Behind the death ship

What’s happening, the Afghan migrant asks himself, what is the Greek patrol boat doing? In the middle of his question, some of the 180 other migrants standing on the deck of the Adrianna move to look, the Adrianna flips, and he is thrown into the sea.

He paddles to stay afloat, dragged by his clothes and shoes, watching the Adrianna founder, aware as the fishing boat sinks that his three children and their mother are locked in its hold. He can do nothing to save them, can barely swim to save what’s left of his life.

Those standing on the Adrianna’s deck and those below had paid $6,000 to smugglers to take them from eastern Libya to Sicily, a common passage in the last decade. Their ship strayed toward Greece and lost its way.

 Some say the Greek ship tried to tug the boat with the migrants and caused it to sink. The Greek Navy denies this.

The officials and the media blame it all on “traffickers,” those who smuggle in migrants on overloaded ships, charging prices bloated by the impossibility for migrants from Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, countries where the Adrianna’s passengers came from, to travel by normal, legal channels.

Whoever is to blame for the capsizing of the boat, the Greek Navy reported it had pulled 104 migrants from the water alive and 78 bodies of people who had drowned, with unknown hundreds of people below the decks, including children.

Behind the immediate crime are EU bureaucrats and the EU member politicians, who first created the crisis that forced people to leave their home countries and then built a wall to keep them out of Europe.

Behind the politicians and bureaucrats is the capitalist-imperialist system, whose profit drive pushes hundreds of millions of human beings from poverty level down to starvation level and whose wars turn livable societies into a living hell, as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since 2014, it is estimated that 21,000 migrants have died trying to travel from Africa and Asia to Europe.

Washington is also responsible, with its Pentagon, CIA and State Department sowing chaos in Libya, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. Before 2011, Libya was a relatively wealthy and stable North African country that drew millions of African migrants and found work for them. There were roughly 2.5 million migrants in Libya in 2011. (

That year the U.S. led NATO’s bombing raids that tore Libya apart, turned it into an impoverished and chaotic failed state, where traffickers ship desperate people to Italy.

U.S. sanctions on Afghanistan — after 20 years of occupation — have left a large part of the population with little choice but to migrate or die. And let’s not even discuss the crimes of the U.S. war and intervention against Syria.

On the U.S. border with Mexico, some 8,000 people from 1998 to 2020 were listed as having died crossing — and that omits those who disappeared in the border rivers and the vast Sonoran Desert or drowned in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. interventions in Central America and imperialist domination of the local economies, plus blockades against Cuba and Venezuela, have forced millions of people to migrate to survive.

Imperialist propaganda describes the U.S. and the EU powers as “democracies,” supposedly part of the “Free World,” but their border policies expose them for what they really are: countries whose tiny billionaire ruling class uses force throughout the world to exploit lands and people. When the aggrieved people flee to survive, this class sows death along these countries’ borders and in nearby seas.

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