Beirut, Lebanese mother throws her dead son into the water escaping from the sea
A new drama in the odyssey of illegal immigration occurred this time not far from the Lebanese coast. Starting from mid-July, an escape route, by sea, towards a better life for migrants began. The initially shy phenomenon of smugglers and human traffickers took already place in Tripoli, the second capital of Lebanon, one of the poorest and most forgotten cities in the country.
On 7 September, about 50 Lebanese departed from the coasts of Al Miniyeh, which is about 10 km north of Tripoli, aboard a boat. They happily dream of a better future, just over 189 km of sea-crossing that separates them from Cyprus and Europe! Each passenger had to pay 1000 US dollars, an exorbitant sum for such a short ride, and for citizens of a country in crisis where the salary is 100 dollars a month.
The story of the journalist Pierre Belanian from the place is intriguing.During the crossing – the reporter wrotes – the smuggler loses his bearings. And they find themselves on the high seas somewhere between the Cypriot and Turkish coasts. They run out of fuel, and the passengers who had planned a short trip begin to suffer from hunger, sects, and dehydration due to the scorching sun and the sultry heat that hits the east coast of the Mediterranean.
Fourteen people die, including a child who died on 10 September. The mother, Zeinab Al Qak holds her body in her arms for two days. Then he decides to do the impossible: in front of the eyes of his 10-year-old daughter, who survived, she throws the body of his son into the sea collapsing in hysteria and crying fits.
After seven days of slow agony at sea, accompanied by the sky, sun, water, and stars for days, thirsty and hungry, the fugitives are rescued by the Unifil Navy; onboard, there are still 12 children, including the little sister of the child thrown into the sea. Taken to the devastated port of Beirut, they are all rushed to the hospital.
Among the survivors, there are people from Bebnine, in the Lebanese province of Akker, which borders to the north with neighboring Syria. These give information on the identity of two involved in the illegal trafficking network of human beings, also originally from Bebnine. They are Burhan Qatarib and his son-in-law Ahmad Safwan who have reached an agreement with the passengers wishing to escape from hunger in Lebanon, to die of hunger and thirst at sea.
Leaving without luggage, the organizers had promised to join them on the high seas and give them their things with the quantity of food and even milk for the children. But with the hull lost in the waters of the Mediterranean, the migrants never received anything. An arrest warrant has been issued against the two traffickers, but they are fugitives.
According to multiple sources, Turkey is behind this new source of illegal migration from Lebanon to Europe. On the other hand, yesterday morning the Lebanese coast guard recovered the body of another of the passengers from the sea, found near the coast of Saadiyat, south of Beirut, in the province of Chouf.
Among the survivors of this drama, Mohammad Sefian Mohammad also lost his son who died of thirst and hunger despite his father had made him drink seawater in a desperate attempt to save him. Outgoing Lebanese Premier Hassan Diab has instructed Charbel Wehbe, the foreign minister of the outgoing government, to make contacts with the Cypriot authorities to coordinate joint action and counter this nascent phenomenon.The outgoing government has decided to help the families of the victims.
The concern is great because almost the entire Lebanese population aspires to emigrate, to flee Lebanon, where it has become impossible to live. The fourth collective immigration of the Lebanese in their history has begun. The first was that of the Maronites, after the massacres of 1880 (Drusus-Maronite war).
The second wave is at the beginning of the last century until 1920, when the country emptied itself – especially during the years of the famine caused by the Ottoman Turks – migrating to Brazil and the United States. The third immigration occurred during the years of the civil war (1975-1990). The fourth has just begun.
Lebanon is one of the few countries in the world, together with Armenia, Israel, Italy, and Spain, to have a diaspora abroad that exceeds the number of compatriots in their homeland. In Lebanon, carrying out a population census is a taboo, to avoid jeopardizing the subtle balances between the different ethnic-religious communities. In any case, according to the latest data, there are 4 million inhabitants in Lebanon, but there are over 7 million Lebanese or people of Lebanese origin, scattered around the world