Boat Crash Takes Lives

Phyl Campbell By Phyl Campbell, 11th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>World

We should all struggle in search of better lives for ourselves and our children. But mortal peril -- or tragic accident -- could be avoided with more concern for equal rights.

Equality at the heart of it

I write a lot about the secondary status that women have in the US. At the end of this article, that will still be true. That does not mean, however, that I am heartless when it comes to the information I learned today about the shipwreck of migrants trying to get from Eritrea to Italy. I know a family from Eritrea. My sister spent a semester abroad in Italy. I did not know that countries other than the US had illegal immigration policies. Rather, I probably did know, but it isn't something I think about on a daily basis.

So when I got on my Facebook this morning, trying to decide what or if I would write an article for Wikinut this morning, being somewhat under the weather with a toothache and a cold front coming through, I expected to see articles about the government shutdown. I expected to see memes about bad grammar, and other people using bad grammar because either they don't know better, they're using SmartPhones that aren't as smart as the name suggests, or they're being lazy and/or ironic. I saw all these things. But then I saw the post from my Eritrean friend, and scrolled down to find a link to an article about the event.

Crossing the Border

And it makes me wonder if Italians talk about Eritreans in the same way that some bigoted Americans talk about Mexicans – namely, in creating the argument that the foreign people come to another country to be taken care of, because they are lazy or ignorant. This is not a view shared by all Americans, quite possibly only a small (albeit loud) minority share this opinion. However, it is a point of view held by enough voters so that coming to the US without the proper paperwork and a lot of money is still illegal. I'm using that knowledge and extending it to think about Italy and the migrants on that boat.

Did they know that their trip would end in disaster? I don't know what caused the fire that caused the boat to sink or the people on board to drown. I do know that over 280 bodies have been recovered and only 155 -- about 40 of them children under the age of 18 -- survivors. I do know that I am lucky to be in the US, even as a woman, even as someone who still sees inequality in my nation, and certainly the world, and hopes to continue to speak out against injustice wherever it is found.

Let it mean something

Even today, and perhaps especially today, as these survivors mourn loved ones and worry about their futures, everyone able must rally for justice. For, as Ben Franklin put it, “justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”


Boat Crash, Equality, Eritrea, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Immigration Reform, Italy, Lampedusa, Migrants, Migration, Survivors

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
11th Oct 2013 (#)

So sorry to hear, Phyl. I personally favor immigration reform but the type that lets people in. We all came from some place and are lucky to be here. My best friend is from Laos. She is a former immigrant who became a citizen several years back. She's a wonderful person.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
11th Oct 2013 (#)

I'm glad to hear it, Connie. I know you are special so she must be lucky!

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
11th Oct 2013 (#)

Interesting as usual Phyl...thank you...

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
12th Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks, Carolina!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
13th Oct 2013 (#)

Sad indeed, Phyl. I read about boat people all the time and also some who find great success in adopted countries. Some are forced to flee with nothing except the clothes on their backs. They are not welcome anywhere and treated as they don't exist and their lives have no values. These people just want to cling on to life but made to drift without any help. I quote Gandhi - "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress
can be judged by the ways its animals are treated". Obviously we have to start from treating our own better - siva

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
13th Oct 2013 (#)

Agreed, Siva! There was another boat crash yesterday -- also on its way to Italy. I think Leymah Gbowee has the right answer to solving civil strife from the inside, but I cannot even imagine how difficult that would be to replicate.

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