There has been a strong return in Algeria about waves of illegal immigration towards Europe, while the phenomenon has become attracting entire families, according to videos spread on social media.
Algerians link the strong return of the “death boats” to the current political situation, on the grounds that there is a state of frustration at the failure to realize the promises of change made by the authorities after the overthrow of former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Algerians pinned great hopes on the opportunity for change brought about by the popular movement, which forced Bouteflika to resign, and was behind the imprisonment of most of his aides, on charges related to corruption and waste of public money.
After Bouteflika’s departure.. “New Algeria” and indications of the continuation of the old regime
While Algerians consider that the regime in their country has changed with the departure of the former president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and most of those close to him, others believe that the same regime is running the country now, but with “new faces,” as opponents put it.
On Friday, the local newspaper An-Nahar said that 1,000 illegal immigrants arrived in Spain within 72 hours, citing a census prepared by the International Center for the Identification of Missing Migrants in Spain.
About three days ago, social media pages circulated the news of the loss of 50 illegal immigrants, after the motor of the rubber boat they were traveling in stopped.
The news sparked widespread resentment in Algeria, and most of the comments poured out her anger on the authorities.
Spanish media professionals and observers of the illegal immigration movement towards their country periodically publish huge numbers about the number of arrivals to the Spanish coast from Algeria.
The number of people wishing to immigrate illegally has increased dramatically this year compared to last year, according to social scientist Najah Mubarak.
The man says that behind the return of the phenomenon is a feeling of frustration resulting from the great hope that the youth attached to the popular movement, and the change it could have brought about at the social level.
According to the figures of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), 5,225 Algerians arrived via the Western Mediterranean and 865 via the Eastern Mediterranean during the first eight months of 2020, but their number this year is likely to be much higher, according to Mubarak.
The Algerian magazine “Kasbah Tribune” quoted Francisco José Clemente Martin, a member of the International Center for the Identification of Missing Migrants in Spain, as saying, “What is happening is crazy.”
On his Facebook page, Francisco periodically publishes figures on the number of migrants rescued, and the bodies being recovered off the Spanish coast.
The young Azzedine Mikari, from Algiers, believes that the “harga”, which is the description of illegal immigration circulating in Algeria and the Maghreb countries, “has become the only option for young people in Algeria.”
Testimonies of survivors of the “Boats of Death” towards Europe
The population of North African countries represents a large and growing proportion of migrants trying to reach Europe, via the Mediterranean, through illegal immigration.
In an interview with Al-Hurra website, Ezz El-Din, the 23-year-old, revealed that he has repeatedly thought about the “harga” experience, but he is afraid that the coast guard will stop him, and waste the money he collected for what he describes as a “lifetime project.”
Ezz El-Din was surprised by our question about why he feared “losing” his project and his money, more than he feared for his life, and replied with a laugh, “Am I alive in Algeria?”
“Like Ezz El-Din, there are many,” says a sociologist, Najah Mubarak, as immigration has become the “fashion of the times” to confront daily problems related mainly to unemployment, the lack of decent living opportunities, the high cost of living, and the deadlock in the horizon.
But he believes that these young people should arm themselves with the determination and will to face difficulties, as the generations that preceded them did, and not “flight forward” or what he describes as a “futile solution.”
The man refuses to hold the authorities responsible for the increase in the number of people wishing to immigrate illegally, pointing out that the real reason behind this lies in promoting it through social media.
Mubarak points out in the context that Algeria did not know this phenomenon even in the darkest days of the stage of terrorism during the nineties of the last century, so “political justifications for a social appearance should not be presented,” according to him.
However, Yassin Abdali, an activist in the popular movement, believes that the greatest responsibility belongs to the authorities, who missed the opportunity for change for the youth in their country.
In an interview with Al-Hurra, he says that young people are tired of postponing their dreams, whenever they approach them, in reference to the successive Algerian street revolutions since 1980.
Abdali, although he expressed his disagreement with the youth who want to leave illegally, believes that the “lies” of the authority, which, according to him, emerged from the regime’s recycling of itself, are the main reason behind the frustration, “not to mention the decline in the citizens’ purchasing power, the continuity of favoritism and marginalization.” .
On the other hand, Othmani Belkacem, a professor at the Faculty of Political Science in Algeria, believes that the problem of illegal immigration is not specific to Algeria, or the old or new regime, “it is a phenomenon that has social and cultural causes, and it must be addressed from the roots.”
In contact with the “Al-Hurra” website, the man asserts that the phenomenon has worsened a lot in recent months, and called for the need to urgently take care of young people who have become vulnerable to many temptations, which reach them via the Internet, which made them “quickly ride the boats of death that will not take them anywhere.”