This is the latest article in today's Independent:
For three days and three nights, these African migrants clung desperately to life. Their means of survival is a tuna net, being towed across the Mediterranean by a Maltese tug that refused to take them on board after their frail boat sank.
Malta and Libya, where they had embarked on their perilous journey, washed their hands of them. Eventually, they were rescued by the Italian navy.
The astonishing picture shows them hanging on to the buoys that support the narrow runway that runs around the top of the net. They had had practically nothing to eat or drink.
(Mods, please remove this pic, if anything on it is found to be offensive ... Thanks.)
The same article reports this recent incident:
[...] On Friday, The Independent reported how a Maltese plane photographed a crazily overloaded boat in this area carrying 53 Eritreans, several of whom telephoned desperate pleas for help to relatives in London, Italy and Malta. The boat disappeared with all hands before anything was done to save them. They died, not because help was unavailable, but because no-one wanted to do anything. Malta is full up. Libya, where these voyages begin, takes no responsibility. One might think that the EU's new frontiers agency, Frontex, had a part to play. But its "rapid response team" remains on the drawing board.[...]
Both quotes from http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article2588985.ece
This article has really touched.
I know there are those who complain about the constant stream of immigrants and how they may (or may not) affect our economy.
But I am sure that people do not easily leave behind their homes and their family and loved ones - not unless they are desperate enough to do so.
These people clearly have nothing and are desperate enough to risk their lives on small boats in the open sea.
How can we, the European nations - rich by almost anybody's standard - turn a blind eye to their plight and let them perish at sea?
Here is another interesting article from the same paper:
Across Africa, millions are dreaming of fleeing to Europe. Families scrimp and save to find the money needed to secure a seat on a boat. Young men, often fathers, squeeze on to overcrowded, rickety fishing boats that leave Senegal, Libya or Somalia in the dead of night. They take with them nothing more than the hope that a better life lies across the sea.
Across the continent, in west Africa, it is a similar tale. Civil wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast have devastated the region in the past decade, while poverty has taken hold in countries such as Senegal and Mali despite their relative peace and democracy. No one knows exactly how many die pursuing the dream of a life in Europe. According to the UN's refugee agency hundreds of would-be migrants have drowned so far this year. The real figure could be far higher. Boats are unregistered and there are no passenger lists. It is impossible to know how many boats failed to reach their destination or how many people were on board.
But as long as poverty and conflict continues to blight the African continent people will continue to find a way out. And as long as Europe needs unskilled labour this will continue to be their destination.
Peace to you all.