By Monique Bouffé
#refugeeboats #lampedusa #Mediterranean ‘#GMABlog #JeSuisUnRéfugié
A couple of weeks ago, yet another boat filled with refugees trying to reach Europe capsized, confirming the deaths of almost 700 people. It is unlikely that we will ever find out their names or whether they left families behind in their attempt to live free or war and persecution; families who will never know if their sisters, husbands, wives or children ever made it to the safe haven of the European Union.
To call the response inadequate would be a gross understatement. Various statements were made; the EU called for ‘urgent action’, politicians tweeted their sympathies (although one wonders whether they were more concerned with the burden of refugees who survived than those who did not) and the European Council came up with a ‘ten point plan’ after a thoroughly disappointing emergency summit.
A tangible and humane response failed to appear. Compare this to the downing of the MH17 flight or the Charlie Hebdo attacks, where countries went into national mourning and where we learned the personal information and stories of the victims to sympathise with the families and comprehend the severity of their loss. Triton (the Mediterranean border control/rescue operation) has not been significantly enlarged, campaign slogans advocating stricter immigration controls have not been removed and we certainly do not see thousands of people crowding the streets shouting “Je suis un réfugié.”