Thursday 29 September 2016

When babies are left to drown, civilisation dies

Published 31/10/2015 | 02:30

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras slammed the level of debate among European Union governments in dealing with the migrant crisis as 'sad' for a lack of cohesive action in dealing with the crisis
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras slammed the level of debate among European Union governments in dealing with the migrant crisis as 'sad' for a lack of cohesive action in dealing with the crisis

When the body of Aylan Kurdis was washed up on the shore in Turkey in September, the world grieved, but nothing was sorted. Leaders resolved to assist the refugees, but the bodies are still littering Europe's shorelines and they're getting even smaller. Yesterday, 22 more refugees drowned, mostly children, and at least one was a tiny infant. Some 3,000 have died this year.

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One must feel for Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras. Yesterday, he spoke from the heart. "I feel ashamed of Europe's inability to effectively address this human drama and of the level of debate ... where ­everyone tries to shift the blame on to someone else."

He was equally blunt about who he believes is at fault.

"Responsibility for the tragedy lies with western countries, whose military interventions in the Middle East were not to introduce democracy... but to serve financial interests," he said. His country has received more than 500,000 refugees.

An emotional Mr Tsipras railed: "The waves of the Aegean are not just washing up dead refugees, dead children, but (also) the very civilisation of Europe."

It is hard to see how any definition of "civilisation" can live easily with a tide of dead children off its coast.

Perhaps there is a chink of light. Yesterday, world leaders met in Vienna and agreed to pursue a peace plan for Syria.

Without a ceasefire in Syria and the setting up of safe-havens for migrants, there will be no end to this tragedy.

Irish Independent

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