Several hundred migrants and refugees are reported to have drowned after their vessel capsized in the Mediterranean. Reuters reports:
Somalia’s government said on Monday about 200 or more Somalis may have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to cross illegally to Europe, many of them teenagers, when the boat they were on capsized after leaving the Egyptian shore.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella had said earlier on Monday that several hundred people appeared to have died in a new tragedy in the Mediterranean, after unconfirmed reports spoke of up to 400 victims of capsizing near Egypt’s coast.[..]
“We have no fixed number but it is between 200 and 300 Somalis,” Somali Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Hayir told Reuters by telephone when asked about possible Somali deaths in the latest incident.[..]
“There is no clear number since they are not traveling legally,” the minister said, adding that he understood the boat might have been carrying about 500 people, of which 200 to 300 were Somalis “and most of them had died”.
Yet again, we see the outrageous price of Europe’s moral hypocrisy on the refugee-migrant problem. The Continent wants to have the feel-good frisson that comes with a “refugees welcome” policy (and avoid the ickiness that comes with enforcing the law against desperate people whose only real crime is wanting a better life for themselves and their families). At the same time, the EU does not have the courage of its convictions: it will not simply allow people to fly (more cheaply and much more safely) en masse to Europe.
The recent EU-Turkey deal changed this calculus with regard to Greece, but when it comes to Italy, the old system prevails: Italy and the EU mount underfunded, understaffed patrols in the Mediterranean that bring anyone they find to Europe (rather than dropping them back at point of origin), where the newcomers are allowed to apply for asylum, move north, and/or blend into the general population. This mawkish half-humanitarianism encourages, rather than deters, dangerous, deadly crossings such as this. This series of policies in practice boils down to “if you can survive, then you can stay.”
And many do not survive. This is not moral, and it is not humanitarian. The wages of hypocrisy continue to be paid in death.