The Maltese authorities have not bothered to deny it. NGOs have accused Malta of ordering merchant ships not to rescue migrants in distress, tossed by rough seas for several days, begging to be saved, and abandoned to their fate.
It is a new level of callousness when not only do we fail to go out to rescue people in distress, but we order others within reach to step away under pain of prosecution for human trafficking if they allow their conscience to have the better of them.
The fact that the Maltese authorities do not deny the charge means it is true. Or it means the authorities wish it were true and would like the public to believe it to be true.
I know it’s not fair and I realise it’s an unhelpful generalisation. But as I read about the controversy on restaurants and bars that remained open adding flashes of colour and bursts of sound unwelcome during the sombre Good Friday events, I can’t help thinking that too often we choose to lose sleep over the less important so we can happily ignore the far more serious.
It is true, we are not responsible for the callousness of Italy and Greece and other European countries who are just as responsible for the overflowing of these watery graves. But we are at least responsible for what we do. We are responsible for ordering ships within reach of drowning people to sail away and let them go down. If no one will, we must at least hold ourselves to account.