The recent deaths of Ethiopians show how avarice for money is a danger to human life. It can drive someone to exploiting the misery of the other, even to the point of killing a person. In such behaviour human beings reduce themselves to something less than human. Unfortunately, it isn’t rare to see people gaining money by savage means. Will you also kill a person for money?
Kill for money, a tragedy across countries
On 15th of June 2016 the immigration authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo intercepted a Zambian container truck. It was the banging sounds coming from the container that caused suspicion. When they opened the truck, 95 Ethiopians were found crowed in there behind the bags of beans and fish, with 11 persons among them already dead most likely by suffocation. The death toll has risen to 19. The earlier reports had mistaken these Ethiopians for Somalians (Warning: disturbing pictures 15 Somalians Suffocate). That was the tragic end of the journey most likely to South Africa, after traversing Kenya, Tanzania and northern Zambia. Yes, inhumanity cuts across several countries.
There’s more to it than illegal migration
When someone goes as far as endangering other people’s lives in such a way it just shows that the problem is much more serious than just illegal migration. If one can let others die for money it’s actually our own humanity being taken prisoner by greed, leading to as far as taking advantage of another person’s misery. Let’s look closely at the victims.
People flee their country for one reason or another in search for better life. In their desperation they are easily convinced to do everything proposed to them. It’s like their passion to reach the Promised Land makes them somewhat naïve and ready to embark on an adventure of thousands of kilometres in difficult conditions. I think it’s human to search for better life and no one should be denied the opportunity. Governments and each person should be human enough to help these people to fulfil their dream in the right and safe way. Alas, instead of helping them, they turn them into goods for profit.
Profiting from another person’s misery
It’s cruel to exploit the misery of a fellow human being for profit, even worse, to abandon him to death for money. That is the fate to which immigrants are subjected. They fall into the hands of unscrupulous people who will go to any length to swindle them of the last bank-note in their pocket. What counts is gaining money but what happens to the other seems to be of little importance. Naturally, when a human being sees another person in need he wants to help. But each new day is bringing new images of a behaviour quite alien to humanity.
When human beings reconcile themselves to capitalising on the vulnerability of others they actually reduce themselves to wild animals. Dr Kenneth Kaunda would describe that as animal in man. Just check it out on Planet TV channel and you will soon understand what I’m talking about, and probably you will also agree with me. Do you know the lion’s hunting strategy? It identifies a weak one from the herd and goes for it. Indeed, it is dehumanising for human beings to subscribe themselves to such wild and ruthless hunting strategy in their relations with their fellow human beings. Sadly, this is not just an isolated act of inhumanity by the Zambian truck driver. There are many other stories.
In August last year, 2015, we had a similar case of migrants’ death. 71 persons suffocated in a truck in Austria. Besides, who is capable of making an up-to-date record of immigrants perishing each day? According to the recent report of the International Organization for Migration about 2, 862 persons have so far perished in the Mediterranean Sea. You call that accident if you want. I don’t. Given the circumstances in which people die it’s simply abhorring and irresponsible to continue speaking of accidents. That’s why at times it’s good to revisit the terms we use. Tell me, what’s an accident?
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, an accident is a sudden event that is not planned or intended and that causes damage or injury. But when those traffickers load their boats with persons more than double the capacity and when the Zambian truck driver packs 95 persons in the container with no ventilation; do you insist calling the direct and obvious result as accident? The 19 Ethiopians who suffocated to death are not victims of an accident. Someone took advantage of their desperation, swindled them of money and finally abandoned them to death.
Besides, the amount of money that traffickers demand is just unbelievable. A journey that will cost an ordinary traveller few hundred dollars, traffickers will demand thousands of dollars. Examples are endless.
Why telling this story?
For us on this blog singlehumanity the idea is not so much focalising on people out there who abandon others to death because of money. The idea is to use such experiences to check our own behaviour. How is my attitude vis-à-vis the weaker ones? Don’t I also in some way kill the little ones to my advantage?
Surely, promoting our common humanity does not come about through political, impressive parades before cameras. It begins right with me through simple, genuine act of humanity. It begins when I stretch my hand towards my fellow human being, not to drain him empty of money and life, but to give him support so that he can stand up on his own and live with dignity. That is acting according to our humanity. That is the way of building a human, and not a wild, society.
No, in the name of humanity, I will not use my fellow human being like an object for profit. I will not kill a person for money. I choose to respect the humanity in me and in others as well.