An art exhibition in Germany illustrated the tragic price of the migration crisis that is now effecting Europe. The theme of an art installation called Lampedusa 361 was about refugees who have drowned in the Mediterranean, while trying to make the sea crossing from Africa to Europe. The installation which has been exhibited in Dresden and Düsseldorf is not just a piece of artwork, but also acts as a memorial to those who have died and a warning to all of us.
The exhibition consisted of posters which were laid out rather like beach mats or towels on the ground in an open space. The posters were of photographs of the graves of refugees who died off the coast of southern Italy. Candles were placed on the ground beside the mats, which created the impression of actually being in a cemetery where the refugees had been buried. In the year 2016 over 5000 men, women, and children died while trying to cross the Mediterranean often in old leaky overloaded fishing boats. These events pose the question of why are these people going to such desperate measures to reach Europe?
Throughout history refugees have fled the terror of persecution and wars, which continues to the present day: at the time of writing there are wars going in South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. These conflicts have created millions of refugees who have lost everything, but added to this is the phenomenon of climate change. Both of these problems of climate change and wars are global, and could be described as the force that is pushing the mass migration from the south to the north.
The mass migration is a symptom of a dying planet, where large areas of the planet are becoming uninhabitable. The human species is killing the planet and itself at the same time. Europe can no longer cope with mass immigration, but mass immigration is not the fault of the immigrants, everybody will do what they have to do to survive. If EU member states – including the UK irrespective of Brexit – are selling armaments to Saudi Arabia and other oil and gas producing states in the Middle East, then Europe is helping to make the problem of mass immigration worse.
©Jolyon Gumbrell 2017