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

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Human Cost of Europe’s Indecision

I have followed the problems faced by the influx of ‘illegal immigrants’ and the impact this is having on European member states close to the Mediterranean Sea, including Malta. I believe that there should be action by the European Union to address this issue. However, I also believe that Europe cannot honestly claim that it has nothing to do with this emerging problem. Indeed, European states (especially ex-colonial powers) were very eager to exploit African resources and manpower in the past.

In this sense, it’s horrible to hear that Italy and Malta are squabbling over who should take over the responsibility of taking up the 154 immigrants who were rescued by a Turkish vessel. It is horrible because while my own country and Italy are debating on the issue of whether Italy or Malta should bring these very same people in their respective countries, these people are dying as the situation on their vessel deteriorates and supplies of food and water are slowly depleting. Yes, they're at sea waiting for these two European member states to decide on who is responsible for their rescue.

Even if Italy or Malta may be right on their interpretation of international law, the fact remains that in the course of their confrontation, they are ignoring the basic right to life of these people. In other words, their conduct here flies hard in the face of any convictions they claim to have on the value of human life. It seems, however, that if you’re not a European, your life is at the mercy of politicians who prefer to waste time debating on whether they should rescue you rather than rescuing you now from the sea and settle the technical stuff later.

It’s when I read stories such as this that I feel ashamed of being Maltese, or even to be a European. These are not the principles Europe was built on. At least, this is not the European Union I wish to be living in.

More about this story:

Pregnant woman's funeral on stranded cargo vessel

Malta, Italy row over migrants

Dispute turns into war of words

Migrants wait on rescue ship as Malta and Italy debate their fate

Note: The term ‘illegal immigrant’ is denoted to every person trying to access another country with no legal permit or who has over-stayed permitted limits. However, a number of countries with no rule of law will not issue any valid legal documentation to escape such a country. Thus an ‘illegal immigrant’ can later prove to have a valid claim for ‘refugee’ or ‘humanitarian’ status depending on the country they are escaping from.