#Article (Archive)

A Bridge Too Far For Fearful Europeans?

Jul 21, 2008, 8:11 AM

Spain says a feasibility study for an undersea tunnel to connect Spain and Morocco is in the final stages. If the project goes ahead and construction begins, trains carrying both passengers and goods are expected to start using the tunnel in 2025. The tunnel would be 40km long and pass 300m under the Mediterranean Sea. The undersea link would unite North Africa and Europe for the first time since the continents separated more than 200 million years ago.

Many people in Africa will rejoice at this news. It would be beneficial not only for the movement of goods but also for the movement of people. It would benefit tourism and would be a much safer and more fuel-efficient way of moving between the two continents. As stated above the two have not been connected for more than 200 million years so this project could mark a new beginning in the relationship between Africa and Europe.

Unfortunately not everybody sees it in this positive light. The BBC is reporting that "the prospect of a physical connection between their country and the poorest continent in the world is alarming to some Spaniards." It can be said with little doubt that other European nations on the mainland of the continent will also be viewing the proposal with less than favourable eyes. They fear Africans. They have the view that Africans merely want to come to Europe and stage what seems to amount in their minds to an invasion. For this reason Africans in Europe often suffer and are relegated to the sidelines of the employment industry in menial, unskilled jobs even though they are highly qualified. This image of invading Africans is not helped by the number of young men who leave the shores of The Gambia in boats which are not seaworthy, risking life and limb to live illegally in Europe. We must ensure that our education system is of such a standard that young people leaving this country are doing so legally and with the highest qualifications possible. This and only this will reverse the mindset which holds sway in Europe that hordes of Africans are aiming to land on their shores. In so many cases fear leads to irrational thoughts and in this is feeding into a modern racism where Africans are seen as nothing more than a nuisance by some Europeans. We will have to work hard to change this mindset but change it we must. We can do this by showing beyond all reasonable doubt that we have the same potential as any other human beings on this planet and that we help our children to achieve this potential by giving them the finest education we can. When we do this they can get a train to Europe legally with qualifications in their pockets if they wish or they can stay here in an economy of hopefully growing opportunity to helps pass on their knowledge to the next generation.