Fishermen in the Mediterranean have been catching human corpses on a regular basis lately. Every morning on the news I hear about migrants desperate to leave their own homes and countries to find better lives elsewhere, often risking everything they have including their lives. They claim to be doing so in order to escape torture, extreme poverty, rape and other forms of violence.
At present we, the human race, can boast of the largest human migrations ever in the history of human kind – 60 million people. The population of UK is 64 million. 3500 people died last year crossing the Med while 13,500 were rescued. This year more than 1600 people have already lost their lives in this way.
I am a migrant. I came to the UK to work and be better at my job. I had contract in hand. I was to go to a place called Antrim. I had never heard of it before. I had no family or friends there. It was a beautiful place but I was all alone for 9 months. I arranged a rented house, a car and a child minder before my son came to join me. It was a difficult time. Communication technology was not great at that time. Phone calls were prohibitively expensive. No mobile phones, Skype or WhatsApp existed. Just the good old postal service and very brief phone calls. It was a desperately isolating experience despite the fact that I was warm, safe, fed and watered.
When I hear the stories of migrants making unbelievable journeys across the seas with nearly no money, nowhere to go, horrific experiences from their past and complete uncertainty of the future, I can’t imagine how frazzled their state of mind must be.
How come millions of people are not able to live in their own homes and countries? What becomes of them?
How did we come to this?