Mediterranean fact of the day

by on December 27, 2016 at 1:48 pm in Current Affairs, Travel | Permalink

More than 90 migrants were feared dead after the two latest boat sinkings between Libya and Sicily on Thursday, the United Nations reported, bringing the number of migrants killed in 2016 as they attempted the journey to over 5,000, compared with the 3,771 deaths recorded last year.

“This is the worst annual death toll ever seen,” William Spindler, a spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency, told reporters in Geneva, adding that 14 people, on average, drowned in the Mediterranean every day this year.

Here is the full NYT story, possibly with video noise.

1 Jay December 27, 2016 at 1:51 pm

Obomber and Clinton did a wonderful job in Libya!

2 Chris December 27, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Are you retarded?

3 The Anti-Gnostic December 27, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Remember, “We came, we saw, he died [cackle],”? Gaddafi stopped the human trafficking-migrant pipeline. Now, he’s no longer around to stop it.

4 Boonton December 27, 2016 at 6:42 pm

So the secret to Middle East stability rests on unstable dictators holding absolute power?

5 Anon December 27, 2016 at 7:07 pm

No, the secrete to Middle East stability rests on stable dictators holding absolute power.

6 Chip December 27, 2016 at 7:10 pm

I’d settle for not making it worse.

7 Boonton December 27, 2016 at 9:20 pm

So how do we find stable dictators? Perhaps a TV reality/game show?

8 derek December 27, 2016 at 9:38 pm

The Obama north Africa policy is indefensible, so stop making a fool of yourself by defending it. The authors have run as far away from it as they can. It was a blitheringly stupid policy, poorly thought out and executed based on ridiculous notions. Let’s knock over a bunch of marginally functional states and replace them with failed ungovernable areas. Then run away and deny any responsibility.

9 The Anti-Gnostic December 27, 2016 at 11:17 pm

The concern is not Middle East stability or even (I hope you’re sitting down for this) DEMOCRACY. The concern is that the sectarian warfare and general dysfunction of the Middle East stays in the Middle East.

Foreign policy should be guided by reality and the national interest, not Trotskyite ideology.

10 Anon December 27, 2016 at 11:45 pm


Give a dictator US support or at least passive acceptance and he will go far. No game show necessary.

11 prior_test2 December 28, 2016 at 1:59 am

Not a single word about the only stability that matters?

From Sept. 2016 – ‘Libya, struggling to revive its energy industry after five years of armed conflict, restarted production at an eastern oil field and was poised to export crude from the port of Zueitina for the first time since November.

Germany’s Wintershall AG began pumping at Concession 96 in As Sarah field on Sept. 16, and is producing 35,000 bpd, a company official said Wednesday in an emailed response to questions. Wintershall restarted production at the request of Libya’s National Oil Corp. (NOC) and will send oil from the field to Zueitina for export, the official said.

The tanker Ionic Anassa is due to arrive at Zueitina on Oct. 3, according to a signal from the ship. It would be the first vessel to load crude there since force majeure restrictions were lifted earlier this month.

“Libya’s output is showing the first signs of a credible increase,” said Olivier Jakob, managing director of Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland.

Libya, with Africa’s largest crude reserves, produced 260,000 bpd last month, data compiled by Bloomberg show. It has gradually boosted output and is now pumping 485,000 bpd, National Oil Corp. Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in an interview in Algiers on Wednesday as OPEC members prepared to meet in the Algerian capital. The country produced about 1.6 MMbopd before the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime leader Moammar Al Qaddafi, but output has withered as rival militias vied to control energy facilities.’

12 Boonton December 28, 2016 at 8:20 am

Egypt & Tunisa also threw off their dictatorships without US intervention. The assumption in these comments is that the Middle East is at a point of absolute stability and the only thing causing change are different US policy decisions.

The Middle East is going through a huge demographic shift with a huge population of younger people moving into the world of power. The idea that everything will be ok if we just rely on old dictatorships and authoritarian regimes that have been there for several generations (sometimes with the same guy for those multiple generations) seems to me to be asking a lot out of faith.

13 Edward December 30, 2016 at 1:21 am

As long as the government is not Islamic.

14 Jay December 27, 2016 at 11:03 pm
15 Jay December 27, 2016 at 11:06 pm

How does that saying go?

Obomber and Clinton lied, and people died.

Got a good rhyme to it!

