I woke this morning to hear that the UK (and the rest of the EU) have decided to stop search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. The Italian navy has been patrolling and rescuing 150,000 people who were at risk of drowning as they tried to get from Africa to Europe as migrants.
The claim is that the existence of such a safety net only encourages the migrants to risk the dangerous journey. But will migrants really be aware of the withdrawal of these patrols? Will those packing them into often unseaworthy boats really pass on the warning that the risk of death is now even greater?
Shouldn’t we try to make sure that people are not killed because of their desire to get to the promised land Europe represents to them.
Surely we need to do more to help people in Northern Africa not feel so desperate that they take such a big risk with their lives. But are we really content to allow tens of thousands to die off European shores?
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34 ESV)