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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Aftermath - Europe now decided?

At last, some common sense prevailed following Italy's decision to take up the stranded immigrants as we read that they are being landed on Italian territory. Or did common sense really prevail?

Undeniably, it's good news that the people on the ship have been saved and are not at risk of starving or dehydration but the fact remains that the dispute between Italy and Malta is far from resolved and both countries will argue their case in front of the European Commission. However, I won't go into that in this post.

The fact is that I believe that the standoff is far more serious than the coverage it has received. In fact, if it had been simply a dispute over some unwanted cargo, then I wouldn't write about it at length. On the other hand, what was at stake here was human life - forget the definitions of these people set by international law for a minute. If neither Italy nor Malta had intervened, the result would have been far worse than a temporary strain in Italian-Maltese relations.

Indeed, it is precisely this precedent where people were used as a means to make a political point that is of serious concern. Whilst this represents a full breach of the immigrants' human rights, it is also an unethical position for any country to take.

For if this will be the way European member states will be settling the immigration issue in the future, then I expect more people will be sacrificed on our seas as countries immerse themselves in political disputes and clinical political strategies.

To conclude, it might be appropriate to cite the often forgotten principle of Immanuel Kant, which affirms that human life should never be used as a means to an end but as an end in itself (my paraphrase). Sadly, it appears that as far as this dispute goes, we have chosen to treat human lives as a means to prove a point.

Related post:

The Human Cost of Europe's Indecision