16 Thomas December 27, 2016 at 2:06 pm

Muslims dominated societies really su…

Right Cowen?

Well, hopefully nothing will change in Europe after the influx of millions of the same muslims that are being so inhumane all over north africa, the arab world and all the way to pakistan. Hopefully they will becomt “humanist” as soon as they reach europe.

17 Brandon December 27, 2016 at 3:32 pm

Your 2nd grade teacher should have beat your backside with a paddle – over and over again – until you learned how to spell properly.


How’s this for Mediterranean facts: Spain’s GDP since 1850?

18 Thomas December 27, 2016 at 4:26 pm

This was not me but I approve of this message. Another way to put it is that if we simply imported ISIS and gave them AA, they would give up everything they believe and become LGBT allies.

19 Sam Haysom December 27, 2016 at 5:06 pm

It’s more cynical than that. For all intents and purposes third world immigrants are already allies of the left even if they don’t change their personal views. The vote for the left wing and hard left wing parties so it’s easy for a left wing politician in Europe to present the deluge in precisely those terms.

That’s why the Dutch left got so enraged by Pim Fortuyn and created the noxious eliminationist culture that lead to his assasination- in their minds Pim wasn’t seeing the big picture- a deluge of newly minted left wing voters replacing the bitter, angry whites and ushering in a new leftist utopia.

20 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 7:34 pm

There are civil wars going on. Maybe that’s more related to the violence than the religion.

When a civil war happens in Asia, do you also blame it on Islam there? How about the American Civil War? Can you finagle some way to blame the inhumane acts of that war on Islam?

Something tells me that the people who flee the war for a peaceful place of refuge are not the same people involved in the violence.

21 Tarrou December 27, 2016 at 7:50 pm

“Something” tells you that? The people who flee a civil war are the ones who lost. That is why the vast majority of “refugees” to europe are not women, children or old people, but young men. And guess who is losing right now? Something tells me it’s ISIS.

22 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 8:28 pm

Let’s pretend that what you say is 100% truth and there is nothing at all else relevant to consider.

Answer me this: Why would people who lost then turn fire on those who gave them refuge while they plotted their next move?

It seems rather more likely to me that they would be a future security threat to Syria, and not a security threat to Europe, if we are to work on the basis of the (factually incorrect, mind you) assumption that basically everyone who left the warzone was a combattant on the losing side.

(FYI – in a war zone, young men are target #1. For example, you assume they are all fighters. Fighters in war zones will make the same assumption. So … if you’re a young male and don’t support any side, and also don’t want to get dead, the only option is to leave. Maybe you could refine your theory a bit – along the lines of “maybe a couple/few people are like that” and not “I know what they are all like on the basis of whatever daily stormer told me”.)

23 Sam Haysom December 27, 2016 at 8:38 pm

Are you at all familiar with the history of the PLO in Jordan. Most likely not it would help if you were if you are going to try and make this argument. Violent people do violent things.

24 Troll me December 28, 2016 at 8:39 pm

Don’t forget what the “L” means there.

It turns out that some people are not allowed to fight for their freedom. It would be better if peaceful means could be useful in working towards their ability to be independent and represent themselves, a fight being fought among Arabs in Palestine since long before the 1947 creation of the state of Israel in accordance with the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

(P.S. – when I express a preference for peaceful methods, this is not the same as expressing a preference for violent methods. So please do not try to twist my words to say that they condone violent as opposed to peaceful strategies on the part of those living under a foreign military occupation with colonist intentions.)

25 Charles Martel December 27, 2016 at 11:10 pm

If more them adopt self immolation as their ONLY way of protest, I am sure they will improve their level of popularity to the level of Vietnamese boat people.

26 Sam Haysom December 27, 2016 at 2:15 pm

Understandably some of these refugees were raised in nations that don’t include Israel on the map, but surely their maps include the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia. One struggles to comprehend why they don’t head to those prosperous nations who share their wonderful culture and impeccable religious sensibilities. The horror the horror.

27 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 7:38 pm

It’s really hard to understand why people who flee war do not go to other places where there is war.

Also, my understanding is that Wahabbist Arabs are not tending to welcome the types of moderates who would prefer to go to Europe.

Also, it strikes me as possible that these filthy parasites might be attracted by the opportunity to work for a living. (Presumably a temporary place to stay doesn’t hurt.)

