Deaths of hundreds in Libya ignored

April 19, 2015 4:30 am
 

Migrants transferring to Sicily. Photo / AP

: When 150 people died in a Germanwings plane crash last month in France, European TV networks broadcast on it for days.
Last
week, 400 people drowned in the Mediterranean. This time, however, no
TV station interrupted its broadcast and the tragedy barely made it onto
European front pages.
Whereas the migrants who died in the
Mediterranean were African refugees, the victims of the Germanwings
disasters were primarily Europeans. Many say this is sufficient to
explain why each case was treated so differently.
Estimates of
the number of refugees killed while trying to reach by crossing
the Mediterranean Sea vary widely. A joint research project of European
journalists recently found at least 23,000 refugees had lost their lives
in the past 14 years.
This week, several prominent journalists
have taken a pronounced stance against the response to the catastrophe
off Europe’s shorelines.
Corinna Milborn, the director of
Austria’s Puls4 network, tweeted on Tuesday: “What would be happening
right now if 400 passengers of a cruise liner had drowned in the
Mediterranean today?”

Observers expect 2015 could be the deadliest year in the Mediterranean in recent history due to an influx of refugees to Europe.
Leftist German newspaper Die Tageszeitung featured an obituary. “400 people — deceased April 12, 2015,” the headline read.
On
Friday 20 migrants were discovered, having been adrift at sea for two
days, with grave burns from a cooking gas explosion before departing
. The victims were forced onto a smuggler’s boat without treatment.
Among
the burn victims rescued from the half-deflated dinghy was a
6-month-old. One burn victim died en route to the Italian island of
Lampedusa.
Prosecutors in Sicily, meanwhile, were investigating
15 Muslim migrants for allegedly throwing 12 Christians overboard in a
religious dispute. Italian ships have picked up an unprecedented 10,000
people in the past week. The influx is putting pressure on Italy’s
shelters and raising calls for a better response.
In Washington,
President Barack Obama pledged more intense cooperation with Italy on
threats coming from the instability in Libya.

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