Boats, banks and borderline

Imagine you’ve been mistreated, taken advantage of, hurt and the only way you can think of to make life bearable is to flee to another country, to seek asylum and build a new life. Imagine you’ve spent the last of your money on paying a smuggler to get you across the ocean. Imagine the boat caught fire, imagine you all ran to the same corner of the boat, made it tilt, made it sink. Imagine your family can’t swim. Imagine over three-hundred people had died. Imagine someone would tell you, you were illegal.

On thursday, October third, that’s exactly what happened. Today still there are corpses being fished out of the ocean near Lampedusa, an island between Africa and Italy.

Hundreds of fugitives from north Africa mainly were standing on a small ship, waiting for their arrival on Lampedusa, as it isn’t as far as Italy. Once in Europe, especially if you’re from Somalia or Eritrea, you can apply to be granted asylum. But that’s the thing; you have to reach Europe first.

So when the ship sank just 500 metres (0.3 miles if I’m not wrong) away from the coast of Lampedusa, it was forbidden for fishermen or the oceanic border patrol company FRONTEX to help these drowning people. The victims were children, women, men, but most importantly human beings like any other person it the world. The drowned because the EU does not want that many people immigrating from poor countries anyway.

Of course this whole thing has blown sky-high and started a debate on whether or not the EU should change their refugee policy. Right now, as I said, the people of FRONTEX are patrolling the area to keep as many “illegal refugees” out of the wealthy European Union as possible. Also, you can ask to be granted asylum, but you can’t do it from home. You have to get there first. And how is that going to work with hardly anything to spend on the right papers? There’s a reason that people become fugitives! They don’t do it for the fun of standing on an unsecure boat or laying in the back of a car for several hours.

From what I hear Germany claims that they don’t have to help Italy out in taking on all the new immigrants that arrive in Lampedusa every day, because they have enough immigration difficulties anyway.

I get it: Nobody likes someone else invading your space who doesn’t speak the language, isn’t filthy rich and has few valid qualifications because they haven’t been synchronized to Western standards yet. It’s a natural instinct you call ignorance through borderline.

It’s safe to say that every economically strong country (And I’m also referring to those who recently turned out to be broke..) at one point developes a type of borderline. It sees its wealth and half-way stable economical and political systems and it sees the trouble other countries are in and they think to themselves: Let’s see to it that everything stays this way.

The EU has enough trouble keeping everyone inside the union from going completely bankrupt, imagine the damage if they let all those dirty poor people in the system! After all, it is a system designed for rich people.

And to keep things the way they are, they turn away from humanity, from empathy and common sense and hide behind bureaucracy and finance-related excuses. It’s clear that in today’s world – and in the world of a couple of hundreds of years ago – money stands above the wellbeing of mankind.

When I’m feeling very unrealistic I like to imagine a world without borders – or borderline. A world where nobody can be called illegal, nobody is less privileged than others only due to their heritage, their sex, gender, skin colour – or for whatever other reason people are discriminated against these days.

But I know this is the most unrealistic idea because there are even problems in countries in themselves.

In Canada, the French Canadians have a problem with the English Canadians. In Switzerland, the Italian Swiss have a problem with the German Swiss and the German Swiss have a problem with the French Swiss. In the US, Republicans fiercely fight Democrats and well, let’s not even mention every country that has a civil war over land and pride.

Here’s a tip: Grow up!

No, actually, don’t. When I was little my parents and teachers and whoever else was held responsible for my education taught me that it is important to share and be nice to others.

Were they lying? The older you get, the more you worry about your own wealth and wellbeing, completely disregarding the misfortune of another.

No, this is not a call for communism!

The party that rules Germany is made up of really old people, really conservative and weird (my opinion, but true) who won’t allow gay marriage and just want to make sure nothing changes. I bet if we had a younger head of state (sorry Angela) – with the right intentions – maybe the moral in our society would change fundamentally. I know you can’t let children rule a country – but aren’t we already doing that? All politicians ever do is fight with other politicians and make sure they’ll be re-elected without ever achieving anything.

The EU has guaranteed Italy a couple of million to help out with the refugee problem they seem to having. Of course we are spending more money instead of actually coming up with a solution, like allowing fugitives to apply to be granted asylum in their home country an embassy of the country they are hoping to flee to. That way they could find safer ways to travel and human dignity and life would be preserved. But of course they don’t want that. As I said: Borderline.


2 thoughts on “Boats, banks and borderline

  1. well I think this is an excellant post. Young people always see things more clearly, and then as we get older it seems we lose that ability, just like we lose so much that young people can do so naturally. I do not know why it is. Maybe part of the process of “fitting in” in the society we have to live in

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