19 Apr 2015
I borrowed the caption of this article from the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi who described the increasing fatalities of migrants trying to cross from Africa to Europe as “systematic slaughter in the Mediterranean”. It is estimated that about 1500 migrants have perished in the sea trying to Cross from North Africa to Europe between January 1 and April 18th 2015. About 1100 of this number died in two incidents within the last one week. This is a tenfold increase over the same period of 2014.
Regardless of these deaths, it is projected that more desperate migrants will embark on the perilous journey in the coming days, weeks and months. Libya where most of the intending migrants are in transit is descending deeper into chaos with no government authority. As violence from the various armed factions and ISIL instills fear in Libyan residents, people smugglers take advantage of the lawlessness to pack people in rickety unseaworthy boats and ship them to either Southern Europe or to their death.
In a recent meeting between US president Obama and the Italian Prime Minister, both of them recognized the fact that one of the key components to resolving the unfolding disaster in the Mediterranean Sea is stability of Libya. Obama talked of seeking the cooperation of Gulf States which have influence over the various Libyan factions. In a veiled criticism of some of these Gulf States Obama said, "In some cases, you've seen them fan the flames of military conflict, rather than try to reduce them."
The two leaders may just be shedding crocodile tears because they know that their countries (acting as NATO) in conjunction with some Gulf States headed by Qatar are responsible for destabilizing Libya and indirectly responsible for the instability contagion that has spread southwards to West and Central Africa with the help of arms and fighters from a Libya in chaos.
While we grief for our own that are dying, we wish the U.S president and his allies success in trying to resolve the problem of instability that they created in Libya.
Images of migrant boats
Njei Moses Timah