Also, don’t forget, most of the people who have fled war are presently in substandard conditions in refugee camps, and are not enjoying the opportunities that come paired with the German welfare state, for example.

28 Tarrou December 27, 2016 at 7:53 pm

Let me ask you, do you think refugees would be going to europe if there were no available social welfare programs there?

Maybe someone could test the proposition. Let in an unlimited number of refugees, but stipulate they don’t get a dime of taxpayer money, ever. How many do you think would take that offer?

29 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 8:33 pm

Would they be allowed to work?

I think most would much rather legal access to work than a handout.

30 Sam Haysom December 27, 2016 at 7:59 pm

Which wars are going on in the gulf states and Saudi Arabia? What are you talking about? These are the most peaceful places in the Middle East.

31 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 8:32 pm

“places where there is war” – but that, I refer to the locations in the region where there is war.

“Wahabbist Arabs” – by that, I refer to the locations in the region where there are lots of Wahabbist Arabs, generally of the sort that do not welcome moderates into their countries.

I did not refer to the Gulf States, which are neither “places where there is war” or “Wahhabist Arabs” (maybe not that many).

Gulf States are extremely small places, and also, logistically, very expensive and not well set up for any such thing as hosting a large number of refugees.

I dunno, all sounds like a nice idea. But personally, the fact that the Saudis fail to do something, in my books anyways, does not count as a good reason to not bother. You know, they don’t let women drive there, and people get body parts chopped off for stealing stuff. It’s really not who I compare myself to, and I don’t anyone in the West should either.

32 Sam Haysom December 27, 2016 at 8:41 pm

Nathan I’m not really interested in who you would compare yourself to because again you aren’t actually going to face any of the consequences of your sentimentality. The idea that refugees are the responsibility of the first country they enter is a hallmark of international law. If the nations of the Middle East won’t take the refugees then they need to be made to take them.

33 Troll me December 28, 2016 at 8:42 pm

“The idea that refugees are the responsibility of the first country they enter is a hallmark of international law”

Absolutely false.

International law REQUIRES the first country to CONSIDER their application for refuge. It does not place any responsibility on that first country beyond CONSIDERING an application, and does not in any way restrict second, third or fourth countries from ultimately accepting a claim of asylum or refugee status.

What this means for second, third or fourth countries is that there is no obligation to EVEN CONSIDER the application, which allows them to turn away at the border or immediately deport with zero due process. The first country is required to have some process before rejection is possible.

34 Thanatos Savehn December 27, 2016 at 3:10 pm

It’s all about the incentives. Merkel chums the waters with promises of asylum grants and then claims to be shocked at what happens next. The Australians disincentivize illegal immigration with a promise of an unpleasant stay on a forlorn island. This is another seen/unseen problem – by seeking to avoid a smaller tragedy Germany creates a larger one whereas Australia, seeking to prevent a larger tragedy, causes a smaller one.

35 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 7:39 pm

What’s the large tragedy related to Germany?

36 Tarrou December 27, 2016 at 7:56 pm

Cologne, Berlin, Hanover, Wurzburg, Berlin again, Ansbach.'s_Eve_sexual_assaults_in_Germany

37 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 8:49 pm

The first of those was almost assuredly a sham. (1000 claims of assault OUTDOORS IN PUBLIC PLACES in the era of ubiquitous camera phones and expansive surveillance coverage – BUT NO EVIDENCE, which could easily have been obtained if it were real?)

The sum of the others total to a few percent of all lethal dangers top public security in the entire year. Like, that’s too much, so I’m sure any constructive ideas on the matter which are not likely to inflame people would be quite welcome. But in the grand scheme of things, which includes 400,000 dead in the Syrian war alone, I do not think it is reasonable to consider those criminal and lethal events as being a “large tragedy” on the national scale.

Question: Do you care that probably more people died in the war in Syria last week alone than the sum of all homicides (by any means whatsoever) in the entire year of 2016 in Germany?

Perspective is needed. Also needed is a relevant point of comparison.

38 The Anti-Gnostic December 28, 2016 at 1:00 pm

The point of comparison is a high-trust society that formerly did not worry about surveillance cameras, police in full tactical gear guarding Christmas markets, and held late-night festivals where women mingled freely in the town square.

39 Troll me December 28, 2016 at 8:45 pm

I dunno, even without video cameras (a good thing, I think), I’d have thought that among 1000 reported assaults, at least one or two, or maybe a few dozen, onlookers would have gotten a photo or video clip or something to be produced as evidence. Yet, the single case to proceed to court was thrown out precisely due to lack of evidence.

