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A tragic incident

Apr 7, 2011, 12:59 PM

There are lots of tragic news these days about African immigrants trying to enter Europe through what many call the back way. Latest reports have it that rescuers are searching for scores of migrants missing in the Mediterranean, after their boat capsized off the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Coast guard officials said the boat, which left two days ago from Zuwara in western Libya, had been carrying around 200 people, but the International Organisation of Migration put the figure at 300, saying 250 were still missing.

The boat is reported to have been caught in high seas caused by strong winds, and had overturned after passengers panicked.

Many African countries have lost many of their citizens, mainly the youths, in the dangerous seas between Spain and Morocco, Libya and Italy, and despite the recurrent and grievous nature of the loss of lives, many are still willing to brave the precarious conditions to enter Europe, which most African youths have for decades looked forward to as a greener pasture.

Alas, how sorrowful, considering the price the adventure is costing many a hope-starved African youth!

It is costing most of them a great deal of money, which they and their families have to raise through a variety of difficult means. The huge amounts involved in such perilous journeys would have helped many youths to establish small businesses, if not a big one, that would benefit not only them but their country at large.

Many African youths attribute their extreme decision to the inability of their home countries to provide them jobs or, when they could, the remuneration is not comparable to wages in Europe. In so many cases, when people have succeeded in making it there, they find themselves in such unexpected situations that they have to lead lives of terrible poverty, and suffer shocking discrimination and racism.

As we always emphasize in these pages, one thing our youths should understand is that not all that glitters is gold. Africa too has a lot of potential, and one should, therefore, remain steadfast. The search for greener pastures should not be pursued as a matter of life or death.

“Don’t learn safety rules simply by accident”

Louis Nizer