Monday, 16/12/2019 | 10:41 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Stopping mass exodus (The Statesman (Pakistan))

How can Europe’s migrant crisis end with Africa in turmoil – its people homeless and destitute? The continent’s angst is now Europe’s griping pain. It has crippled governing systems on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea. The EU is struggling to cope with the influx of people seeking a better life on its shores. Critics of the European Union say the 28-nation bloc has a duty to take in more refugees. We say Africa should find solutions to her own woes and stop this surge of masses. But how can a seemingly ungovernable continent set its house in order when it lacks an effective system of administration? Can the West help it get back on its feet with tools for governance and effective security? Why should they do it when African governments have repeatedly failed in their duty to protect their citizens from falling prey to human trafficking gangs. They have allowed them set sail on dangerous voyages and offered them nothing to stay at home. Civil strife, political dissent and religious hate are engulfing different countries in the continent. Business is struggling to stay afloat because violence has taken root in Libya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, even Kenya, Chad and Nigeria. Blame it on leaders, many of them despots, who have clung to power for decades. Africa has been exploited in the past by colonial powers, its people were shipped to different parts of the world to work as slaves, its minerals and resources were drained. Economies were damaged and the effects on the continent are still visible.

The scars are seen on the minds of these people on the brink. They have nothing to lose on the passage across the Mediterranean, because they’ve given up on home and everything at home. It’s a loss that’s hard to fathom for the ordinary global citizen. On Wednesday, 200 died during the crossing to Italy, the second highest death toll after 800 died in April. International Organisation for Migration figures show more that 2,000 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean Sea this year. In 2014, the total dead was 1,607. The number is rising this year because more people have been put on rickety boats by human smugglers operating with impunity from Africa’s lawless shores. With some luck and help from the elements, these hapless boatpeople make it to Italy, to slip in to the night, and deep into Europe.

Africa’s strife is turning into Europe’s law and order problem and there’s no solution because the Union is a house divided. It’s in the horns of a dilemma as more lives are lost at sea. A naval pushback will mean these refugees are thrown into the waters which will arouse activists’ zeal. Before we blame Europe, African countries should do some soul-searching and target human trafficking networks on its shores. Second, they should improve coastal security. Last, but not the least, it should focus on effective governance and development. If Africa shows a will to stop this mass exodus, Europe could find a way to prevent such tragedies.