Tag Archives: Mediterranean

‘Africa’s Pinochet’, Ronald Reagan and death at sea: Chad and Libya, past and present

It is 19 June 1987. In the White House, the leader of the free world, Ronald Reagan, turns, smiling, toward his guest. Hissene Habre, dictator of Chad, dressed in traditional Tebu costume and leaning back in his chair, returns the leader of the free world’s grin. Reagan is not unusual: every politician has a photo – most more than one – which can be used to damn them. But on Monday (30 May 2016), almost … Continue reading

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Death on the Mediterranean: the EU, and the avoidable loss of lives at sea

Overnight last night (Sunday 17 and Monday 18 April), as many as 500 people (the minimum estimate by Monday evening was 400, the survivors claimed it was 100 more) drowned in the Mediterranean between North Africa and Italy. It took the death toll on the Mediterranean this year to more than 1,200, and the total since January 2015 to more than 5,000 people. That is, in 16 months, five thousand men, women and children have … Continue reading

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Who waits?

Last week, I contrasted the false crisis at Calais – in which 5,000 people who have been living in one-person tents for six months are presented as a threat to the UK – with a manifestation of the real international refugee crisis, in which thousands of people have drowned in the Mediterranean. Over the last seven days, sadly, the game has remained the same – only the details have changed.

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Desperation, drowning, and debt: international crisis, and its impact on individuals

While UK attention remains focussed on the situation at Calais, events closer to the homelands of the 5,000 people trapped there continue to remind us why they were forced from their homes to begin with. Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron visited the migrants perched on the edge of the Channel last week, Green Party politicians are set to follow suit this week, Songs of Praise has filmed a sequence at the makeshift church some migrants … Continue reading

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Repetition, repetition, repetition: Calais, migration and governments’ refusal to change

Over the course of the last week, I have taken part in TV and radio interviews regarding the situation in Calais. As noted in my previous blog, which was written after I was interviewed by the BBC World Service and Radio 4 (28 July – you can listen here) about attempts by 2,000 people at Calais to force their way onto trains and vehicles due to travel to the UK, there is a danger of … Continue reading

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Update: Crisis Management: Shutting the Door on the Mediterranean

On Tuesday, I posted a piece in which I described the EU’s response to more than 1,300 people drowning in the Mediterranean as being similar to it ‘emerging from a cave, clutching a half-brick’. At that point, there were still two days before the EU was to announce its final decision. My expectations were low, and today those expectations have been entirely vindicated.

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Mare Nostrum: Our Sea, or, The Mediterranean and what it means

In the last week, 1,100 people have drowned in the Mediterranean. There are no circumstances under which that fact can be ‘massaged’ into acceptability. No situation in which one can rationalise away the mass drowning of human beings, perhaps by asking questions about who they were, and what they were doing on the boats that led them to their deaths.

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