It’s on the news again, that over 130 African immigrants have drowned, died and many more missing as a clandestine boat carrying about 500 passengers to Europe caught fire just off the coast of Italy and sank.
It is a waste of time trying to mention how many of such incidents have happened this year or the exact number of African immigrants that have died so far trying to cross to Europe.
Even as rescue efforts are ongoing to try and recover the corpses of those missing, it is not strange to hear that they are surely other boats overloading on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea ready to embark yet on another suicidal mission to Europe.
My heart is heavy as a write this piece, but I have no option but to carry on hoping that someone is going to read, stop and think, before deciding to be the next casualty on one of those boats controlled by greedy dealers and middlemen who are only interested in people’s hard earned money and not their lives and safety.
I am very aware that someone who must made it to Europe through this dangerous route is going to brand me as egoistic – one who thinks that Europe is only for people who can afford and not for those struggling.
Nevertheless, if my cousin, a non-swimmer, who might be somewhere in Morocco trying to board a dead trap and to cross as others is reading this he is surely going to curse me as well.
However, as a trained journalist my role is to inform and explain, thus, anyone has the right to make a judgment, to criticise or to accept what I write or think on this blog.
Europe isn’t paradise
For everyone in Africa including even me the dream land is always Europe or going abroad for greener pastures, and how this dream is realised, it is only a secondary thought.
It is true that the economic, social and political situations in most African countries have forced many, especially the youth to believe that the way forwards is only “going to Europe at all cause”.
Might be, it was right to think of Europe as a paradise in those days when it was hard to get information about the actual life in Europe or America.
Today, with the freedom of information and free access to various channels of communications, it shall be a misnomer for anyone to still be in the darkness to see Europe as a paradise.
With the global economic crisis, which I have mentioned in most of my reports, Europeans are also struggling to cope with high level of livings, let alone to have any leftover to offer to immigrants.
Italy is always the easy destination, and the Island of Lampedusa continues to receive those who are lucky to arrive alive or in dead bags.
What happened after Lampedusa, nobody bothers to care or find out, since it has become a plague which the Italian government cannot handle on its own, and the European Union is just too slow to take drastic actions or has the Euro zone crisis as a priority to tackle instead.
Think for yourself
Those African immigrants that end up in Italy as the “promise land” would sooner or later find out that hell is also in Europe and not just heaven.
I was in Italy during Easter and I saw what most Africans were going through as some have to sell assorted items as hawkers as if they were in the markets or streets in Nairobi, Lagos, and Dakar to make ends meet.
Do we call that a better live to what most of them had back in Africa?
Certainly not, but the dream of being in Europe has been achieved even if they have to sleep ten in one tiny room, and struggle to eat or deal with with the weather and culture that is not a problem.
Is it really worth today to die at sea just to make it to a place where live is not even better as you have envisaged all through your life?
Is it really worth to take all your saving and the family’s meagre income just to be missing in the Mediterranean Sea all in the name of going to make it in Europe?
Pointless to say it here that if you cannot make it in Africa because you are always thinking that the government must provide all the jobs and initiatives, you would find it even harder in Europe.
Don’t risk your life for Europe, instead be strong and work hard for your country and Africa.