A Mediterranean Nightmare

There was another tragedy on the Mediterranean. This time, over 300 migrants have died. These deaths are directly caused by gross and utterly vicious Libyan (and other) people-smugglers who leave migrants with no food or water, drifting. As usual, it was the Italian navy who found and rescued a few survivors.

Is the Italian Navy obligated to do this? They used to patrol all of the Mediterranean Sea, looking for migrants, but the program stopped last year. Between budget issues and questioning whether it was a good idea to encourage migration, the Italians pulled back closer to their coast. So here we are, tragedy upon tragedy, yet what moral obligation does Italy have to save them?

While it’s true that a concentrated effort to save them is the human thing to do, this comes at a time when Italy has plenty of its own problems. I would think that saving migrants from greedy human traffickers would be the right thing to do, but I can’t say that Italy holds any obligation to do it. Perhaps what is really needed in a UN or EU mandated task force dedicated to saving migrants and relocating them. That, however, smacks into the nasty issue of where. Where do they go? How much financial, social, and spacial resources can truly be spared? At what point does moral authority infringe on local sovereignty?


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