Quantcast

«

»

Jun 23 2014

Human beings seeking a better life

That’s what I see in this boatload of immigrants trying to reach Italy.

Italian navy rescue asylum seekers

There have been several mass drownings recently, and the Italian navy is trying to rescue people. It’s not clear from the article what they do with them — are they granted asylum in Italy? Or sent back? Or parked in a refugee camp?

Or possibly worse. Although it can’t be worse than what the US has been doing. Mass graves of migrants have been found in Texas.

Unidentified migrants who died entering the United States were buried in mass graves in a South Texas cemetery, with remains found in trash bags, shopping bags, body bags, or no containers at all, researchers discovered.

In one burial, bones of three bodies were inside one body bag. In another instance, at least five people in body bags and smaller plastic bags were piled on top of each other, Baylor University anthropologist Lori Baker said. Skulls were found in biohazard bags — like the red plastic bags in receptacles at doctors’ offices — placed between coffins.

This is not a discovery of a tragedy in the distant past — these are bodies that have accumulated since 2005, and it’s the product of an ongoing practice by a funeral home that was paid to dispose of the bodies. Dispose of them like trash, apparently.

Human beings deserve better.

34 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    cervantes

    It looks like the Italians release them in Sicily, whence they go wherever. Presumably they try to get asylum somewhere.

  2. 2
    raven

    …it’s the product of an ongoing practice by a funeral home that was paid to dispose of the bodies. Dispose of them like trash, apparently.

    I’m guessing, but was this funeral home the lowest bidder?

    We might be seeing the Invisible Hand of the Free Market in action. Again. The IHOTFM optimizes profits* which has nothing to do with optimizing human well being, ethics, morality, national interests, or any other human values.

    *This is a claim made by Loonytarians. I know of no evidence that it is true. In fact, I’m guessing again, but given Gibbertarianism, the probability is, that it is completely wrong.

  3. 3
    Gregory in Seattle

    I wish I could be surprised that it was the presumably church-going Christians in county government and the funeral home who treated the human remains like yesterday’s garbage, while the godless secular humanists say, “Human beings deserve better.”

  4. 4
    PaulBC

    Is there any attempt to identify the remains before contracting out for the burial? Reading the article, I’m not even sure the US government has an accurate count of the bodies. While it may be hard to correlate DNA from the bodies with families outside the US, there is so much genetic evidence available, that I don’t see any excuse for not trying to identify them, and maintaining samples indefinitely until identified.

    Even if I expected no better than “enlightened self interest” from my own govenment, law enforcement should treat any human remains as a potential crime scene, because a location known for accidental deaths is an obvious place to conceal murder victims.

  5. 5
    David Marjanović

    It’s not clear from the article what they do with them — are they granted asylum in Italy?

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    One does not simply walk into Fortress Europe. Asylum requires 1) political recognition of the fact that there is, in fact, a war going on in your country, or that you, personally, are being persecuted there for something that isn’t a crime over here; 2) bureaucratic recognition that you really are from there and don’t just pretend, and 3) political recognition of the fact that you couldn’t have applied for asylum in another Safe Country® first. Grinding poverty in your country of origin is not a politically accepted reason for asylum.

    They’re parked in hopelessly overwhelmed camps and, if at all politically possible, sent back across the sea.

    It looks like the Italians release them in Sicily

    Lolno. That’s not what the article says.

    We might be seeing the Invisible Hand of the Free Market in action.

    That’s obvious.

  6. 6
    Thorne

    Human beings deserve better.

    Living human beings deserve better. These are bodies, left over material, empty receptacles. Why be upset about what happens to them? I’d be more concerned about fixing the situation that got them killed in the first place. I’ve never fully understood the need to treat a dead body as something sacred.

    Now, I can see keeping DNA samples, even treating them as potential crime victims. Notification of relatives (living human beings) may be possible in the future, and it might be a good idea to keep some kind of record of which bodies are buried where, in case those living relatives want to relocate the bodies. But I think it’s time to get over the idea that an empty shell is something worthy of respect.

  7. 7
    raven

    Why be upset about what happens to them?

