News Hero of our Times
posted by November 9 at 10:53 AMon
I finally have a chance to post about this piece of news from West Africa:
Dozens of migrants trying to reach Europe spent three weeks at sea off West Africa’s coast and threw nearly 50 bodies overboard after their vessel lost power and supplies dwindled, officials said Tuesday.
…The boat, which set out from Senegal with as many as 150 people and apparently traveled hundreds of miles, was found Tuesday by a Mauritanian patrol boat, a Spanish Civil Guard official said. It was one of the highest death tolls this year among Africans trying to escape poverty and reach Europe’s southern gateway. When the vessel was found, there were 100 people aboard and two dead bodies, the official said under department rules barring her name from being published. In Mauritania, officials agreed that there were 98 survivors, but otherwise offered slightly different numbers.
Master of the human universe:
When you risk the life that you have in one place for a life that might be better elsewhere, you are taking the same risk that makes a man a master in the ground battle for recognition—for Kojeve this basic confrontation between the master and the slave is the motor of history and progress. What brings the immigrant out of the slavery of a place to the position of a master is this: he/she breaks with the given, the being-in-itself, and determines that being human is much more important than simply being, simply existing. Like the master, the immigrant wants being-for-itself, and he/she will risk their given life to be-for-itself. Life is not for them the complete picture; life is not always worth living. A life of happiness, of freedom from simply being—this is more important. Because the immigrant has this understanding, he/she is a higher human than rest who cling to dear life.
My greatest shame? I did not risk anything to get to America. Indeed, my parents had connections in the American Embassy in Botswana, and I flew to the States from Stockholm, after spending a blank month with a count who did nothing except bitch about how heavy the inheritance tax was in Sweden. Most shameful of all, the visit to Stockholm was a gift from my mother for graduating from high school, and I arrived in New York with the final shame of having my papers in order. My life has not been the life of a master, but the life a slave, a slave to life.