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The plight of African Migrants in Libya

Sep 13, 2011, 1:20 PM

There have always been debates about African immigrants trying to enter Europe through what many call the “back way.”

Like many African countries, The Gambia has lost many of its citizens, mainly youths, in the dangerous seas between Spain and Morocco and, despite the recurrence in grievous loss of lives, many are still willing to brave the precarious conditions to enter Europe, which African youths have for years looked on as the only solution.

With the violence in Libya showing no sign of abating now, the plight of African migrants who are reportedly being targeted by anti-Gaddafi rebels is indeed deplorable.

The International Organization for Migration says 1,200 African migrants are trapped in a southern Libya town with dwindling supplies of food and water.

The international aid group says the migrants have gathered at its transit center in the town of Sebha to escape fighting between pro- and anti-Gadhafi forces on the outskirts of town.

The practice of embarking on perilous, mostly sea, voyages has in recent years been an all too common phenomenon that has taken its toll on life and limb of African youths who resolve to reach the European mainland by all means.

How sorrowful, considering the price of the misadventure. It is costing many a hope-starved African youth 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 the country at large.

Most African youths attribute their extreme decision to the inability of their respective countries to provide jobs or, when they could provide them, fail to guarantee the kind of remuneration at least reasonably comparable with that which can be earned in Europe.

Be that as it may, the thing that our youths should understand about the dream of Europe is that all that glitters is not gold.

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, as we have seen in Libya.

Africa has a lot of potential, and one should, therefore, be steadfast.

The search for greener pastures should not be pursued as a matter of life and death.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Henry David Thoreau.