It is a story that hasn’t really received the coverage it deserves so I want to give you a reminder about the “Left To Die Boat” before a good BBC Radio documentary about it disappears. (image from BBC)
To download it before it goes (it will probably be bumped off the page by updates in the next couple of days) follow this link and at time of writing it is the second last one on the page. You can download it from there. You can listen online here.
In case you don’t know the background, here is a brief summary…
…a dinghy with 72 migrants (some of whom children) was making its way from Tripoli to Lampedusa when it run into difficulties for lack of fuel and food/water supplies. The ‘captain’ of the dinghy contacted a priest in Italy who swiftly alerted the Guardia Costiera (Coast Guard). The Italian authorities informed NATO of the coordinates of the ship in distress and sent repeated ‘ship in distress’ messages to all nearby vessels via satellite. An unidentified helicopter offered water and biscuits to the migrants and an unidentified warship passed very close nearby. Fishermen vessels also passed nearby. Spanish and Italian military vessels were apparently within easy reach. Yet no one rescued the migrants – and 63 of them died before the dinghy was brought by currents back to a city in Libya, after two weeks from their departure.
It is a remarkable story of what can only be described as a massive failure of humanity. Here is an official report on it.
The Huffington Post also had an article on it that is worth reading.
If you listen to the documentary and read the articles, aside from being maddened and saddened in equal measure by it, it leaves certain questions about institutional paralysis, and the effect of so many absurd scare stories about immigration/immigrants.