#Article (Archive)

The trials and tribulations of our compatriots

Jun 29, 2016, 12:09 PM

(issue Tuesday June 28, 2016)

Gambian teenagers are said to be in dire condition in camps in Italy. They are said to have gone there via the back-way, and they and many others like them are reported to be living in harrowing condition in that country and other European countries. 

It is always heartrending hearing or seeing reports about how our people,  especially our youths, are suffering trying to brave the troubles and events they confront on their way to “the land of milk and honey’.

Every day we hear bad news over the media about the suffering our people are undergoing in their back-way journey to Europe, through the desert of North Africa and the Mediterranean.

While few are able to make it safely to Europe through the back-way, a lot more lose their lives on the desert of North Africa in countries like Libya, and others on the Mediterranean Sea.

Yet even those who could make it to countries like Spain and Italy find those places to be hell on earth, as they are kept in harrowing conditions on camps in those countries, without knowing their fate.

According to latest reports from our correspondent in Italy, at least 11 young Gambian boys between the ages of 14 and 17 who arrived at the seaport of Pozzallo in Italy three months ago “are in need of help”.

The boys were supposed to be taken to a residence for asylum seekers upon arrival in Italy within 42 hours.  But since they arrived in April, this year, they have been dumped in an emergency camp with “little or no help”, according to our correspondent.

Some of them beg in the streets to be able to contact their parents and loved ones at home in The Gambia.  

They are said to be confronted not only with starvation and meagre food, but also with the risk of being exposed to diseases and sickness as they are kept in the sub-standard sanitary conditions at the camp.

This is serious and pitiable, but it seems no force on earth can stop this wave of migration taking place in our day and age.

Home seems not to be alright for some of our youths hence they prefer to go to Europe dead or alive. And even when they come across or are subjected to such harrowing conditions as they are currently experiencing on the camps of Italy and other European nations, they still prefer staying in Europe to returning home.

This speaks volume of the mentality of our youths and the situation back home. Something really has to be done by our governments in Africa and even our partners in development – the European governments and international institutions - to curb this miserable phase of Africa we are witnessing in our day and age.

Just over the weekend, Italian coastguards and navy ships rescued over 3,300 migrants in 26 separate operations in the Mediterranean, according to a spokesperson for the Italian navy, as reported by Reuters on Sunday.

They said people were picked up from 25 dinghies and one boat, all north of the Libyan coast.

So far this year, about 60,000 boat migrants have been taken to Italy, reports also said.

All this is food for thought for our leaders in Africa and the world at large.


“Let’s continue to put measures in place that discourage our youth from wanting to go to Europe via the back-way”

The Point