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Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Tsunami of Immigrants

I became a resident of Spain officially in the year 2000, but I am not considered an immigrant because I hold a British passport. Spain has many invisible immigrants who blend in, including the English, even though the United Kindom is not a party to the Schengan Treaty. I arrived by air and I have been allowed to live in peace. I am privileged.

It was not too long after I arrived that I became aware of people who were arriving illegally from North Africa, and even from countries below the Sahara. A program was presented on television that showed where some of those people came from. In one African village a collection was made to buy one of the local lads passage with people smugglers to get to Europe. The sums of money that is paid is astounding, and in more cases than anyone is aware, the hopeful person dies along the way.

I remember seeing that program and thinking I wish they wouldn't do that because there was nothing here for them. Even the Spanish were struggling.

Then came the Arab Spring and everything changed. Rolling unhappiness with the usual way of life brought on terrible strife in a number of countries that has led to untold deaths and torture and injuries and incarcerations, that people are running for their lives. Countries closest have become overrun with refugees, and now desperate people are looking to Europe. People have a lot to run from, including extremist groups or brutal dictators. I find it really impossible to imagine a person leaving his or her home south of the Sahara to make the trip across that vast desert heading north. I think you must be well equipped to survive such a challenge, but if you do survive that is only the first stage.

Now you are in countries full of turmoil, such as Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisa. None of these countries are welcoming of South Sahara immigrants, in fact their own citizens are fleeing  across the Medditerranean sea. The Paradigm has now completely shifted. It's no longer a matter of simple choice to better one's life in an economic sense, but rather a choice to live or die trying.

They set off to cross the Meditterranean sea in flimsy craft suitable only for drifting along the beach. There are no records so no one has any idea of how many set sail and reached European soil. We can be sure that more than we can bear to know about have drowned along the way. For those who do reach dry land they can only say that they are still alive, and everday brings hope that things will improve. Coming from such humble beginnings the very smallest progress is to be celebrated.

The challenge is overwhelming, but the greatest journey starts with the first step. I need to win a lottery of at least 100 million euros. I know exactly how I would put it to use.

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael
This is a Tsunami of immigrants from north and south of the Sahara who are asking for life. They need help from all of Europe, but also from the Western countries such as the United States and Canada. There was a time when Africans were plucked from their home countries and forcibly brought out to be slaves. Many first families made their wealth on the backs of those early reluctant immigrants.

Now their lives depend on the help that is offered them. Consider it, if you will, a repayment of the debt.

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael