The commentators 21-04-15
...on drowned refugees
What may look like simple repetition of a familiar story – migrants die at sea – is in fact a more complicated, and less accidental, sequel. This year, the chances of migrants surviving a shipwreck are much smaller than last. Roughly the same number has tried the journey; but the number of deaths in the first quarter of 2015 has risen tenfold, to around 1,500. Traffickers are no more ruthless, the journey no more perilous. But when a ship goes down today, help is far from at hand. The EU search-and-rescue service, which recently took over from the Italian version – Mare Nostrum – hugs the Italian coast, and runs on a third of the cost.
- Memphis Barker, Independent
We fear the arrival of immigrants that we have drawn here with the wealth we stole from them. For much of the rest of the world we must be the focus of bitter amusement, characters in a satire we don’t understand. It is British people that don’t learn languages, or British history. Britain is the true scrounger, the true criminal.
- Frankie Boyle, The Guardian
The Western-backed overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi from power in Libya in October 2011, without ensuring a stable replacement regime, was a monumental mistake. Libya is now a failed state with two parallel governments at war with each other, and no control of its borders. It is also home to hundreds of warring militia and terrorist groups, including Islamic State – who moved in comparatively recently, and only this week were shown in a video to have beheaded 30 local Christians on a Libyan beach.
- Michael Burleigh, Daily Mail
Libya is merely the end point of the problem. Most of the refugees crossing the Mediterranean have come from further afield — places such as Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan and south Asia, as well as war-torn countries such as Syria or Yemen. Closing the Libyan route could be effective for a while. But ultimately it might only displace the problem elsewhere.
- Gideon Rachman, Financial Times
What we should be doing in the case of Libya is helping people before they are driven to board boats. We need to stop them being exploited by ruthless traffickers. We and other Western countries could and should be helping refugees by securing a strip of Libya, creating an international zone and setting up refugee camps there, defended by military force.
- Ross Clark, Daily Express
Comment archive, 2015
Depression and killer pilot
Prince Charles's letters
Cameron's exit strategy
Lee Kwan Yew
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