Twelve months on from one of the deadliest shipwrecks in modern times, we need to re-think the role memory should play when dealing with the ‘refugee crisis’.
Almost exactly a year ago, on the night of 18/19 April 2015, over 800 migrants died in the Mediterranean’s worst shipwreck of modern times. An Egyptian-flagged boat was travelling between the north of Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa when it launched a distress call. Tragically, the boat capsized after colliding with the Portuguese merchant ship which had come to its rescue. Many of the people on board, mainly African and Bangladeshi migrants, and including young children, were locked in the hull. Only 28 young men survived and just 58 bodies were recovered – all the others are still technically ‘missing’, most unnamed. Operations to recover and try to identify them will start only this month, as recently confirmed by the Italian government.
As the anniversary of the disaster approaches, it is important to remember the people who lost their lives that night, and with them all the others who died and went missing at sea over recent weeks, months and years trying to reach Europe.