    1. Because we (not you obviously) are decent human beings.

    But I think it’s time to get over the idea that an empty shell is something worthy of respect.

    You are speaking only for yourself, thank Cthulhu and who cares what you think.

    Funerals are for the living, not the dead. The dead are…dead, gone. They don’t care one bit. I treat my deceased cats far better than these anonymous dead migrants are being treated.

  8. 8
    Johnny Vector

    Thorne @6:

    As Shepherd Book once said, “How we treat our dead is part of what makes us different…than those did the slaughtering. “

  9. 9
    33lp

    I believe the story out of Texas is not so much about the unfortunate post-mortem fate of desperate immigrants as it is about Service Corporation International. SCI is the Wal-Mart of funereal services. Their business model is heavily invested in destroying the competition, which, considering the history of the industry in America, means buying up or otherwise putting out of business locally-owned, family-owned funeral homes that have been part of the community for decades. This Texas story is really another example of the corporate assault on Main Street.

    One doesn’t have to be an “illegal alien” to suffer at SCI’s hands. Google “Service Corporation International scandal” and the most common phrase result is “The latest scandal for Houston-based SCI …” Bodies in the wrong graves, bodies dumped in the forest out back, etc. Apparently there is money to be made fucking us over even after we’re dead.

    SCI’s issues aside, the headline “Mass Grave Discovered In Texas” makes perfect sense. Of course it was in Texas. Of course.

  10. 10
    laurentweppe

    are they granted asylum in Italy? Or sent back? Or parked in a refugee camp?

    Parked in a refugee camp first, then some are sent back, some are granted asylum, and some escape and become clandestine travelers.

    To give you a glance at how kafkaesque their fate is, here’s a “quick” summary of the byzantine rules regarding asylum in Europe:

    • According to the Dublin regulation, I quote:

    the EU Member State responsible to examine an application for asylum seekers seeking international protection under the Geneva Convention and the EU Qualification Directive, within the European Union

    Basically, it means that there is NO european institution with the authority to grant asylum to people: if an asylum seeker survives the trip to the tiny italian island of Lampedusa, it’s Italy’s job (and no one else) to decide whether the person will be granted asylum or no.

    • Now, the European Union being the richest region on the planet, you’d think that the 80-100.000 yearly clandestine immigrants could easily be assimilated in its economy, but here’s where it becomes really vicious:
    Contrary to the deceitful claims of the europhobic right, the Schengen agreement does not grant absolute freedom or circulation within the union: a refugee in a european member state is forbidden to stay more than 90 days in the other member states and cannot seek jobs here unless they are given a work permit, and getting one is itself a sisyphean task…

    • Which of course means that even if you’re granted asylum, you’re pretty much trapped in the country where you arrived, which means for most of the asylum seekers either Spain, Italy, or Greece, which bears alone the brunt of the arrivals: this single country which represents 2,2% of the Union’s population and less than 1,5% of its GDP gets 80% of the illegal immigrants seeking refuge in the Union, and according to the aforementioned fucked-up rules, People granted refugee status in the tiny, nearly bankrupted, jobless Greece are not allowed to try their luck in the rest of the Union.

    Of course, as you can imagine, the asylum seekers, often conned by human traffickers who misinform them about the legal realities of the Union, still try their lucks, become clandestine travelers trying to move northward and westward to find a better life, but if they’re caught in another country, said country authorities will have little remorse in shipping them back to the first Union country they arrived in.

  11. 11
    opposablethumbs

    It doesn’t matter because of the dead people themselves imo, as they no longer exists, but it matters a hell of a lot because of the living relatives and compatriots and fellow human beings in general who are harmed by this action.

    If someone (for example) were to dump the dead body of one of my parents in a cesspit I know it wouldn’t matter to them , being dead and all, but as a non-Vulcan person of course it would matter enormously to me.

    I don’t think you meant to imply otherwise (at least, I’m not sure!) but maybe you could have expressed yourself a bit more clearly? The empty shell itself doesn’t matter: the people who care about the empty shell do matter.

