Africa Needs A “Black Lives Matter” Movement
In July 2006, the European news agency Agence France Presse reported that 13 of 27 Africans, all men between the ages of 20 and 30, had perished in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach Europe in hopes of finding a better and safer existence than the one they had left behind. Another 17 bodies had been found in March the same year, just south of the Canary Islands. And just before that, the bodies of 47 Senegalese were found on a boat adrift near the Caribbean island of Barbados, four months after they had left Cape Verde for the Canary Islands.
African migrant deaths at sea, at first reported in the tens, are now counted in the thousands. From the beginning of 2015 through May, an estimated 60,000 migrants have braved “the sea in the middle of the Earth” to reach Europe. More than 1,800 have died on the journey, a figure more than 30 times higher than during the same period of 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration.
In all of 2014, some 3,500 people died at sea in a bid to reach a Europe that does not want them. And while the bodies recovered in decrepit boats once were those of young men only, those recovered today tell the tale of desperate young men and women taking the ultimate risk; of parents who pay smugglers upwards of $6,000 for their children to flee an Africa that offers them little by way of a future.