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15 July, 2024
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Echoes of silence: The unheard cries of drowning children

Exploring the haunting curse of drownings in the Mediterranean and the urgent need for a unified approach

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

The tragedy off the coast of Pylos is beyond words. The act of people drowning at sea, especially children, is a haunting curse in the Mediterranean Sea that is unfortunately not unfamiliar. It resurfaced during the period of 2013-2014 with the dreadful shipwrecks near the island of Lampedusa - the most heart-wrenching one, we must remember, resulting in the loss of 360 lives. The debate is simple. People embark on these boats for two reasons: because they are in danger, either facing the threat of being killed by opponents for political, ideological, or religious reasons or because they are at risk of starving to death. Full stop. Period.

The unspeakable tragedy off Pylos has once again become a subject of petty political disputes and online debates amidst the pre-election period in Greece. One side claims that the fences at the Evros River, the Greek Coast Guard's pushbacks, and NATO's bombardments are to blame, while the other side points fingers at NGOs, so-called "solidarity activists," and the Left. It's a classic case of opposing viewpoints, discussing a phenomenon that has persisted since the early 2000s, resulting in the unjust loss of thousands of lives at sea. The recent incident involving certain party officials from the Left insulting President Sakellaropoulou confirms that extreme rhetoric remains unchanged. Previously, it was primarily far-right individuals who directed their insults towards the representative of Greece's highest institution. Similarly, when interim Prime Minister Mr. Sarmas expressed empathy by declaring a three-day mourning period for this significant tragedy, he was met with 'whataboutism' from certain far-right individuals who referenced the "Express Samina" shipwreck and the "Elios" tragedy.

The refugee and migration crisis, particularly the people drowning at sea, will not be resolved by loud voices from party loyalists, ideological biases, or the hunger for political votes

The refugee and migration crisis, particularly the people drowning at sea, will not be resolved by loud voices from party loyalists, ideological biases (whether left or right), or the hunger for political votes from political parties. It will be solved through a balanced approach that combines humanity, security, and collective political action within the EU. When the countries at the forefront of receiving human flows refuse to yield to warmongers, mercenary groups, Russian operatives, and profiteers who exploit people's suffering in exchange for investments and political influence. And when the EU, as a collective entity, firmly tells every Erdoğan, every Sisi, and every Libyan leader that if they want to see a single euro, they must actively pursue these trafficking networks within their own territories, from where they collect thousands of euros per person to send families off on perilous journeys in rickety boats.

The Refugee-Migration crisis encompasses more than just the tragedy of individuals drowning at sea. It poses a significant threat to the political and social cohesion of Europe and its respective societies. This crisis often sparks debates that are characterized by polarization rather than focusing on the core issues and addressing the problem effectively.

Hence, we should refrain from remaining silent when children are losing their lives in these incidents, as it could be our own children who may find themselves in a similarly perilous situation tomorrow. It is crucial for both governments and citizens to exert pressure and work towards establishing a solid framework for tackling this issue once and for all.

Twitter: @JohnPikpas

[This article was translated from its Greek original]



Cyprus  |  Greece  |  migrants

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