I’m in the process of writing a “proper”” reflection on my time in Italy visiting refugees and the projects that Mediterranean Hope fund and work with. However, in light of recent events, I feel like the time has come to say something quickly.
At this point in time, I am an impassioned mix of anger, sadness, and despair. A friend of mine who lives in Palermo, Sicily and works for Mediterranean Hope as part of their efforts in the city, has just this evening posted an article which gave some figures to the arrival of a series of rescue operations that brought migrants rescued at sea over the Easter weekend to Sicily.
The article which is published by thelocal.it states that more than 8,500 migrants arrived on Italian shores over the course of the Easter weekend, with there being thirteen bodies in one incident which were found “Senza Vita”, as the Italians say. Of those found and recovered senza vita there was an eight-year-old boy and a pregnant woman.
Is this a tragedy? I personally think it is, but perhaps the media would disagree because the amount of media airtime in both a radio and television context is either minimal or non-existent and the space and presence given to articles like the one from thelocal.it is nowhere near the top of a news page, and unless you went looking for the article, would find it hard to spot! I’d like to challenge you to find the article I am talking about from the aforementioned website, then you’ll finally see where I am coming from.
Perhaps the media are taking a Stalinist viewpoint in the old adage from the communist leader himself; “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic”. This point could very easily apply to the migrant crisis that is happening in the Mediterranean at this time. It is easy to report that several hundreds of people have died in a boating accident whilst fleeing the Libyan coast; it’s cold, it’s clinical, it’s factual.
What you don’t hear are the stories of those who have fled. You don’t hear about who they were. You don’t even have the chance of giving them the dignity that they deserve by knowing their names.
The media coverage which is devoted to this crisis nowadays, now that we’re past the peak of the interest in the story, is truly ridiculous, yet media outlets such as the BBC and CNN can devote minutes of airtime and page after page of article to the twitter ramblings of the one and only Donald J Trump, president of the USA. How any organisation can put more resources, time and money into reporting a social media faux pas rather than reporting on one of the most devastating humanitarian crises to hit the world in recent times is beyond me. I understand and appreciate that media outlets must make money somehow and draw people in to watch their shows and read their articles but more must be done to raise the public awareness of what is happening in the Mediterranean right now.
Please, I ask you to share this post so that we can make people aware that the situation is not over, that it still needs our help and to show support to those who are working in the midst of the crisis to try and make the ordeal better for those arriving from foreign countries.
This has to stop. Media silence has to stop.