SEEKING ASYLUM: HUMANITIES FAILURE

As I sit down to write this short opinion piece there are 49 desperate souls floating off the coast of Malta. Even more shocking, is the fact that they have been sitting out there for almost 3 weeks. Can you imagine? Deserting your home in a last ditched attempt to obtain some resemblance of a normal life, seeking asylum. And with the promised land in sight, almost in reaching distance, the dream turns to a nightmare.

Now, before anyone loses there marbles, I know there are several sides to this argument. From a political standpoint, its a huge mess. Italy doesn’t want them, Malta can’t be seen to take everyone who floats ashore and the EU is unclear on who can house them in the long term. I don’t do political commentary, and I will not start now. But you can see that once again politics is getting in the way of common sense.

What do I mean by common sense? Well the decent thing to do is get these people to land asap, and then debate and decide their futures from there. In a world without consequence, surely that would be the right course of action. However, that is not the world we live in. In reality borders are borders. Which in most cases are in place for reasons of safety and harmony. Others might argue for segregation, but that is an entirely difficult topic for another time.

Me, personally, I am really stuck on where I stand with this. On one hand, I feel terribly for those currently stuck at sea. I mean imagine, the stress and strain currently being felt by those seeking asylum. They have left there home. That is behind them. And they don’t want to go back. Yet, they have no where to go. They are stuck. Nobody wants them. They have no idea what life has in store from them from this day forward.

To know there are people out there suffering like that makes me feel like shit. Really. I consider myself a bit of a humanitarian, and to know there are people currently in that situation makes me feel terrible. That part of me thinks we should let them in immediately. Get them to shore. Give them a hot meal and a roof over their head and let them try and recover from the trauma from which they have just passed. Let them feel human again.

But then, there is the other side of the argument. What if we do let them in, and anyone else who desperately seeks to leave the shores of Africa for pastures new? Really and truly, Malta is the only place in Europe that cannot sustain such a situation. And you don’t have to be a genius to figure that out. Our infrastructure is just not built to be able to deal with a population any larger than it is now. Yet, if we did open our doors, and built a reputation for leniency to asylum seekers, you would think the population would potentially grow at a rapid rate.

Would they come in their thousands or even tens of thousands? Most likely yes. What really disappoints me most is the attitude shown by a country like Italy in this situation. Unlike Malta, they do not have this problem of density. You would think they would have the resources to house these people in the short term. At least until a suitable situation is found. But at the moment they are refusing to do this. At least until the EU guidelines on immigrant asylum and housing is made clear.

In essence they are bullying Malta into having to make a decision by their lack of action. And ultimately making Malta look like heartless, which is currently the case. It pisses me off. Because of proximity, Malta will forever face this problem. It has been that way in the past, and will be that way in the future. I think it is high time that the EU got off it’s rather large backside and find a proper solution to this ongoing asylum seeking crisis. We know it’s happening. It’s bloody been happening. Yet we still have no clear solution. The time to act is now.

With several of the stranded being children, my message would be clear. Whilst I understand that political bickering will always exist, there should be a time and place for it. Power wrangling should never get in the way of us being humans first. I am like you. And you are like them. We are all created equal. The sooner we ALL start understanding this very simple concept, the sooner the world starts to be a better place.

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