Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Europe Cries Crocodile Tears as Refugee Deaths Skyrocket in the Mediterranean

More than 100 refugees died in the Central Mediterranean Sea in three shipwrecks over less than three days in mid-November. Six rescue ships were blocked in port by Italian and European authorities.

Esquerda Diário

November 25, 2020
Facebook Twitter Share
Reprodução/UNHCR – The Italian Coastguard / Massimo Sestin

The death toll of refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea for Europe continues to climb, with more than 100 people perishing at sea over a three-day period in mid-November. “For European governments or the EU Commission to say they are saddened by this horrendous loss of life is hypocritical at best,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, humanitarian affairs advisor of Doctor Without Borders (MSF).

In 2020 alone, nearly 700 people have died trying to escape from Libya across the Central Mediterranean. In early November, “a 15-year-old Eritrean boy was shot dead after armed men stormed a shelter in Tripoli,” said William Hennequin, the MSF program manager for Libya. “Killings, abductions, extreme violence — including torture to extort money from the captives and their relatives — remain everyday threats. That will keep pushing vulnerable people to cross the sea to escape this abuse in the absence of other safer ways to do so.”

On Wednesday, 11, Frontex, the European Coast Guard and Border Agency, declared its hypocrisy by saying it was “committed to saving lives at sea in close cooperation with all operational actors.” But as MSF explained, “The reality is that they have continually avoided sharing information relating to boats in distress” from rescue ships while sending the Libyan Coast Guard information “so the boats can be intercepted and the people forcibly returned to Libya.”

In August, more than 1,000 refugees were abandoned at sea by the Greek government. “I left Syria for fear of bombing — but when this happened, I wished I’d died under a bomb,” was the shocking statement by Najma al-Khatib in an interview with the New York Times. The 50-year-old Syrian teacher was one of the refugees abandoned on the high seas by the Greek government.

The humanitarian crisis is the responsibility of European states and their xenophobia, which forces immigrants into precarious jobs and kills refugees at the borders. Refugees and immigrants, who are forced to live under horrible conditions in the midst of a pandemic. They are refused even the most minimal sanitary conditions and instead, thousands are forced into unhealthy detention camps, left to poverty and disease. It is the same sort of anti-immigrant policies we see from many bourgeois governments — such as from Trump in the United States with refugees from Central America. 

Against capitalism’s xenophobic attacks, we raise the need for unity of the world working class to fight against the borders imposed by this system that allows and encourages atrocities like these.

First published in Portuguese on November 14 in Esquerda Diario.

Translated by Scott Cooper

Facebook Twitter Share

Europe

Berlinale: Filmmakers Say What the Rest of the World is Saying

At the Berlinale film festival, Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers called for equality and peace. German politicians want to ban such hateful talk.

Nathaniel Flakin

February 28, 2024

“Antideutsche”: The Aberration of Germany’s Pro-Zionist Left

As Germany persists in its unwavering support of Israel and the total denial of its genocide, the German Left is conflicted over the issue. While leftists all over the world are showing solidarity with Palestine, a segment of the German Left is historically pro-Zionist. How did this movement, the so-called Antideutsche (Anti-Germans) come to be?

Seb Zürcher

February 21, 2024

Why German Media are Lying About the Palestine Solidarity Movement at the Free University of Berlin

A rally in front of the Free University of Berlin had as many journalists as demonstrators. This is yet another example of the international campaign to defame all protests against Israel's genocidal military campaign.

Nathaniel Flakin

February 16, 2024

Protests in Germany: “The Whole Regime Is Shifting to the Right”

In Germany, over 1.4 million people took to the streets to protest the Far Right this weekend. Left Voice interviewed Inés Heider, a social worker in Germany and activist of Klasse Gegen Klasse, our sister organization in Germany, about the mobilizations in recent days and the current political dynamics in Germany.

Inés In

January 25, 2024

MOST RECENT

No More Aaron Bushnells

Aaron Bushnell was a victim of the U.S. military and a world where it's normal for people to burn. He should inspire a massive movement for a world without despair.

Samuel Karlin

March 3, 2024
Black UAW workers, a black-and-white image, holding signs that say "UAW ON STRIKE."

To Achieve Black Liberation, Class Independence Is Key

A united, working-class party fighting oppression is our only hope for Black liberation.

Tristan Taylor

February 29, 2024
A banner reads "Real Wages Or We Strike" at a rally for CUNY, which is experiencing cuts from Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul.

CUNY Faculty and Staff Have Gone One Year Without a Contract — It’s Time to Strike

CUNY workers have been without a new contract for a full year and the university has yet to make any economic offers. It's time to take action.

Olivia Wood

February 29, 2024
Aaron Bushnell, who self-immolated in protest of the genocide in Palestine.

Aaron Bushnell’s Cry of Despair in the Face of Genocide

The media and international community was profoundly affected by the self-immolation of U.S. soldier Aaron Bushnell in protest against the genocide in Gaza. His death and desperate act of protest starkly shows the cruelty and brutality of U.S. Imperialism and Zionism.

Enzo Tresso

February 28, 2024