Youth Migrants Are Human Beings!! Failures of the African Union

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Youth Migrants Are Human Beings!! Failures of the African Union.

As The Gruesome Plight of African Youths Risk Their Lives Across The Hostile and Uninhabitable Treacherous Mediterranean Sea.

Alagi Yorro Jallow

The African youths who drowned off the coast of Mauritania were willing to do so because very few of the flowery and aspirational ideals and objectives of the African Union haven’t been met – definitely not consistently so. The African Union has failed Africans youth inhabitants – Period.

Although to some of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, West African nations, the Gambia including are still struggling to generate enough jobs for their expanding young populations. As a result, migrants continue to attempt treacherous routes to reach Europe.

It is an ugly story that should prick the conscience of most human beings but unfortunately, it doesn’t. It is our hope that the tragic loss of lives as many as fifty-eight people died after a ship from Gambia carrying about 150 migrants sank off the coast of Mauritania. The sinking of the vessel from Gambia was one of the deadliest incidents since migrants found other routes to Europe. “Mauritanian authorities say up to fifty-eight people are dead after a vessel carrying migrants sank off its coast, the United Nations agency, the International Organization for Migration, said on Twitter. Survivors of the sinking told officials that the ship had left Gambia a week ago”.

This tragic loss of young lives, African leaders should serve as a warning and as a deterrent to those considering the move. Importantly, we hope that this loss of lives in the Mauritanian coast will act as a rallying cry for Africans against incompetence-induced migration of Africans to increasingly xenophobic European and Middle Eastern countries that think less of them – and treats them thus!

Although in the Gambia and to some of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, West African nations are still struggling to generate enough jobs for their expanding young populations. As a result, migrants continue to attempt treacherous routes to reach Europe.

The gruesome plight of African youth typically, young boys and girls who are forced by corrupt and incompetent African governments to risk their lives making the trip across the hostile and uninhabitable Sahara Desert and the treacherous Mediterranean Sea to an equally inhospitable and unwelcoming Southern Europe (Italy) – and beyond.

To begin with, these self-serving leaders create untenable and dangerous socio-economic and political conditions at home – in the Gambia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and in Mali as well in other part of sub-Saharan Africa. These unbearable conditions then force hundreds of thousands of young Africans to flee to the safety of Europe and even in North America. These folks brave the uncertainties of crossing the Sahara Desert. Most of them surreptitiously left their families and loved ones. They evade heartless human traffickers – who are probably no better than some of the very people they are running away from.

The migrants weather the harshness of the Mediterranean Sea or winter climes they are mostly unfamiliar with. Finally, across the sea, they land on shores of countries that are mostly unwelcoming; oftentimes living among heartless, cruel, bigoted and xenophobic people. Some never make it; ending up consumed by the harshness that can be humanity. Some barely make it; forever scarred by the harrowing experiences – and yes, it is always harrowing. Fewer still are able to cobble together a living – arguably better than what they left behind – once they “make it”. The muted reaction of the African Union (AU) in response to the drowning of young African migrants seeking to reach Europe should not surprise anyone.

 Apart from those African youth folks perished in the Mediterranean Sea and the numbers of those fleeing and getting sold into slavery is negligible compared to a rising African middle class (“fastest growing middle class in the world”) and the entire continent’s population. The political instability and economic social strife that is left behind is now leading thousands to flee from sub-Sharan Africa into Europe.

 Let’s agree that knowing our history as Africans, just one slave sold in this age is a total abomination. And that rising African middle-class floats on an economy that can go south in a second, primarily because of bad politics. Darn shame all of our African presidents watching our citizens take a chance on freedom even if it comes with the possibility of getting sold into slavery in the 21st Century.

There was CNN clip making the rounds about ongoing migrant slavery in Libya. Africans as Humans being auctioned off. This has been going on for decades in the Horn of Africa with migrants crossing across the Red Sea as final destination. The silent plunder of Africa’s resources that never ceases, with African Presidents being enablers of the plunder through greed-driven contracts. The number of those who die and/or get tortured as indentured laborers is huge.

Like its predecessor, the AU talks a good game but typifies the corruption, impunity and incompetence of its members – the continent’s pot-bellied Anglicized and Francophilic “big ‘little’ men”. The AU has a listing of lofty objectives and ideals about African unity, the countries’ “sovereignty” and “economic independence of an Africa Rising”. The old guard African leaders and other continental leaders have matched word-for-word, the post-independence rhetoric about “respect for the democratic and human rights”, “the need for ‘free and fair elections” and other meaningless inanities and platitudes. And notwithstanding, the continent’s millions willingly risk life and limb to escape these murderous and selfish leaders.

And as usual, the tragedy received scant mention in the African dailies and barely any mention by members of the august body that is supposed to: Promote peace, security, and stability on the continent, protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, promote political and social-economic integration of the continent and promote sustainable development at the economic integration of African economies.