I’m not the kind of guy to suggest that women tend to make false cries about these things. But something doesn’t add up. (Incidentally, the people most concerned about the issue – when you turn the subject to on campus rape or sexual assaults occurring in places where few/no brown people can be blamed, the subject rapidly turns to the possibility of women lying, exaggerating, etc. These are very often the very same people, no?)

40 Joël December 27, 2016 at 8:36 pm

And more importantly, the 5000 dead people between Libya and Sicilia this year.

41 Thanatos Savehn December 27, 2016 at 11:15 pm

At a minimum it’s the 5,000+ dead cited in the article. Or is that not a large number in the sort of ledger that you keep?

42 Anon December 27, 2016 at 3:13 pm

There are 5000 less barbarians in Europe and perhaps many more deterred from attempting the journey. I think that’s reason to celebrate. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year fellow commenters!

43 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 7:42 pm

It makes me feel fuzzy happy to think of more unarmed people being trapped in a war zone when they could instead be allowed to pass on elsewhere.

44 Tarrou December 27, 2016 at 8:00 pm

You realize that no one travels directly from Syria to Europe, right? To get to Europe, a Syrian refugee cannot but pass through at least one and usually more perfectly peaceful countries. Countries which, in addition to being peaceful, speak the same or similar language, and have similar cultures and religious traditions. They are refugees until they clear the danger zone. After that they are economic migrants.

45 Sam Haysom December 27, 2016 at 8:28 pm

I honestly don’t think Nathan could locate Syria on the map.

46 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 8:50 pm

Yeah, I think I figured that out in the first week of major hostilities (2013), when deciding for the first time in my life to heed advice to avoid a land route and catch a flight instead.

47 Ricardo December 28, 2016 at 3:38 am

“Countries which, in addition to being peaceful, speak the same or similar language”

Turkish and Arabic don’t even belong to the same language family.

48 Tarrou December 28, 2016 at 9:36 am

And your point would be? Arabic is a minority language in Turkey, in addition to being the only language you can read the Koran in. The percentage of Turks who can speak arabic is certainly much higher than the percentage of Italians who speak it, much less Germans or Swedes.

49 Harun December 27, 2016 at 8:45 pm

A lot of the people arriving by sea aren’t really from war torn countries. I read an account of an African I think from Senegal who paid tens of thousands of Euros to get to Italy, only to go on the dole and wander around Rome.

OK, maybe he thought there would be more gold at the end of the rainbow, or maybe, over time, he’ll make his investment back, but I have to wonder if he’d opened a tire repair shop, or bought a farm in Senegal it would have been a better investment.

50 Troll me December 28, 2016 at 8:47 pm

Sounds pretty anecdotal. No doubt it happens, but it’s not clear that this is an accurate representation of the general picture.

51 stephan December 27, 2016 at 3:28 pm

It’s the reverse colonization (the only politically correct one). Europe is being colonized by Africa and the Middle East. They will expect tribute (welfare) from the natives

52 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Market access to Africa is so worth it for Europe that it is pre-committing to annual cash payments to make up for lost customs revenues.

In time, some of those Africans will go back with different connections and skills, and contribute more competitively to European supply chains and the quality/price value of consumer and intermediate goods.

So … maybe a few percent more over the next couple/few decades in relative weights? Is anyone predicting any higher than that?

53 Sam Haysom December 27, 2016 at 8:34 pm

Do you know anything about the employment prospects of African immigrants into Europe. First off they don’t return home some let’s dispsense with that canard. Secondly to the extent they aren’t on welfare they are for the most part working menial service jobs. If your case requires egregious lies to sound convincing why don’t you just develop a new case. There is no case to be made for large scale African immigration into Europe from the perspective of the Europeans. None.

The fact that InBev wants to sell Africans malt beer applies in what way to opening the flood gates to immigration.

54 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 8:57 pm

“First off they don’t return home some let’s dispsense with that canard”

They often return for trade-related reasons. And then go back. Most people going between Europe and Africa do so legally.

Also, I’m not making a case for large scale immigration. I’m saying that present levels of immigration are not that high by basically any standard.

ANYWAYS, I was talking about European openness to trade, not immigration. The point was … something or other that I guess someone disagrees with and I completely forget now.

