At Least 29 Die as Migrant Boats Sink Near Tunisia

    At Least 29 Die as Migrant Boats Sink Near Tunisia
    Last updated Mar 27, 2023
    Image credit: Getty Images [via BBC]


    • At least 29 migrants from sub-Saharan African countries have died after their boats sank off the coast of Tunisia. On Sunday, Tunisia's coast guard reported that the migrants were trying to cross the Mediterranean to Italy.[1]
    • This latest maritime disaster comes amid a campaign of arrests by Tunisian authorities of undocumented sub-Saharan Africans. Last week, the Tunisian coast guard stopped approximately 80 boats and detained more than 3K migrants heading for Italy.[2]
    • Over the past four days, five boats carrying refugees and migrants have reportedly sunk off the southern city of Sfax, leaving 67 people missing and nine dead.[3]
    • Meanwhile, the Italian coast guard said they coordinated the rescue of at least 3.3K people from 58 migrant boats heading from Tunisia to Lampedusa — the closest Italian island to Africa — in the 48 hours [starting from Sunday].[4]
    • On Friday, Italy's Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, called on the International Monetary Fund to intervene, with Tunisia risking economic collapse that threatens to unleash "a wave of migration which is objectively unprecedented" on Europe.[5]
    • UN data shows at least 12K migrants from Tunisia landed on Italy's shores during the first three months of 2023, compared with 1.3K during the same period last year.[6]


    Establishment-critical narrative

    Such tragedies result from people's desperation to escape famine, violence, repression, neocolonial injustice, and an increased climate of intolerance for a life of dignity. Tunisia's failure to reform an economic system built on cronyism and systemic corruption has led to food shortages, soaring energy prices, acute inflation, and growing unemployment. If those in power think only about their children, Africans will continue to leave their homelands and risk the journey across the sea.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The latest disaster actually stems from irregular migration from other parts of Africa attempting to colonize Tunisia. There is an international criminal plot involving vast sums of money after 2011 to change the country's demographic character. A crackdown on undocumented sub-Saharan Africans causing several transgressions and crimes in Tunisia — including murder, prostitution, and illicitly selling alcohol — is essential to stop migrants from dangerously crossing the sea for safety and better lives in Europe.

    Establishment split



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