The shift towards the Sahel region and the growing brazenness of 21st century indentured labor into full-blown slavery with live auctions of human merchandise is only now being “discovered” by mainstream media the covert strategies to control the massive resources of the Sahel (West & North of the Horn). France, China and the US have had competing interest in that region for years, and these have intensified in the name of international terrorism as efforts for multinational control of Africa’s resources grow.

The majority of mostly black Africans fleeing violence, economic hardship and outright hopelessness drowned in a shipwreck off the coast of Libya last year and this recent death of Gambian along the coast of Mauritania. The African Union’s moribund leadership has failed the continent’s youth folks and very little will change with its leadership’s penchant for insularity, secrecy, selfishness and self-preservation. They recycle the same corrupt and inept leadership who embody the AU’s selfish and arcane aging kleptocrats more interested in self-enrichment than in making meaningful changes to stem the hundreds of thousands of boys and girls from fleeing the continent.

It is any wonder the body (AU) rarely releases official statements and policy proposals when these tragedies occur. It knows that these tragedies are directly related to its membership’s ineptitude. The African Union will not directly address the recent tragedy off the Mauritanian coast because its membership is directly responsible for creating the very conditions that force Africans to take such risks – fleeing the organization’s member states.

The gruesome plight of African youth typically, young boys and girls who are forced by corrupt and incompetent African governments to risk their lives making the trip across the hostile and uninhabitable Sahara Desert and the treacherous Mediterranean Sea to an equally inhospitable and unwelcoming Southern Europe (Italy) – and beyond.

To begin with, these self-serving leaders create untenable and dangerous socio-economic and political conditions at home – in the Gambia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and in Mali as well in other part of sub-Saharan Africa. These unbearable conditions then force hundreds of thousands of young Africans to flee to the safety of Europe and even in North America. These folks brave the uncertainties of crossing the Sahara Desert. Most of them surreptitiously left their families and loved ones. They evade heartless human traffickers – who are probably no better than some of the very people they are running away from.

The migrants weather the harshness of the Mediterranean Sea or winter climes they are mostly unfamiliar with. Finally, across the sea, they land on shores of countries that are mostly unwelcoming; oftentimes living among heartless, cruel, bigoted and xenophobic people. Some never make it; ending up consumed by the harshness that can be humanity. Some barely make it; forever scarred by the harrowing experiences – and yes, it is always harrowing. Fewer still are able to cobble together a living – arguably better than what they left behind – once they “make it”. The muted reaction of the African Union (AU) in response to the drowning of young African migrants seeking to reach Europe should not surprise anyone.

And as usual, the tragedy received scant mention in the African dailies and barely any mention by members of the august body that is supposed to: Promote peace, security, and stability on the continent, protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, promote political and social-economic integration of the continent and promote sustainable development at the economic integration of African economies.

Even fewer yet parlay their God-given talents into playing a sport, in the case football – and that is when that previously hard-scrabbled life, coupled with the tenacity to succeed, kicks in. Suddenly, the peace and stability that some of these young people and their respective families yearned for is more the norm than the exception. The facilities and amenities that allow one to hone their skills and condition their mind and body to perform miraculous physics- and gravity-defying feats are not only promised, usually when campaigning for office, they are delivered and delivered aplenty. It simply lacks the visionary leadership and management to promise and deliver on the requisite amenities and structure to realize that possibility.

The African Union did absolutely nothing to (a) investigate and hold the perpetrators of the odious act accountable and (b) compel its leadership to work towards ameliorating the socio-economic conditions that drive Africans to such levels of desperation. Simply put, the African Union is a toothless useless dog.

The foregoing is Items of the AU’s 14-point listing of objectives. This is not the first time Africans fleeing their leaders’ inability to effectively and competently execute on the AU’s objectives have suffered such tragedies. About two years ago in 2017 they were victims of a slave trade scandal that took them back to 1700s and the slave trade era – at the hands of Arabs!

As previously written in response to the 2017 scandal of Africans being sold as slaves in Libya, the organization’s predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) wasn’t any better. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda happened during its watch as did the Biafran War in Nigeria.  The 1984-85 famine in Ethiopia that spawned the “We are the World” collabo between all the mega-stars of the 80s also happened during the organization’s watch. And God knows how many governments were overthrown and politicians/intelligentsia linked to the overthrown regime tortured and/or disappeared! Even after it was disbanded in 2002, not much changed under the new brand African Union (AU) and this latest tragedy off the coast of Mauritania is proof of that.

The African Union does not bite and powerless organization as far as protecting Africa’s interests goes. This leaves each country with the responsibility to protect its own interests. It all comes back to this: Exemplary political leadership that will ensure rule of law, thriving of its own citizens as a priority, non-nonsense win-win contracts with rich countries; contracts that do not sell out Africa’s resources just to enrich a few. With a protectionist and Africa-first approach, we will not have thousands of Africans fleeing their own plundered countries to search for better life in Europe.

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