Refugees and Hopelessness: Rethinking Apathy and Ignorance as Oppressive Instruments

The recent tragic death toll created hundredth of victims who perished disgracefully in the Mediterranean Sea. The EU states expressed their sorrow one by one shortly after the incident. However, the political and social responsibility sharing has not been completely embraced as a principal norm to resolve this complex tragedy among the EU states. The measures taken by the member states in the EU are mostly focused on the prevention of the refugees rather than uncovering the fundamental local and international problems that led to this tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea. What we urgently need is not simply empathy to understand the dreadful conditions of the hopeless people who have to leave their homes and beloved ones. The utmost requirement to save lives in the Mediterranean Sea is the ‘applied empathy’ to both conceive the state of hopelessness and follow an inclusive and permanent policy path rather than the preventive and temporary one. Yet the Mediterranean Sea is not the only region tinkering with the migration and refugee issues. The latest tragedy of Rohingya Muslims, who fled Burma and Myanmar because of desperation, discrimination and violation of fundamental human rights, have faced perilous life conditions from starving to the need of medical help as they stuck on the boats for weeks. The south-east-asian countries’ governors -Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia- turned back these boats. The state officials in Thailand even declared that the migrants may steal the jobs of Thai people if they accept the people in the boats. The apathy and ignorance on this issue have turned to an oppressive mechanism by leaving the hopeless people in the middle of sea to their own fate. The humanity in our century portrays an ironic panorama with its own contradictions from advance technology to poor caring culture and from soaring number of super-rich individuals to people dying of starvation in every three seconds in the deprived regions of the world.

You will see the eyes of the Rohingya people in the video below. Those eyes are the poignant reminders of the loss of humanity in our century.