500 souls lost at sea: Rest in Peace

It is a recurring story in the news these days.  Individuals, families and clans are dying at sea in an attempt to reach greener pastures in Europe, the U.S. and other countries.  A few years ago there were hundreds of children that tried to enter U.S. borders through Mexico.  They were sent by their parents in an effort to escape increasing violence in South America.  It was recently reported that Honduras is officially listed as one of the most dangerous places on earth.  These individuals are fleeing conflicts, poverty and persecution.  The persecution could be religious as in the case of the Yazidis being hunted in Iraq by ISIS.  It could be conflict based as in Syria with the ongoing civil war there.

There are some people that wish they had a chance to flee by sea to a better place.  The oldest refugee camp in the world is located in Dadaab, Kenya.  Almost 320,000 people are living in a camp that was supposed to hold 90,000 people.  I cannot imagine the pain of having no permanent place to call home.  These are mostly Somali citizens who have sought refuge in the face of a Somali civil war that is still going on.  These individuals do not have a voice in their desperate plight.  The United Nations High Commission on Refugees is the band aid that is trying to cover a gaping wound.

A small group of Cuban citizens were apprehended the other day at sea.  They were trying to reach the shores of Florida.  They would have been granted asylum based on recent history with Cuba.  The individuals that died in the Mediterranean Sea were trying to reach the shores of Greece or Italy.  They were from such countries as Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Eritrea.  I have not been generally aware of Eritrea.  It is a country that suffered under colonial auspices in the early twentieth century.  It also engaged in a two year civil war with Ethiopia in 1998.  Eritrea is an eclectic mix of Muslims, Coptics, Christians, Roman Catholics and Protestants.  It also has numerous tribes that includes Tigrinya, Tigre, Saho, Rashaida, Bilen and Afar.  Their economy is wracked by lack of resources and chronic drought.

Image result for refugees lost at sea

I want to put on the hat of a smuggler right now.  I am my associates have duped hundreds of people into thinking that we can guide them safely to a safer society and a great job.  We secretly exploit women and we overcharge for a guarantee that is mostly smoke and mirrors.  We understand the inherent risks of packing humans onto less than capable boats like sardines.  We do not care whether we have bathrooms on the boat. In reality, we do not care about anything but money.  Most deaths take place in international waters and the consequences are relatively light,  We can escape and blend into a crowd easily.  We probably hold the relatives of our human cargo as hostages.

What were some of the people like that met their fate in a watery grave?  Were their professionals among those who at the time of death realized that they didn't say a proper goodbye to their loved ones?  How will funerals be conducted for the bodies that are recovered?  I read about a grave digger in Greece who has already prepared plots for those will come regardless of the obstacles to escape.  Libya is straining under the weight of Syrian refugees.  Germany opened its borders and now regrets the number of people trying to enter the country.  Were there tradesmen and tradeswomen on this boat?  They could have added value to an economy in search of skilled workers.  God Bless those lost at sea and the loved ones they left behind.  The uncertain economies that caused the Arab Spring are causing many people to flee the new regimes that took over for toppled monarchs and dictators. 

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