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39 migrants found dead in Essex, England

by admin


Yesterday morning, 39 migrants, now revealed to be Chinese nationals, were discovered dead in a transport container in Essex, England. Politicians were not slow to give their opinions about who was responsible, even though it is on ongoing murder investigation. I have a short piece on this case at the London Review of Books blog.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1Alan White 10.24.19 at 2:23 pm

This was a very thoughtful big-picture commentary on the ongoing tragedies associated with rampant nationalism. Thank you.

2Cervantes 10.24.19 at 3:15 pm

The Guardian has a similar response.

“The discovery of 39 people dead in the back of a lorry in Essex has renewed focus on the risks taken by undocumented migrants to travel to the UK to seek safety and shelter.

A lack of safe and legal routes into the UK is in part driving a dependence on life-threatening methods including squeezing into the back of refrigerated lorries or riding in vulnerable dinghies across wild seas.

People fleeing the threat of torture, rape or death cannot claim asylum in the UK without physically reaching Britain, aside from a few limited programmes including the Syrian refugee resettlement programme. Family reunion routes – that is, those granted refugee status in the UK being able to apply to bring relatives to join them – have been drastically curtailed.”

3steven t johnson 10.24.19 at 3:26 pm

There is a recent series on Netflix, a procedural that focuses on the interrogation of the accused in the police station. Although the episodes all use the same set, some are set in Spain, France, Germany and the UK. One of the UK stories was about the police trying to persuade a driver to tell them where he abandoned a truck full of immigrants, lest they freeze to death.

4Anonymous 10.24.19 at 6:18 pm

Thank you.

5Anarcissie 10.24.19 at 9:17 pm

Thanks for the article. I forwarded URLs for both to a friend who is now beginning to do activism along the border in the US Southwest to counter, resist, or mitigate the evils being visited upon immigrants and refugees there. It is dangerous work and he needs all the information he can get. One can learn further by doing searches on the Net for the people and organizations mentioned.

I sometimes tell people that national borders are a species of violence; some get it, some don’t.

6Matt 10.25.19 at 2:11 am

It’s a nicely written piece, Chris. I especially like the discussion of how the idea of “people smuggling” and trafficking have been illegitimately merged in both official and popular discourse, and the first also pushed beyond any reasonable bounds. For my own purposes, I’d be glad to see these terms eliminated, replaced in all cases by more careful and specific descriptions of different sorts of acts, both in law and in general discourse. The only hesitation I have comes from having spoken recently with some refugee rights activists from Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia at a recent workshop in Melbourne. None of these countries are parties to the refugee convention, but the people I spoke with said that there is very little public sympathy for “refugees” in those states, and even often contempt, but that there is a good deal of sympathy for people who have been “trafficked” or who are “victims” of “people smugglers”. I wasn’t completely sure that I understood the reasoning (of the populations, not the activists), but the people I spoke with were worried about trying to change these terms, for fear of losing one of the few keys that they have.

7eg 10.25.19 at 2:44 am

The behaviour of countries like this towards migrants reveals that they are governed not with an eye to the welfare of people, but property.

I don’t know whether or not there is a technical term for this sort of governance, but it is repellent.


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