The coffin-ships of North Africa

EU cares nothing for refugees

Nobody with compassionate blood in their veins should be able to ignore a coffin ship, especially since we sent so many of them from these shores, and yet the wholesale destruction of human life in the Mediterranean is ignored.  Nine  hundred people drowned the other day in a single incident, with most of the victims locked in the hold of the ship, suffering a painful, agonising death as the vessel rolled over.  Their bodies will never be recovered nor mourned by their families.

Italian navy rescue asylum seekers

Each of those desperate people had paid traffickers €1,000 for passage to a new life in Europe, and all of them were trying to escape the desperation of conflict and oppression.  They found themselves herded onto grossly unseaworthy vessels, crewed by other refugees with a little seafaring experience, and cast adrift on the  Mediterranean with barely enough diesel to get them as far as Greece or Italy.

That’s close to a million dollars a boat for the Libyan traffickers who operate this vile trade.  Gadaffy used it during his dictatorship to apply pressure to European governments.  When they gave him what he wanted, he choked off the trade, and when it suited him, he launched a flood of immigrants into the EU.

What we’re seeing now is an appalling exodus of desperate people from Syria, Eritrea, sub-Saharan Africa, all seeking someplace to have a life and raise their children in dignity and peace.  Many of the conflicts they flee from were caused or exacerbated by the activities of European governments, European companies and  the EU itself, just as the activities of American business and political entities did exactly the same.

Syria itself is the product of French and British interference in the  Middle East, just like Iraq.  Many people escaping from ISIS are running away from a thing created in large part by Paul Bremer, the American pro-consul in Baghdad,  following the USA’s pointless and illegal invasion of Iraq.

Western hands are not clean in this appalling surge of human misery and therefore the EU needs to take responsibility for its share, just as the United States does.  But at the same time, Italy is not responsible for all the misery of Africa and the Middle East, and should not be forced to absorb the entire stream of immigrants from North Africa, any more than it should be expected to take responsibility for the entire rescue effort.

If the European Union means anything, it should take collective responsibility for dealing with this human disaster, though we can hold no high hopes.  After all, this is the same European Union that left member states like Ireland swinging in the breeze when the banking crisis broke.  This is the same European Union that ignored wholesale slaughter on its doorstep between 1992 and 1995, when white Europeans in Bosnia tore each other to pieces and inflicted  mass slaughter on  helpless civilians.

If the EU could ignore what happened in the land of the Winter Olympics, does anyone seriously believe this European Union will care one jot what happens to Arabs or Africans?  The evidence says otherwise, as anyone who remembers the Rwanda slaughter will attest.

Lyndon B Johnson once said in the Vietnam era, Get those goddam burnt babies off my TV.

The EU’s only priority will be to make sure the Libyans stop drowning so publicly.





7 thoughts on “The coffin-ships of North Africa

  1. Bock, it is interesting to note that although this article appeared here two days ago, nobody has even bothered to comment on it yet.

    Now the reason no one did might be the fact that nobody actually read it or else maybe, those that did were confounded and tongue tied as to what to say about such unspeakable tragedies occurring on an almost daily basis or, perhaps even that your readers were completly stunned into silence due to the eloquence of your very salient commentary.

    Alas, in my opinion the truth lies elsewhere. People, it seems ultimately don’t give a shit.

    Just like Lyndon Johnson didn’t give a shit about the burnt dead bodies of Vietnamese children he decried appearing on his television screen.

    Sure, on one level everyone here will feel some tinge of sadness at the death of the innocents but it is also my belief is that many of your readers also fear the arrival of large numbers of blacks, or perhaps worse again, black Muslims into the EU.

    The reason I suspect this comes from people I’ve had a chance to speak to about this lately. They appear to be conflicted in relation to this subject. “…What about the 12 Christians murdered on these boats a few days ago…” was one comment, “…they‘re just trying to exporting ISIS into the heart of Europe…” was another.

    As far as I’m concerned, European politicians are simply reflecting the views of their voters and even when it’s pointed out to politicians that they might have been largely responsible for the current state of affairs in Libya, they lie and obfuscate the facts by declaring that they only tried to bring freedom and democracy to that country (but hey, what else can you expect from a bunch of desert towelheads?).

    By the way, I heard earlier on the radio that our own moral government have declared that Ireland will accept at least 50 such asylum seekers directly into our wonderful ‘direct provision’ system. Now that’s what I call a principled stand!

  2. A brilliant article followed by an extremely insightful point. It does seem hypocritical that we could possibly fear asylum seekers accessing our resources after so many years of being accepted into foreign lands while fleeing poverty, war and famine.

    Now it seems that our biggest fear is losing a fraction of our massive accumulation of wealth to those who truly need it the most. Ireland above many other countries should be the most accepting of people in need and danger. However I must admit that I would be skeptical of an influx of refugees into Ireland but its articles like these that make me think twice and form a more rounded opinion on the matter. Keep up the good work!

  3. Meant to write earlier. I sometimes read the website “”. The level of indifference to the suffering of the migrants is sickening! To me this isn’t an argument about which country should take the most refugees. This is about rescuing people who have been left to die in the Mediterranean sea. What human being sees another person drowning and refuses to throw them a line? If Ireland ever collapses under the weight of it’s own debt, political incompetence or innate cronyism we will know our allies and those who have turned their back.

  4. What is of more importance to EU is getting on with imposing the “one-size-fits-all-debt-slavery” courtesy of the euro bloc-currency; the harmonising of misery everywhere that goes with it, the shoring up of a flawed currency; that frankenstein trade deal with the Americans..In fact when they’ve stopped taking their eye off the ball we shall have fully fledged little caliphates in Greece, Balkans, Italy, Scandinavia and an Emerald Emirate.

  5. Yep, tis true Bock.

    As said also by Peter Mathews, on the Vincent Browne show (sometime in 2013):
    “But sure we’re all going to end up dead anyway”

    Wise words.

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