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Shooting Africans is a sound security policy, Egypt says

September 16, 2009
Ethiopian Jew gets the business from Isreali security forces

Ethiopian Jew gets the business from Isreali security forces

In a so-called “flat” world where the free movement of peoples, capital, and goods have been the raison d’etre of market economies and democratic societies, where mobility and migration is bedrock of globalization, it is absurd to hear that you could be shot for crossing a border. But then again, maybe that makes sense if the person crossing is an African or that the place they are crossing into might not have enough milk and honey. Then, the starving dark people staggering through the desert with few posessions cause a security risk. Then, it is perfectly fine to shoot and kill 14 Africans since may who, pursuant to international law, were seeking refuge and asylum.

“Dealing with these migrants is for Egyptian national security and the safety of its forces and Egypt’s international commitment to fight smuggling,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said in a statement according to Bloomberg. (Also see here.)

Because of course, most of the smugglers are Sudanese, Ertiteans, and Somalians who jump through barbed wire above ground and not the Palestinians who use complex underground tunnels.

Joe Stark of the Human Rights Watch puts it pretty well in that same Bloomberg story: “Egypt has every right to manage its borders, but using routine lethal force against unarmed migrants — and potential asylum-seekers — would be a serious violation of the right to life.”

Israel is an attractive option to live for a migrant fleeing political or economic persecution but the country has invalidated economic woe as justification for migrancy and have seince deported thousands of Africans and put pressure on Egypt to “to halt the flow of migrants,” presumably one bullet at a time. (

Despite this, Israel is ramping up once dormant activity on the Continent. with Isreali Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman week-long tour through a few countries which ended with, among other things, an accord with ECOWAS.

I will concede, however, that the security complaint might have a shred of something (I can’t call it truth). The Sinai is a volatile region and Islamist and Bedouin groups do use it as a refuge. It’s kind of like the Wild Wild Orient.

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