Dead in the oceans off Europe, itself spiritually moribund



(The statistics are from the International Organization for Migration).

As  of  December 18, 2015 for that year

3695 drowned in the Mediterranean


In 2016 as of February 18, 2016

409 drowned in the Mediterranean

As of May 30, 2016

204,311 arrivals by sea.

2443 missing or dead in the Mediterranean. Babies and children among them. 

 As of June 7, 2016 

 2807 dead or missing in the Mediterranean

As of June 19, 2016,

 2859 dead or missing in the Mediterranean 

As of June 30, 2016,

2899 dead or missing in the Mediterranean of a total of 225, 095 who reached Europe this year. 

As of July 13, 2016,

2933 deaths in the Mediterranean of a total of 238,220 who have reached Europe.

As of August 16, 2016,

3151 deaths or missing in the Mediterranean of a total of 266,0428 who have reached Europe.

As of September 20, 2016

3213 dead or missing in the Mediterranean of a total of 298,474 who have reached Europe.




Lampedusa cross in British Museum

A cross made of a migrant boat by Francesco Tuccio, a carpenter living in Lampedusa, Italy.  This, the carpenter’s gift, was the last acquisition of the former director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, at the request of Jill Cook, a senior curator at the Museum.

Wood. 2015.


Refugee Camp, 1994, synthetic resin, pigment and lacquer on woven polyester fabric.  Sigmar Polke, 1941-2010. German.  On loan from Keith L. and Katherine Sachs to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016.



 You would think that everything would be done to save the lives of human beings.

You would think that serious steps would be put forward to analyze the reasons for this huge migration to the end of halting it.  Long term steps and short term steps.

But no.  Too hard.  Harder than going to war, going to Mars, going to the moon.

So much, then, for our Christian and rationalist traditions; our liberty, equality and fraternity for all.  Our do unto others. Our pursuit of happiness. Our Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

Only for some of us.  By accident of birth.

Saturated as we are with the symbols of Christianity and the concepts of the Enlightenment, they do not call us to action.

And our symbols are being reduced to ashes. Do cultures without enlivening symbols survive?

I don’t always agree with my favourite Norman philosophe, Michel Onfray, a man  who has spent 13 (2002-2015) years explaining the evolution of the Western tradition to anyone who wants and for free. However I agree with what he says here.

Civilizations, he says, do not outlast the corruption of their spiritual values.  A historical fact.

Nothing further to be done, he says, but gather up your friends and drink champagne:  our ship has begun to list and is unable to save either those drowning in front of us; or us when it comes time for our civilization to cede to some other.




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