    And yes, of course energy and attention should go to changing the situation that killed them.

    Do US authorities still destroy water caches in the desert? Lots of border forces deliberately make sure more people will die; I’m sure that if they do they’re not the only killers.

  12. 12
    jrfdeux, mode d'emploi

    Thorne @6:

    I’ve never fully understood the need to treat a dead body as something sacred.

    We don’t do it for the dead, we do it for the living. It’s part of saying goodbye, of grieving and closing off a chapter of our lives. It’s our way to recognize that the deceased was someone who mattered to someone else, somewhere.

    Even if they don’t matter to you.

  13. 13
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Human beings deserve better.

    They first and foremost deserve NOT to die

    +++
    The EU policy regarding refugees is a crime against humanity. The poor countries at the border are those burdened with the full responsibility, while the rich ones in the centre get away with something that is called deportation chain: you can deport somebody as long as you deport them to a country where they are not in immediate danger. Whether that country will deport them ssomewhere else doesn’t matter

  14. 14
    Pen

    In theory, people who are rescued are held in what basically amounts to detention centers, where their applications for asylum are processed. If they are accepted then they are usually integrated into Italian society, if not they are deported. If their original boat trips go successfully of course, they become undocumented immigrants. The Italians (and Greeks) are becoming increasingly upset about bearing all the cost of this rush to Europe by themselves. Meanwhile, many countries in Europe may well be a better prospect than many countries in Africa but it’s hardly paradise over here. When you consider the likely fate and options of vulnerable native Europeans at this moment, with an increasing number dependent on their social capital and contacts for basics, you begin to understand that the future for arriving African immigrants, especially illegals, looks grim.

    PS – did you all read what Yemi had to say on the subject at YEMMYnisting?

  15. 15
    Pen

    Just to confirm one aspect of what laurentweppe said @10 – freedom of movement within the EU doesn’t apply to non-EU nationals. We have a Nigerian and an Indian married into our family. Both can enter and leave Britain freely, but both must apply for visas to travel to continental Europe, as tourists, let alone with work permits. One of our tourist visa applications was refused on a hard to overcome administrative technicality.

  16. 16
    Thorne

    @ raven #7

    Because we (not you obviously) are decent human beings.

    I see no evidence for the truth of either of those assumptions.

    You are speaking only for yourself, thank Cthulhu and who cares what you think.

    Apparently you do, or is their some other reason for your replying to my post?

    @ opposablethumbs #11

    it matters a hell of a lot because of the living relatives and compatriots

    Which I made note of in my second paragraph.

    If someone (for example) were to dump the dead body of one of my parents in a cesspit I know it wouldn’t matter to them , being dead and all, but as a non-Vulcan person of course it would matter enormously to me.

    I agree, and thought I’d made note of that, though perhaps not as clearly as I could have.

    My own parents died about 7 months apart and, per their wishes, they were cremated and their ashes blended into a single urn. In order to do that, the mortician had to run the ashes, containing some large chunks, through a kind of blender, several times. The idea of this happening did not disturb me in the least, since I already knew my parents were gone and these ashes were simply the remnants of their shells. (My sister would not have been so sanguine about it, so I never told her: so much for my humanity?) There was no funeral, no services, just an interment of the ashes in the local National Cemetery, again according to their wishes.

    I’m not insensitive to the feelings of the relatives of these victims. That’s why I mentioned DNA samples and proper records of the locations of the bodies. It’s obvious that the disposal of these bodies was badly mishandled and should be remedied as quickly as possible. But we should be far more concerned about preventing more deaths than with preserving the dignity of empty shells.

  17. 17
    Francisco Bacopa

    One of the reasons so many die in these Texas border crossings is that South Texas and the Gulf coast are MUCH hotter in the summer than the plateaus of central Mexico where most of these migrants are from. They really don’t understand what they are getting in to. The Mexican government used to publish a border survival guide comic book for migrants that had useful information about how much water to drink in the summer, and how to avoid frostbite in the mountains. I think they don’t publish it any more even though it was strictly about wilderness survival and contained nothing about avoiding La Migra.

