DAY 2.4. What’s going on?

September 17th, 2019 § 0 comments

My faithful readers (supposing them to exist) may well be wondering why I have strayed so far from my familiar themes; search and rescue, detention, appeals in the High Court and what not. Why spend so long on my lungs and liver when (for example), even as I write, a case is being prepared by my colleagues Juan Branco and Omer Shatz – it was presented on June 3rd – to arraign the European Union before the International Criminal Court on the grounds that they had failed to protect thousands of refugees in the care of MSF from drowning, preferring to pass them on to the Libyan coastguard, which they mendaciously make out to be in a ‘safe country’.

I may have. to read (or, following my usual habits, skip through) the 245-page document which Branco and Shatz have prepared supporting their case before I can present you with my balanced assessment. Following prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s record of failing to prosecute war criminals etc at the ICC (and I’m not saying that I’d do better if you gave me a ticket to Kinshasa), I have little confidence that the EU will end up in the dock in this case. (who would be in the dock? The EU isn’t a person, much as some of us would lie to see it bound and manacled in jail.) She (Bensouda, forgive the digression) was, I’m informed, chosen because the African states had noticed that all prosecutions at the ICC were of Africans and the notorious European criminals in e.g. Afghanistan (Mike Pompeo, for example) had been left untouched. How will she cope on this one? I quote:

“[S]erious and widespread crimes allegedly committed against migrants attempting to transit through Libya…I am deeply alarmed by reports that thousands of vulnerable migrants, including women and children, are being held in detention centres across Libya in often inhumane conditions. Crimes, including killings, rapes and torture, are alleged to be commonplace… I am similarly dismayed by credible accounts that Libya has become a marketplace for the trafficking of human beings… The situation is both dire and unacceptable… my Office is carefully examining… opening an investigation into migrant-related crimes in Libya… We must act…”

Fatou Bensouda, ICC Prosecutor, in a statement to the UNSC, 9 May 201

Indeed. Let’s move on to poetry.

Poem Refugee Ship by Lorna Dee Cervantes

Lorna Dee Cervantes

Like wet cornstarch, I slide

past my grandmother’s eyes. Bible

at her side, she removes her glasses.

The pudding thickens.

Mama raised me without language.

I’m orphaned from my Spanish name.

The words are foreign, stumbling

on my tongue. I see in the mirror

my reflection: bronzed skin, black hair.

I feel I am a captive

aboard the refugee ship.

The ship that will never dock.

El barco que nunca atraca.


Given that it’s Hildegarde of Bingen’s feast day, she deserves a bit of poetry and music, as an artist of diverse talents. So here‘s a bit of her music:


Leave a Reply

What's this?

You are currently reading DAY 2.4. What’s going on? at Luke Hodgkin.