The 43 (or more) people who drowned in a shipwreck off the coast of Tunisia are, sadly, not the first refugees and migrants to drown in the Mediterranean on their journey to what they hope is a better life; and nor, realistically, will they be the last.
The calmer weather, the continuing activities of the people traffickers and the instability, war and poverty that afflicts so much of Africa and the Middle East will ensure that many more deaths and injuries will follow.
The imminent withdrawal of American and allied forces from Afghanistan and the arrival of Islamic State in the region around northeastern Nigeria will only add to the “push factors” that have been driving people from their homes. Like the waves of refugees fleeing Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan, Libya and Eritrea, and elsewhere, before war and torture and persecution arrived they had little wish to turn up, penniless but hopeful, in Europe.
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