Did we already forget? Today, 3rd October, is the 4th anniversary of the Lampedusa tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea in which over 360 Eritrean lives perished. We were shocked, and the world too - of course except the criminal regime in Asmara that called our death "some African migrants".
The tragedy of Lampesusa gave cause to the establishment of a number of organizations and movements (e.g. the Stop Slavery in Europe, the Dr Tewelde Vaccaro committees...), as the Ona-Besikdira Massacre of December 1971, which claimed nearly 1,000 deaths in two days, also at that time angered young Eritreans in Europe and North America to form "Eritreans for liberation" movements.
The 368 Eritrean Lampedusa victims included Helen with her children Esrom, Delina and Bilen.
After four years of the pain of Lampedusa, Eritreans in all walks of life appear to have taken it easy. The evil Eritrean regime - that root cause of the ongoing Eritrean tragedies - is not only safe in Asmara but also apparently claiming to have taken the upper-hand. The tragedy today is that there is little to see from the opposition movements, associations in the diaspora.
Also soon after Lampedusa, the European Union acted fast and took measures, which still continue, to stop deaths in the southern shores of Europe. But, they took started to take it easy, and decided to let the root causes remain unaddressed. Instead, re-empowering regimes like that dictator Isayas Afeworki were preferred as the new normal. But tragedies similar to what happened near Lampedusa on 3 October 2013 continue unabated.
One European organ established soon after the Lampedusa shock is called Missing Migrants Project. It did not specify the number of Eritrean victims, but it went back to year 2000 and estimated migrant sea fatalities in the past 17 years at 46,000.
We Eritreans know that the number of compatriots who perished in the high seas and deserts is big, but we are not yet able even to take count our dead and missing compatriots.
During 2013, Mediterranean Sea victims numbered some 600. The number of Eritrean deaths was for sure not less than two-thirds of that number for that year.
In 2014, the Mediterranean Sea claimed 3,279 lives; in 2915 over 3,700 lives; in 2016 over 3,500, and so far in 2017 over 2,654 lives. Yet we cannot tell how many of the dead were Eritreans.
Even the remains of the highly publicized victims of Lampedusa remain in underground vaults, many of them still not identifies. Many more were added during the past four years.... and we are not even counting our dead let alone to jointly take action to stop the tragedies. console
Pope Francis meeting consoling the Eritrean Lampedusa survivors.