Looking at the TV pictures of migrants sleeping rough in Izmir [Turkey] while they wait to cross to Greece and of others being forced to endure overcrowded and insanitary conditions on Kos, what struck me was the contrast with the natural beauty of their surroundings. Then, when I heard a spokesperson from Kos asking not for funds but for international organisational help with the situation, I understood that request but reflected that it was sad that officials and forces of order seemed to be in need of instruction on how to treat people with simple humanity.
While the international media focus this week has shifted from Calais to Kos, there has been little reporting outside Italy of the latest migrant tragedy in the Mediterranean, in which over 50 people are believed to have died. A migrant dinghy in difficulty was spotted by an Italian naval helicopter 40 miles off Libya on Tuesday afternoon. The helicopter crew dropped life rafts and alerted other ships in the area. The naval vessel Fenice, which already had on board 119 migrants who had been saved earlier, was first on the scene and saved 52 people but the survivors told the crew that many more were missing.
This Ferragosto I'll be thinking of migrants, their rescuers and all in peril on the sea, of people across the world who cannot enjoy the beauty of where they are because their basic human needs are not being met and of all who hope.