Monday, March 31, 2008

Throwback to Slave Trade as Somalis Drown off Yeman

News of over 75 Somalis drowning off the coast of Yemen is as distressing as it is inevitable.

With Yemen having established itself as the first destination-of-choice for thousands of Somalis fleeing the war-torn failed state, local boat owners have found a new and lucrative income stream from transporting groups across the Gulf of Aden to a new life in the gulf state of Yemen.

During such illegal and high risk ventures, where profit is king, fatalities are almost inevitable. Reports from the Yemeni authorities describe yesterday a boat carrying around 250 migrants whose captain, fearful of capture, forced his passengers to jump overboard and swim the final distance to shore. Only 180 Somalis reached the Yemeni beach.

The idea of black Africans being forced overboard by ruthless boat owners is a throwback to the slavery era when sick or “difficult” slaves would be jettisoned during the middle passage from West Africa to the Caribbean, a practice depicted in its brutality in the film Amistad.

It's a tragedy that such practices continue in 2008.

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1 comment:

Hanna said...

what's even more sad is that because it's Somalia it will almost certainly never make headlines.