could that disaster have been avoided?
The answer is complex, but yes, potentially, it could.
If you talk about tackling the issue by addressing the reasons that drive the migration, then there isn’t an easy and fast solution at hand. There is an increased and uncontrolled migration, because of the dramatic wars and geopolitical issues in Syria, Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya, Iraqi, Palestine, etc.
If however, you talk about dealing with the inevitable consequences of these issues landing in Europe, then there is a need and a possibility to act, preventing humanitarian catastrophes, which inevitably are bound to happen.
From that perspective, this disaster could have been avoided. And you will understand why.
In October 2013 a shipwreck near the Italian island of Lampedusa, killed hundreds of migrants. Survivors and many more migrants kept arriving. It created havoc in the tiny island, which demanded urgent action.
The Italian government launched a rescue operation called Mare Nostrum. There were nearly 1,000 officers assigned for this operation, working in vessels from the navy, army, air force, police and coast guard. Their mission was to help boats in distress and to pursue the smugglers, as they patrolled very close to the Libyan coast.
In October 2014 though, the European leaders took a decision, which changed this course of action. Mare Nostrum was replaced by Frontex (the European Union’s border agency), which had the mission to only control the border, and not anymore perform search-and-rescue operations. Additionally, Frontex mission didn’t go anymore, closer to the Libyan coast.
Since 2011, nearly 300,000 migrants have made the sea crossing to Italy. Almost daily, there are migrants dreaming and attempting to make the deadly crossing to Europe. This dream feeds the business of smugglers and human traffickers, the masters of human exploitation during wars and other massive calamities.
When Frontex resumed operations, their new method facilitated the smugglers business to thrive even more.
The shock and outcry from the new tragedy, which claimed so many lives, has served as a wake up call to Europe, and its leaders decided last Thursday to triple the funds for the Frontex sea patrols.
When they discontinued Mare Nostrum, European leaders used short-term thinking. In their eagerness to reduce costs, they acted as Pontius Pilatus, by literally removing their hands from the massive chaos, and by not taking any more ownership for the migrants. As if that would make the problem vanish with the air.
Now let’s go back in time. Do you remember who was Muammar Gadhafi? Until 2011 he was the Libyan dictator. NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, helped overthrown him from power. The rest is history. Chaos ensued and stimulated the increase of migration through smuggling.
So, should the EU leaders think that the crossing to death in the Mediterranean is not their problem? Should they think they have enough in their hands with the Eurozone’s economic slowdown and strained relations with Russia over Ukraine’s invasion? I totally disagree.
There should be moral responsibility for the consequences of NATO’s intervention in Libya. Even though not all refugees come from there.
There is a hidden agenda for this rationale. Behind this decision lies an ugly truth. Many member states of the EU do not want more migrants reaching the European soils. That is the reality.
You might now ask me if I have credentials to write about this problem.
Let me say what I am not. I am not a politician, nor an economist.
Who am I to feel entitled to criticize the EU leaders? I am a European citizen. I am a human being. It is more than enough credentials to say what I stand for.
I read a quote that I cannot remember all words but it said this: “Don’t let only politicians take care of politics. It is too important to let them do it alone. Take responsibility. “
This encompasses what I believe my and your role is. I do have responsibility for what happens around me and I do have to voice my opinion when wrong actions are taken, instead of cocooning into my comfortable life.
I am angry when I see so many adults and kids desperately running away from the atrocities of war.
I am angry with the savages and rebels who took over their countries, their properties, and displaced them from their houses.
I am angry with criminal smugglers, easily running this business in a lawless land, cashing in the money, and selling a one-way ticket to death.
I am angry at the abuse, violence and hardship they suffer in the hands of smugglers.
I am angry at stupid political decisions.
I am angry with the European citizens who turn their face away from those in need.
I am angry to see so much despair and suffering still happening in modern times.
I am angry because I am part of the human race.
“Never deprive someone from hope; it might be all they have.”