Some 7,128 migrants have reached the shores of Andalucía so far this year, according to statistics from the Junta de Andalucía. This is the equivalent of 11.3 times the number of migrants currently on board the Aquarius on its way to Spain. Of that total, 1,350 were minors. That is two boats' full just with children and babies. In under six months 828 migrants have been brought ashore in the port of Malaga.
What has happened this week with the rescue boat of Médecins Sans Frontiers and SOS Mediterranée, whose passengers are due to be taken in by Spain after being disgracefully rejected by Italy and Malta, has jolted public opinion, albeit just for a few days, into seeing the drama that is happening every day in front of our closed eyes. Nobody should lose sight of the fact that small “Aquariuses” are arriving on the Spanish shores every day, a constant stream of small vessels that cross the sea at night full of pregnant women and newborn babies with not enough blankets to keep out the cold and damp of their voyage to paradise. There are also men, a lot of men, and teenage boys escaping war and famine.
Europe has an opportunity but it is treating it like a problem. It's a historical error that will be studied when the start of the 21st century is analysed with perspective. The attitude of Italy to refuse permission for the boat to dock in its ports is childish, unheard-of for a country with so much history, which appears not to have ever studied.
They are going to keep coming because there is no fence high enough or border patrolled enough for someone with nothing to lose. Jim Morrison said “Life hurts a lot more than death. At the point of death, the pain is over.” Only from that point of view can we understand what it feels like to be on a drifting boat in the dark of the night.
There is still hope. There always is, while life goes on. Europe can and must face up to the situation as what it is, a group of the most developed nations on this planet.
Astrologers tell us we are in the Age of Aquarius. The musical Hair and the film Miloš Forman directed years later, have that famous song on their soundtrack. Among the lyrics, I would select these: “No more falsehoods or derision / Golden living dreams of visions / Mystic crystal revelation / And the mind's true liberation /Aquarius, Aquarius.”