Above is my view for the next few days, a golf course in Palm Springs, California. Not that I’ll be playing on it. Just sitting in the sun, writing, and trying my best to put cold, snowy January out of my mind…before I return back East to cold snowy February.
About the only risk I have to contemplate at the moment is an errant golf ball. Not much of a chance of that.
That was until I read the Greek newspapers, and felt as if I’d been hit smack dab in my…well, uh…you pick the spot.
No, it wasn’t the massive general strike on Thursday that brought Greece to a screeching halt, not the farmers vowing to keep the nation’s main highways blocked with their tractors, not the EU representatives insisting Greece’s government reduce its pension obligations if it wants the third round of billions in promised bailout funds, and not even the masses of demonstrators vowing to bring down the government if those reforms are enacted.
All of that is expected, old-hat activity. What yanked me back to reality was a special report by Yiannis Papadopoulos in Greece’s paper of record, Kathimerini, with a title that tells it all: “Fake life vests soak up chances of survival for shipwrecked refugees.”
Yes, dear readers, while refugees keep coming in an undiminished flow, while Europeans try coming up with ways of wresting away from them whatever valuables the human traffickers, thieves, and corrupt officials along the way did not take, they now fall prey to those who sell them certain death in the form of life jackets made of sponge-like water absorbent or non-buoyant materials.
It is as callous an act of human greed and indifference as I can imagine, and those who create these death jackets—especially in children’s sizes—deserve a truly special circle in hell. But what of the Turkish authorities who permit their manufacture and sale to rage on? It is not as if the places of manufacture and sale aren’t known; the reporter found them without difficulty.
And if some are caught, they face only a fine. Even though the manufacturer bears more guilt than the sea for each death, for it is their death vests that ultimately drag each trusting, unsuspecting victim to the bottom.
They should be tried for murder.
The world should be outraged and demanding this death trade be stopped. But no one does. No one cares. We’re all complicit.
Damn, am I angry.