Two archetypal tales [pt 2]: “A lost ship sailing the Mediterranean seas in quest of a beloved isle”

My recent blogpost on the two archetypal tales as delineated by Borges, is echoed daily in ever more resounding ways – Reuters clip. set adriftas hopeful migrants surge, and desperate refugees drift, towards a better tomorrow.

Two hideous stories have been told in the past 24 hours in the news media – tales that echo previous ones, ones that will, sadly, be told again and again:

First, a boat over-filled with migrants sinks off Libya. 200 people suspected dead…

Click for the Reuters clip (no narration)

Second, a truck abandoned on the side of a motorway in Austria is investigated. A grisly discovery: scores of dead stowaways…


One current summary from Reuters news agency marks some ‘next level’ low points…

The U.N. refugee agency said the number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe had passed 300,000 this year, up from 219,000 in the whole of 2014.

The Reuters article cites another hideous stat being proposed by the UN’s refugee agency:

More than 2,500 people have died making the sea crossing this year, compared with 3,500 who died or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2014.

Perhaps not one of the prettiest data visualisations, yet highly insightful… click the map for The Migrants Files.

Despite the news’ natural focus on the soaring 2015 stats, this has been a developing story for over a decade according to the data crunched findings of The Migrants Files. The award-winning website reports a phenomenal death toll of “30,000 (preventable) deaths since 2000” and counting…

The ‘Migrants’ site is recommended reading for anyone who wants to dig deeper into this key story-of-our-time, or, at the very least, get far beyond the scaremongering about ISIS creeping into the European continent under the ‘refugee’ guise. Indeed, The Migrants Files has recently been enhanced with ‘The Money Trails’ – a new strand that begins to unpick the costs of all of this mass movement of ‘people’ (whatever their circumstances). Both aspects – the death toll and the financial costs – are mounting, and both aspects make this website a must.

The evidence-over-time is a telling indictment of eleventh hour moves, and/or mere rhetoric, from various governments that are currently (seemingly ‘suddenly’) intent on stopping the haemorrhage of people from A to B. While State responses promote various symptoms to address (including ‘traffickers’) they fail to root out many causes, or to consider, reflexively, their own implicit roles in this super-sized, sprawling, story… given that they are all players in a thoroughly intertwined, globalised world.

Meanwhile more and more people cling to rafts, trains, trucks; to some sense of hope; to life itself across the unforgiving seas, through the sharp ends of the Earth, to the back of beyond…

Only one thing seems clear for today, tomorrow, the next day: this is a story that can run and run – and it happens to double up as one of two archetypal tales that, seemingly, will always be told by humans across time, and place, and in so many ways.



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