Thursday 8 December 2016

More EU aid to Africa is repeating the same old mistakes

Published 19/05/2015 | 02:30

Illegal migrants who attempted to sail to Europe, sit in a boat carrying them back to Libya, after their boat was intercepted at sea by the Libyan coast guard, at Khoms. Libya's coast guard detained on Wednesday almost 600 illegal African migrants, among them pregnant women and 18 children, who had tried to sail to Europe on a fishing boat, a security official said (REUTERS/Aymen Elsahli)
Illegal migrants who attempted to sail to Europe, sit in a boat carrying them back to Libya, after their boat was intercepted at sea by the Libyan coast guard, at Khoms. Libya's coast guard detained on Wednesday almost 600 illegal African migrants, among them pregnant women and 18 children, who had tried to sail to Europe on a fishing boat, a security official said (REUTERS/Aymen Elsahli)

In a world increasingly riven by absolutist definitions, we see social and cultural battle lines being drawn wherever we look.

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Friday's Referendum, for example, has been clumsily portrayed as a battle between tolerance and intolerance. That makes for a cute soundbite but the truth, as usual, is rather more complex.

Similarly, the current humanitarian disaster which sees tens of thousands of African migrants risking their lives on a boat journey across the Med to the European promised land is framed in an equally naive and simplistic fashion - anyone who thinks it's madness to open our borders to Africa's problems is, inevitably, accused of being happy to watch people drown.

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