In this week’s podcast I look past the immediate matter of Africans gatecrashing Europe to what may lie in the future.
When the subject of Mediterranean boat people comes up, I like to remind people that this may not stay a Mediterranean problem, especially when the Europeans institute strong Australian-style measures to stop the Mediterranean traffic.The full Radio Derb playbill:
If Africans can’t head across the Mediterranean to Europe, they may instead head across the Atlantic to America. With modern GPS navigational aids, it’s not that hard. They’ll need a better quality of boat, and a lot more food and water, but those shouldn’t be insuperable problems.
Far-fetched, you say? Couldn’t possibly happen, you say? Brothers and sisters: it’s already happened.
From the Independent, a London broadsheet newspaper; Saturday, February 3rd, 2007. Quote:
"Fourteen men who were trying to journey by a British-registered catamaran from Senegal in West Africa to New York, where they dreamed of finding jobs and new lives, have been rescued from an Atlantic storm after drifting for days with broken sails and a stalled engine.
"U.S. Coast Guard officials said the men set out on their voyage on the 50ft yacht, called L’Onde Marine (Ocean Wave) on 12 December. They had been drifting without power or sails for days when the boat was spotted last Sunday by a merchant container ship listing badly in 30ft waves.
"The ship arrived at the port of Brooklyn on Wednesday and the men were taken into custody by U.S. customs officials. They are being held at a detention centre in New Jersey and face almost certain deportation back to Senegal."Yes, the U.S.A. has already — eight years ago — received its first African boat people. There’s a billion more where they came from.