Our youths’ obsession with Europe must end
Reportedly, 1200 Bangladeshis are now in Libya to cross on to Europe but how many will manage to fulfil their wish is hard to say. A large number will get caught and sent back, some may face accidents at sea while those who finally make it may realise that, Italy plus other countries in Europe are still struggling with austerity, job cuts and recession like conditions. Yet, people are paying lakhs to take this risk, instead of investing the money here to start an enterprise or a small business. The government needs to start an immediate awareness raising programme with those who have come back from near death experiences.
The obsession to enter Europe with the help of human traffickers via Libya, a country in social and political turmoil, has overwhelmed the young in this country, particularly Sylhet. The fascination for a better life in Italy has become so intense that young people are dishing out Tk. Ten lakh to traffickers and middlemen for a passage via Libya into European soil. The main cause of such desperation is fuelled by a very slick but untrue spiel by unscrupulous agents who weave tales of prosperity, wealth and comfort in front of impressionable young men.
Little do the young men realise that for one illegal entry, there are hundreds who will be stranded for months on Libyan soil and many will perish at sea. Just a month ago, a group of shell shocked Bangladeshis were rescued from the Mediterranean when the boat carrying them to Italian shores, sank. More than 30 Bangladeshis died in the accident which triggered the government to step up efforts to forestall such illegal voyages even before they start.
Unfortunately, when one is consumed by the desire to find Shangri La abroad, all sensible advice is swept aside. What is more disconcerting is that the parents and family members of young people who are waiting in Libya to cross over are unwilling to give any details to the law enforcers, thus making the job of busting such rings tough.
These young men, who have had their illusions shattered, are the best people to narrate the tales of horror related to illegal migration and inject some logic into delusional minds. At the same time, families need to be told not to believe everything they hear about life in foreign lands. Even those who manage to live overseas face a wide range of adverse situations, like cramped living, low payment, mistreatment and racial attacks. The age old belief that grass is greener elsewhere is now a hollow myth.