  18. 18
    barbaz

    @ Thorne #16

    I see no evidence for the truth of either of those assumptions.

    In fact, it is still possible that you are, in general, a decent human and just incredibly stupid. In this case, let me explain: it is widely accepted that a human deserves a proper burial after death, for a variety of reasons. The way these bodies were disposed shows that they were not seen as humans.

  19. 19
    cervantes

    David @5: Err, that is too what the article says:

    “Two-thirds of the migrants, who come from dozens of countries and include Syrians fleeing civil war and Eritreans evading military conscription, leave Italy for other EU countries, the Interior Ministry said.

    “The ones who arrived yesterday left immediately. We saw them walking down state-road 115,” Firetto said in the television interview. ”

    That’s what it says. Nothing about camps.

  20. 20
    Thomathy, Such A 'Mo

    Thorne,

    It’s obvious that the disposal of these bodies was badly mishandled and should be remedied as quickly as possible.

    [Bolding mine] That statement belies this other statement of yours: I’m not insensitive to the feelings of the relatives of these victims.

    It is called a burial, not a disposal. And the exact problem, despite technical definitions of ‘burial’, is that these bodies were disposed of. That you do not see the difference is callous, at best. That you do not understand the significance of a person’s remains to other people is an ignorance that you can remedy. And no, dead people’s erstwhile bodies are not ‘empty receptacles’. You do not know what the word receptacle means to have used it in such a way. Perhaps they are empty husks or empty shells, but they are not ‘empty receptacles’, and the fact they are empty (of life) is kind of the point to their symbolism as the person they once were.

    It’s very nice for you that you followed your parent’s wishes and mourned in your own way, with what level of ceremony (and yes, what you did do amounts to ceremony) they wanted and you followed through with. Good for you! The people who cared about the people who once inhabited those bodies in that Texan cemetery weren’t given any option to mourn in their way; their loved ones were unceremoniously dumped into a mass grave, essentially anonymous.

    It was and is inhumane and an injustice and every effort to identify those remains and to return them to their loved ones for proper burial should be attempted.

    But we should be far more concerned about preventing more deaths than with preserving the dignity of empty shells.

    This is not even wrong.
    _____

    It’s entirely possible that there are criminal acts concealed in that mass grave. Every effort should be made to investigate that.
    _____

    The immigration policies for refugees of the EU and member nations are disgusting and, as Gilliel has said, are crimes against humanity.

  21. 21
    unclefrogy

    here is an “old song” that pretty much sums up what happens every where

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8lRf6fATWE

    uncle frogy

  22. 22
    Gregory in Seattle

    @Thorne #6, #16 – It is my stance as a humanist that humans have an intrinsic worth, regardless of their choices or circumstances. As such, every person deserves a baseline level of respect. It is also my stance that this worth, and this baseline of respect, continue past the termination of their lives. Yes, there are times when I have to repeat this to myself mantra style, but the effort is a central part of what I see as my own humanity.

  23. 23
    PaulBC

    Thorne #16

    My own parents died about 7 months apart and, per their wishes, they were cremated and their ashes blended into a single urn. In order to do that, the mortician had to run the ashes, containing some large chunks, through a kind of blender, several times. The idea of this happening did not disturb me in the least, since I already knew my parents were gone and these ashes were simply the remnants of their shells.

    It doesn’t disturb me either, but that’s because you said “per their wishes.” Hopefully, the undertaker also went through the details of the procedure and they agreed to all of it. If they had expressed the wish to be buried and this was done as a cost-saving measure, I would consider it a great injustice even if there were no survivors to be concerned either way.

  24. 24
    PaulBC

    And I’m sorry to hear about your parents. It’s unclear to me whether it was recent or not.

  25. 25
    Louis

    But we should be far more concerned about preventing more deaths than with preserving the dignity of empty shells.

    I’d agree with that sentiment….

    ….except for one tiny detail. These are not mutually exclusive concerns. This is not a zero sum game. So we can be concerned about preventing more deaths AND preserving the dignity, and more importantly demonstrating our appropriate respect for the lost lives, of the dead people whose empty shell remains we are disposing of. We can do both. Doing the latter doesn’t stop the former, nor vice versa.

