Hundreds of of passengers were thrown to the sharks as people smugglers on the Horn of Africa dump Somalis and Ethiopians overboard to escape pursuing Yemeni coastguards, reports CNN.
Knife-wielding smugglers forced 450 Somalis and Ethiopians overboard into stormy seas along a remote stretch of Yemen coastline at Ras-Alkalb in the Gulf of Aden last Thursday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement.
The smugglers forced their passengers overboard so they could make a speedy departure after being spotted by Yemeni security forces, UNHCR spokeswoman Astrid van Genderen Stort said.
This is very reminisicent of an the "boat people" incident which took place off northern Australian waters in the recent past. Human smugglers from Indonesia who were spotted by Australian patrol boats threw their passengers, including children, to force the coastguards to pick up the floundering victims. Of course, the Left insisted it was "Howard's fault" because if he didn't try to bar the smuggling trade there would have been no reason to toss people to Davy Jones' locker.
Boat people were demonised, labelled potential drug-runners, prostitutes, queue-jumpers, evil people, people who would throw their children overboard, whom our leadership did not want to have in Australia.
... Have we forgotten that we live in one world? Those who pollute the environment affect the entire world, not just their own countries. In economic matters our leaders speak of globalisation. But when it comes to people, we divide ourselves into islands, into separate groups, into races, into religions.
Speaking of races and religions, it may come as a surprise to many that people smugglers and slavers did not historically restrict their victims to "people of color".
The Arab slave trade ... was not limited to people of certain color, ethnicity, or religion. In the early days of the Islamic state—during the 8th and 9th centuries—most of the slaves were Slavic Eastern Europeans, (called saqaliba and Mamluk), people from surrounding Mediterranean areas, Persians, Turks, other neighbouring Middle Eastern peoples, and peoples from the Caucasus Mountain regions (such as Georgia and Armenia) and parts of Central Asia, 18th and 19th centuries, slaves were increasingly mainly coming from East Africa. According to Robert Davis between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by pirates and sold as slaves between the XVI and XIX century. These slaves were captured mainly from seaside villages from Italy, Spain, Portugal and also from more distant places like France or England.
History buffs may recall that Arab slave traders seized Americans too.
In 1784 two ships (the Maria of Boston and the Dauphine of Philadelphia) were captured, everything sold and their crews enslaved to build port fortifications. Christian slaves were preferred and forced to do degrading work and treated harshly so letters would be written home to prompt the payment of a bigger ransom.
In 1786, Thomas Jefferson, then the ambassador to France, and John Adams, then the ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the ambassador to Britain from Tripoli. The Americans asked Adja why his government was hostile to American ships, even though there had been no provocation. The ambassador's response was reported to the Continental Congress:That it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.
American ships sailing in the Mediterranean chose to travel close to larger convoys of other European powers who had bribed the pirates. In the early 1800s, President Thomas Jefferson proposed a league of smaller nations to patrol the area, but the USA could not contribute. For the prisoners, Algeria wanted 60,000 dollars, America offered $4,000. Jefferson said a million dollars would buy them off, but Congress would only appropriate $80,000. For eleven years Americans who lived in Algeria lived as slaves to Algerian Moors.
In the end, the new American Republic resolved to fight the slave traders and eventually forced them, by means of naval combat and ground assault, including an attack on Tripoli, to leave US ships alone. That is why the Marine Corps hymn contains the phrase "to the shores of Tripoli".
But we often forget that in many places of the world beyond the reach of the network television camera, many people have never heard of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They may have never even heard of the Geneva Convention and many legal protocols -- until they are told by a high-powered lawyer hired by Human Rights advocates after their apprehension that they are entitled to its protections. How should civilization deal with those parts of the world that are still pre-modern or which march to a different drummer? We have no adequate answers as yet.