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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

"We choose the people’s lives!": KKE on the horrific catastrophe in the Aegean


Undated handout image provided by Greece’s coastguard on June 14, 2023 of the boat


In a horrific catastrophe hundreds of people fleeing from Libya and other countries -- including many children -- are believed to have drowned when the massively overcrowded fishing vessel they were on capsized off the coast of Greece on Wednesday, June 14. While only 79 are officially confirmed dead, the boat is thought to have had 700-750 people on board and only just over 100 survivors have been found so far.


While the European Union and many European countries go to great lengths to prevent refugees and migrants fleeing conflict zones in North Africa and the Middle East from getting into Europe it is worth noting that in many instances these are the direct result of western and NATO intervention. In the case of Libya a very prosperous and stable country was reduced into chaos, violence and extreme poverty after the US and NATO intervened in 2011 to ensure the overthrow of the anti-imperialist government of Muammar Gaddafi. While the people in this case came from a number of countries, they were fleeing via the Libyan port of Tobruk.


The central Mediterranean has seen more than 20,000 deaths and disappearances of refugees and migrants since 2014 according to the UN, Al Jazeera reported.


After news of the deaths Dimitris Koutsoumbas, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), went to the city of Kalamata where the survivors have been where he made the following statement:


Unfortunately, this is truly an unspeakable tragedy. The new fatal shipwreck off Pylos, southern Greece, which claimed the lives of dozens of people while, from what we have been informed, unfortunately hundreds are missing, has been added today to all these shipwrecks, to the dead fellow human beings we have been mourning for years in the Mediterranean, in the Aegean and, unfortunately, to a tragedy that has no end. We are here today, at a time when the procedures for changing the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum are being discussed and expedited, a fact that signals the definitive breach of the Geneva Convention on refugees, with dire consequences and an intensification of repression. For sure this will also whet the appetite of the criminal human trafficking networks that lead the uprooted people to these watery graves and end the lives of women and children.
We believe that the Greek people and youth, with the sensitivity and solidarity they have shown over the years, should not perceive this ongoing crime in the Aegean and the Mediterranean as ‘normality’. All of us must strengthen the struggle to put an end to the unjust imperialist wars, to the invasions and occupations of states, to the entire orgy of political persecution, poverty and hunger leading the people to flee their homes in order to find a better life and end up in the watery grave of the Mediterranean.
The slogan ‘It is either their profits or our lives’ is as timely as ever and we clearly choose the people’s lives.”

The Press Office of the Central Committee of the KKE also issued a statement:


The recent fatal sinking of a boat carrying uprooted people off Pylos is added to the horrific list of dozens of similar shipwrecks in the Mediterranean and the Aegean taking place every year. So far, the death toll has risen to dozens of people and keeps increasing. It is revealing that according to UNHCR figures, the number of dead and missing uprooted people in the Mediterranean, has already reached 1,037 halfway through 2023, while last year this number reached about 2,400!!!
At the same time, the EU staffs and bourgeois governments are in feverish negotiations on the New EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, as expressed in the last Council’s decision a few days ago in Luxembourg. The governments of the so-called first host countries, such as Greece and Italy, have a leading role in this. The new Pact being promoted marks the breach of the Geneva Convention on refugees and signals a further intensification of repression against the uprooted.
It is the policy of intensifying repression with Frontex, with visible and invisible fences, with confinement in modern-day concentration camps, with deportations and unacceptable lists of so-called safe countries that fuels the traffickers and pushes the uprooted to embark on those journeys of terror.
We call upon the Greek people to rise up against the ‘normality’ of daily news about dead and missing people in Evros and the Aegean. To strengthen their struggle against the country’s involvement in imperialist plans and the war, which are carried out for the profits of the imperialists and cause the death and uprooting of millions of people. To demand the effective protection of the uprooted and the abolition of the entire unjust framework of repression against them.
Faced with the dilemma ‘it is either their profits or our lives’, there is only one answer. We choose the people’s lives!"

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