Last month Greece witnessed a massive shipwreck off the coast of Pylos, where 120 people were found dead and over 500 people missing. The more than 500 people who disappeared at sea—including all of the women and children on board—will probably never be found. Increasingly, refugees and migrants are forced to choose these dangerous routes as European Union policies intensify, turning land and sea borders into impenetrable walls. Ships unfit for sea continue to fill with hundreds of adults and children, one on top of the other, praying and hoping to reach their destination. If they do make it, because unfortunately it cannot be taken for granted, another struggle for survival begins. Throughout this ‘journey,’ human lives are lost in such a way that most of the time—especially on the Mediterranean routes—they are never found. Their bodies disappear to the bottom of the seas, kilometres below the surface. If only we could offer decent conditions even in their death, and that each unique existence on board could be recognized and honoured instead of just an unknown number in a cemetery. It should be a fundamental right of every colour, race, and class to be buried with dignity. Sadly, we as a global community are unable to do even this basic service in many circumstances, and these souls simply remain as numbers on data lists until someone seeks them out to file their name.
We pray and hope for safer routes for people on the move. Each one of these people is an important part of our human existence, in life and death, without discrimination.