This article from the London Review of Books is quite simply the best account we have of the difficulties and cruelties facing those seeking to flee genocide, brutal repression, and unimaginable dangers in various African countries. The complicity of the nations of Europe is unsparingly laid bare, particularly in relation to the Khartoum regime of Omar al-Bashir, currently presiding over savage efforts to halt a country-wide civilian uprising demanding peace, freedom, and justice. The regime’s effort is partially funded by the EU.
Required reading for any who wish to understand the meaning of Africans fleeing to the European continent and the xenophobia that typically greets those legitimately seeking asylum. — Eric Reeves
Diary, London Review of Books, March 21, 2019
by Jérôme Tubiana and Clotilde Warin
More than a million migrants crossed the Mediterranean during the refugee crisis of 2015, with about 850,000 landing in Greece and the remainder in Italy. By March 2016 the EU had signed an agreement with Turkey: Ankara would do its best to ensure that the refugees (mostly Syrian) pushing up into Turkey would remain there, while the EU would send refugees arriving in Greece (mostly but not all Syrian) back to Turkey. The deal was based on the assumption that Turkey was a ‘safe country’, and criticised on two counts: first, refugee experts didn’t believe it was all that safe, and second, many felt Brussels shouldn’t be making deals with an authoritarian regime, or promising it large sums of money – roughly six billion euros – in return for co-operation. But as far as the EU was concerned, the deal was a success: in 2016, the number of migrants dropped by two thirds, with 363,000 arriving by sea, less than half of these landing in Greece. The number arriving in Italy increased, however, to roughly 180,000. Rome and Brussels reacted by seeking to negotiate a replica of the Turkish agreement with those countries south of the Mediterranean from which refugees set out: Libya, Sudan and Niger were described as Europe’s new ‘southern border’. But Sudan is much less safe for asylum seekers than Turkey, and Libya is extremely dangerous. Since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011 there has been no functioning state with full control of the country. The Government of National Accord (GNA), created by an agreement signed in Morocco in December 2015 and internationally recognised, has no proper army and depends on militias to ensure its survival. Sudan, meanwhile, is a failed state whose long civil wars have displaced nearly four million of its own citizens – increasingly they too are seeking asylum in Europe.