55 yo December 28, 2016 at 3:06 am

“Menial service jobs” in other words is “they wipe the asses of their seniors, or do the clean up in their nuclear power stations, because no local wants to do it”. The masses on welfare? That’s France. Germany always managed to put minorities to work, be it the Italians in the 60s, the Turks in the 70s and 80s, the Russians+Balkanese in the 90s…

56 Cold Truth December 27, 2016 at 3:46 pm

Watch the crocodile tears flow. If EU politicians actually gave a damn about “migrant deaths” they could prevent nearly all of them by refusing settlement and subsidies to uninvited migrants. No incentives, no migration/invasion, no deaths at sea!

EU navies are currently picking up migrants in African coastal waters and transporting them free of charge to Europe, a policy of astounding foolishness. For a brief transition period, those same navies should pick up migrants near Africa and transport them right back to Africa, encouraging them to disembark there by pepper-spraying any who balk, tasing any who struggle, and shooting any who resist with violence. Word would travel swiftly back along the migrant pipeline and the flow would cease within weeks.

57 MatteoZ December 27, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Right, but currently in Europe there is an alliance between catholic Church and left with a lot of fuss about solidarity.

58 Sam Haysom December 27, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Yes the Catholic Church is really driving this initiative. As a moderate I’m deeply troubled by this reckless Pope as well but come on the Catholic Church exercises almost no influence in European politics.

59 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 7:55 pm

If we never let people flee war by boxing them in, fewer of them would die in the process of leaving the war.

Imagine if all the civilians were permitted to leave Mosul one day. But a few dozen somehow died in the process. Would you conclude that evil had been done by allowing them to flee Mosul, or that it would have been better to leave them for months of starvation, daily shelling, or perhaps worse – none of which deaths would be reflected as among “those who were leaving the war zone”.

60 Sam Haysom December 27, 2016 at 8:02 pm

I would be delighted if early single refugee was directed to your studio apartment, but since that’s not going to happen I think it’s best they remain in the Middle East. If the middle eastern countries are made to understand that they can’t just foist there humanitarian disasters on the West they might start to figures out how to build decent societies. Kind of like how if you didn’t have MR to spew your nonsense over you might get over your agoraphobia and meet someone.

61 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 8:59 pm

I studied the tragedy of the commons, and so mostly think people like you are idiots when you say stuff like that.

I do, however, support the government representing the large share of citizens who would like a small allocations of public resources to assuage constraints on finding a place for refugees in a manner consistent with a preference for humane rather than inhumane ways of thinking and doing.

62 Cliff December 28, 2016 at 1:50 am

Isn’t that the whole point? People who like to feel like they are humane are causing a bunch of people to drown?

I’m pretty unclear on what the problem is with setting up UN refugee camps in the neighboring countries as usual? If your point is that you are an open borders proponent and this is as good excuse as any to get as many people in as you can then I think your “large share of citizens” will be much less than a majority.

63 Troll me December 28, 2016 at 9:09 pm

The neighbouring countries already have millions of refugees each.

64 Albert December 27, 2016 at 6:35 pm

These attempts at eliciting crocodile tears from the weak minded always remind me of the lyrics of a song by a 1970’s disco band called Andrea True Connection…

65 Pedro Cerrano December 27, 2016 at 6:52 pm

Ryszard Kapuściński was writing articles about this two decades ago.

66 peri December 27, 2016 at 7:25 pm

I wonder to what extent they are aware of the danger of the crossing.

67 peri December 28, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Some interesting interviews here:

A Syrian woman said her family had agreed with the smuggler that the boat would be limited to 200. In the end 500 were loaded on. Maybe having come so far, though, it’s like when too many get on the elevator, and you’re in the back so you can’t easily get off, and anyway, you were there first …

Is there a market for safer boats with fewer people, but we don’t hear about those because they make it?

A Senegalese immigrant:

“He says he may move on to Germany or the UK in the future.

‘I need somewhere where my mind can be free,’ he adds.”

Maybe advertising works.

68 Harun December 27, 2016 at 8:46 pm

Bill Clinton refused the Haitian boat people to deter more from coming.

69 Jermaine December 28, 2016 at 2:18 am

…which is clearly common sense. Australia has a similar policy with similar results.

70 Edward December 30, 2016 at 1:20 am

We need to sink all the smuggling boats when they are in the harbor in Libya.

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