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If You Cross, You Die; If You Stay, You Die – Realities Of Saharan-Mediterranean Migrants

If You Cross, You Die; If You Stay, You Die – Realities Of Saharan-Mediterranean Migrants



Posted by: Jeff Bachman - Malaga, Spain
Posted on: Sunday, September 24th, 2017 - 10:51 pm

The world has become all familiar with the plight of thousands of migrants from West Africa, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, and their fate in the Sahara desert, and the Mediterranean sea in an effort to escape from their countries, and emigrate to Europe. A majority of these migrants are escaping hardships, war, famine, political and economic persecution, and a few are terrorists who are using this mass exodus and confusion to transplant themselves to Europe where they will wreak havoc and terror in the future.

While some very lucky migrants have been able to achieve success in the past, and are now doing well in various European countries, and even in Canada and America, a great number have perished in the Sahara desert and in the Mediterranean Sea over the years. Many, at the time of going to press with this article, are still being held captives in Libya where their fates are uncertain. They do not know if they will be able to make it to Europe or even get back home to their respective countries. But the reality for many of these migrants is that if they had not left their home countries, they would have been dead. If they remain in Libya, they are lucky so far because they did not die like some of their fellow travellers in the Sahara desert. But in Libya, they could still die. Libyan militias are profiteering with African migrants by hunting for them, capturing them, and imprisoning them in order to extort money from them and their families. Once out of money in Libya, some migrants become trapped, or a few are lucky to get help to be returned to their home countries.


Other migrants who do not die in Libya, and still have some money left, probably get a chance to be put on a boat on the Mediterranean Sea towards Europe, where they could die in the sea. Thousands have perished on this sea voyage under situations worse or similar to the slave ships that once went from Africa to the Americas. Migrants who do not die in the Mediterranean Sea are picked up by rescue organizations from Italy or Spain where the threat of death becomes diminished. But life for the migrants these days, is uncertain in Europe as they are now contained in prison-like detention centers because Europe is developing a policy to make life miserable for them as a deterrent to others who might be thinking of following the foot steps of their friends when they hear that these friends have succeeded to make it into Europe.

It is a nightmarish reality for these migrants. There are serious and miserable situations that are causing them to flee their home countries anyway. Hardened with these realities, it is no wonder migrants are not dazed by all these dangers that face them. Many of them have already understood that they could die on the way of making their dreams of reaching Europe come true, but they are also certain that they would die if they remained in their own countries. Here are some of the risks that are driving them away from home:

SOMALIA / SUDAN / ERITRIA / ETHIOPIA:


There has been consistent conflict in the Horn of Africa, affecting people in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan for many decades. War and political oppression have chased millions of people away from their homes in these countries. With no end in sight to their sufferings, these refugees have tried in the past to escape war and persecution by crossing to Yemen through the Gulf of Aden, where a few of them were welcomed as political refugees by the Yemenis government. However, with a destructive war now raging in Yemen, it has become more dangerous for refugees to keep fleeing there. With no choice left for them, their only hope is now to escape to Europe. If they do not escape, they will be consumed by the war in Yemen, or by the crisis in their countries, or by famine and drought in the Horn of Africa.

WEST AFRICA - NIGERIA: There is no war in Nigeria at the moment. There is however political and religious oppression, even though it is not as wide spread as in many other parts of the world. But Nigeria is now being affected adversely by agitations for restructuring in the country’s South and East, and by the Boko Haram terrorist organization that is mostly operating in Northern Nigeria. Even though there is relative calm in the country, Nigerian citizens outnumber migrants from other parts of West Africa trying to cross the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. The reason is simply that millions of Nigerians, who have invested time and money to attain the best standard that they could reach in education, are left with no jobs or means of survival after their studies. Most of these people are now feigning political or religious persecution in order to escape as refugees to Europe, America or Canada. This is making it more difficult for people who have a more pressing need like those refugees escaping from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, or Somalia to really get help. But if trends continue in Nigeria as it is pointing to, with recent crackdowns against agitators, a genuine exodus of refugees from Nigeria may begin to overwhelm Europe, America and Canada soon.

GHANA: Ghana is more stable than Nigeria, and is actually enjoying an economic growth with good policies and management introduced by their governments from Jerry Rawlings to the present government. But moved by adventure, and a need to join with relatives who have left the country to Europe, America, or Canada, some Ghanaian citizens are among the migrants trying to cross to Europe through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea. This is why it has been easy for many Ghanaian migrants when faced with unbearing hardship during their journey, to turn back and go home to their country. Some of these Ghanaians who have gone back home are now telling the stories of their ordeals in the desert, or in Libya, to discourage their countrymen from making the same mistake they have made by embarking on the deadly journey in the first place.

IVORY COAST: Ivory Coast went through a devastating civil war at the turn of this century, creating havoc and destruction throughout the whole country. Since the end of the crisis almost ten years ago, Ivoirians are weary about any prospect to reenter another civil war. But some citizens of the former French colony continue to claim discrimination from the present government in Ivory Coast, causing them to flee the country with migrants crossing the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

GAMBIA: Gambia was in the news recently when the former Gambian strongman, Yahya Jameh refused to give up power to current president, Adama Barrow. After the intervention of the African Union, Jameh fled Gambia, averting the threat of a civil war in Gambia. But the flight of Yahya Jameh exposed the poor state of the Gambian economy and the sorry state of existence for the citizens. Even though there is now a stable government in Gambia, some Gambians still see the need to escape to Europe or to America or Canada, crossing through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean sea.

MALI / NIGER / CHAD: Mali, Niger and Chad are poor countries, and they are the custodians of the gateways and routes into the Sahara desert through which other migrants must travel. It has been observed that perhaps trafficking in migrant smuggling and transportation is the only means of livelihood for so many people in these countries. Because of this, the corrupt governments in these regions have turned a blind eye to the movements of migrants through their countries because they also benefit from the treacherous business.

Actually, the corrupt and inefficient governments in all of Africa are the major cause of the migration of their citizens. Left with no access to jobs, medical care, and basic human safety, many Africans are choosing to risk their lives in the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean sea to escape to Europe, instead of doing nothing, and succumbing to death and suffering in their own countries. Africa’s continuous dependence on their former colonial governments for their survival is leaving Africans with governments incapable of meeting up with the needs of her citizens. While African leaders themselves have access to the best schools in Europe for their children, and the best medical facilities for themselves and their families, their common people have nothing, but the risk of death in the desert and the Mediterranean for their dreams for similar opportunities for themselves.


 
 

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