    Louis

  26. 26
    madscientist

    It’s a global problem, and one which could be helped if humans weren’t such monkeys. The world is desperate for more equitable wealth distribution but few governments actually support such a thing.

    At least the Italian and French authorities act with compassion; on the other side of the planet Australia is committed to drowning such people and keeping it secret – in fact the mere promise of such brutality is s sure-fire election winner.

  27. 27
    laurentweppe

    At least the Italian and French authorities act with compassion

    Ahem, the asylum system is Europe is the clusterfuck I described above precisely because french authorities mule-headedly vetoed any and all attempts to establish a pan-european asylum agency.

  28. 28
    Thorne

    it is widely accepted that a human deserves a proper burial after death

    It is widely accepted that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell after death. Doesn’t make it true, though. I’m not a big fan of doing things because they’re traditional, or because they’re widely accepted.

    It is called a burial, not a disposal. And the exact problem, despite technical definitions of ‘burial’, is that these bodies were disposed of.

    Which is what I said!

    That you do not understand the significance of a person’s remains to other people is an ignorance that you can remedy.

    But I do understand the significance. I just think it’s more important to worry about the living, first.

    It was and is inhumane and an injustice and every effort to identify those remains and to return them to their loved ones for proper burial should be attempted.

    Which I have already agreed with. I just don’t think that it’s the FIRST priority.

    It is also my stance that this worth, and this baseline of respect, continue past the termination of their lives.

    I agree. I just don’t extend that to their bodies. Or even my own. I have already informed my family that, upon my death, they should let the doctors harvest whatever they can, cremate the rest, and drop the ashes into the nearest trashcan on the way home. I won’t give a damn, and there’s no reason they should, either.

    And I’m sorry to hear about your parents. It’s unclear to me whether it was recent or not.

    Thank you for your condolences. It’s been almost two years, and I did my grieving. I was not looking for sympathy, just trying to make my feelings about this a little clearer. Which I’ve apparently failed to do.

    I do understand the concern most of you are showing here. I do feel sorry for the relatives of these people. I do feel anger over the callous treatment of these remains. I just don’t think that the remains should be considered something sacred. Their memories will be sacred to those who loved them. As they should be.

  29. 29
    gondwanarama

    madscientist @26:
    Xenophobia is a humanity-wide affliction unfortunately, but as Australians, we are working very hard indeed to earn our place at the bottom of that particular cesspit.

  30. 30
    barbaz

    @Thorne #28,

    It is widely accepted that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell after death. Doesn’t make it true, though. I’m not a big fan of doing things because they’re traditional, or because they’re widely accepted.

    You are missing the point (again). It’s not important what you think. The people who are involved in dealing with immigrants in Texas share the belief that humans deserve a proper burial, then they deny immigrants such procedure, thus it is apparent that they don’t view them as humans. Which is the actual problem.

  31. 31
    jefrir

    Thorne

    Living human beings deserve better. These are bodies, left over material, empty receptacles. Why be upset about what happens to them?

    Because this treatment is symbolic of how they are viewed when alive. The people who treated the bodies like this would be horrified if it happened to their relatives. They do not regard it as an acceptable way to treat human beings; they just don’t see immigrants as human. It is a symptom of the same problem that led to the migrants dying in the first place, and that leads to them being horribly mistreated if they do make it to the USA alive.

  32. 32
    dianne

    Grinding poverty in your country of origin is not a politically accepted reason for asylum.

    Hmm…In that case, one of the countries that Fortress Europe dumped a good number of non-refugees running from grinding poverty on would like to have a discussion about FE taking them back.

  33. 33
    robster

    I see the border protection agency is following the catholic model of evidence disposal. The post suggests the bodies may have been adult. That would be a surprise.

  34. 34
    DanDare

    I’m “glad?” to discover Australia isn’t the only evil shit place in the world that treats refugees badly.

    I still find it incomprehensible that our ding bat government got enough real votes from the people who live around me to get into power.

Leave a Reply