At what point does a Conflict become a War? Or Human Trafficking become Slave Trade? Or Mass Killings become Genocide? Or a Crime against one group become a Crime Against Humanity? These are questions we should ask ourselves as citizens of the world. How long can we turn a blind eye to atrocities before we act? But for social media sharing videos of multiple acts of unimaginable horror being perpetrated against our fellow human beings, would we be inclined to deal with the situation? We live in a world of technology – a culture where seeing is indeed believing. Literature is no longer enough to feed us information. Technology and social media determine when we cross the lines from human trafficking to slave trading, as well as, the answers to the other questions above. That which gathers the most attention and receives the most views, is that which we choose to act upon.
After the topple of Gaddafi in Libya, there was jubilation for a purportedly free Libya. Thomas Jefferson said, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” The Western World ought to know that it is not enough to remove a dictator. The real challenge lies in maintaining stability thereafter. Past is prologue. We need only to look at recent examples in Iraq and Afghanistan. After Gaddafi was removed, Libya was left with a vacuum, paving the way for lawlessness and increased criminality. Whatever was wrong in Libya under Gaddafi has now been multiplied.
Organised criminals and other officials in Libya are allegedly making a lot of money from organisations such as the United Nations and USAID by receiving money under the guise of operating refugee camps. Instead, these camps have become prisons and warehouses for slave trading. Where is the oversight? Humans are reportedly traded for their organs and used as slaves.
These migrants came from somewhere. They are citizens of a country. Why are their countries of origin not working towards freeing their people? For example, what is the Nigerian government doing about its citizens who are sold as slaves, beaten to death, drowned at sea, starving in the desert, etcetera, all in an attempt to escape hopelessness in their nation?
These migrants are willing to risk their lives in order to seek an unknown tomorrow. They become stateless and displaced. Majority of them pray for repatriation that never comes and they remain in squalid camps, facing more horrors.
The United Nations outlined in resolution 1674, a responsibility to protect civilians in areas of conflict. The various illegal points of entry into these countries particularly Libya, is well-known and should be monitored closely by the United Nations, in order to have access to the migrants before they fall prey to slave traders and other predators.
The Nigerian government continues to show a reckless disregard for their citizens and human rights in general. Shame on the so-called “Giant of Africa.”
“He that is down needs fear no fall.” What image is portrayed of a country whose citizens migrate en mass out of the country into known places of horror, in hopes of making it into Europe? They do this because they are already on the ground and fear no fall.
Jane O. Ikezi, an attorney, is a special correspondent for USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com. She is based in New York.