03 October 2014

3 Questions About the Malta Shipwreck

TeleSUR English

Last month, a shipwreck off the coast of the island nation of Malta dispensed with a large quantity of asylum seekers from various nations who were attempting to migrate to Europe. The media put fatality estimates as high as 500.
According to reports from survivors, the vessel was deliberately rammed and sunk by the traffickers in charge of the operation — who, having already collected the requisite fees for passage from the migrants, apparently saw no further need for their human cargo.
Numerous Palestinians were on board, having made the near-seamless transition from existing under Israeli bombs this summer to existing at the mercy of seawater. An NBC News article tells the post-shipwreck story of a 27-year-old man named Khamis from the Gaza Strip, who managed to survive both events:
Khamis was able to cling to a life-ring along with six others. "But one after the other, over the next day and a half, the group began to slip beneath the waves," according to IOM [International Organization for Migration] cultural mediator Ahmed Mahmoud…
Soon it was just Khamis and a 14-year-old boy clinging to the life-ring, and the pair told each other their life stories in a desperate bid to keep awake. The teenager was trying to get to Europe to meet his mother who suffered from a severe heart problem. But eventually he also slipped under the water.
I recently wrote to Neil Falzon, director of the Malta-based human rights NGO aditus, with some brief questions related to the shipwreck. As Falzon makes clear, the inhumanity of human smugglers is merely one by-product of a fundamentally inhumane system. READ MORE AT TeleSUR ENGLISH.