Trailer Tomb Word on the Week 26th October 2019.
“I’m sorry Mum. My journey abroad hasn’t succeeded. Mum, I love you so much! I’m dying because I can’t breathe . . . I’m from Nghèn, Can Loc, Hà Tinh, Vietnam . . . I am sorry, Mum.” So translates the mobile phone message which came out of the refrigerated container trailer where 39 Vietnamese/Chinese perished this week.
They had reached their goal of getting to the UK but sadly none were able to walk in the land of their dreams. It seems that they came from Vietnam but were flown out of the Provence of Fujian in China. The traffickers operate there in gangs, the best known being the Snakeheads. They are reputed to traffic 100,000 people annually.
This is a lucrative trade. The family of Pham Thi Tralky, age 26, claim to have paid £30,000 for her passage which was by air into Europe via Moscow. Normally 10% is paid initially with the balance being collected from the family upon evidence of arrival at the planned destination. It appears that in this case the monies were paid in full up front.
There is a reluctance among relatives and friends of smuggled emigrants to talk for fear of reprisals by Snakehead thugs who did not want their methods exposed or of the dire conditions suffered by their customers en route revealed. This trailer, we know from its GPS, went on a circuitous route through France and Belgium embarking on the ferry at Zeebrugee and disembarking in the UK at Purfleet in the Thames estuary.
As expected the trail to the UK organisers is muddied. At first sight it seems that Irish people were behind it. The police have made five arrests including the young driver of the cab who has been accused of murder. As usual those who mastermind these operations are well concealed. They generate a climate of fear around themselves which makes police work difficult as there are few informers.
Our Ireland of the Welcomes has lost some of its attraction. On an international level yesterday, our four Fine Gael MEP’s voted an increase in hazard for people crossing the Mediterranean by rejecting future search and rescue operations. They won by two votes. While on a local level Ballinamore has decided against having asylum seekers to stay but 140km away in Tipperary, Borrisokane has agreed to take them!
We live in a chronically divided world. The haves versus the have nots. Fortress Europe! Like many of us in a crisis we have forgotten “The Golden Rule” – “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (St Matthew Chapter 7 verse 12).
When people get an unpalatable answer, like one requiring a higher degree of love, instead of acting on it they try to get round it like the lawyer who questioned Jesus; “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” (St Matthew Chapter 22 verses 36-40). We, like the lawyer, need the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to radically transform our cold hearts to match the challenges of this age.