Leaving him half dead: In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the robbers who beat up the man and left him half dead, remain unknown, unnamed. The person who allegedly dumped Lamin on the side of the road on Selmun road in Mellieħa like a bag of disposable waste has already been identified and will face justice.


The wheel of injustice: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Theologian who courageously stood up against Nazi oppression once said that “we are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself”. On Tuesday, practically, all policy makers and politicians joined in the chorus condemning this vile act and expressing solidarity with the victim. Sadly, not one word was said about the policies which push people to the brink. To mention just one example: In May, the Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement amended Malta’s approach on how people seeking asylum in Malta, or who sought asylum here and had their applications rejected, may or may not work. Asylum-seekers from a country deemed safe will experience forced unemployment for up to nine months before being allowed to work. Persons from such countries whose asylum applications are rejected will only be able to work in Malta under exceptional circumstances. A statement issued at the time by the Malta Refugee Council sounds today tragically prophetic: “Already vulnerable to labour exploitation, including wages far below the minimum wage, asylum-seekers and failed asylum-seekers will be pushed further into the dark as they will inevitably clutch at any opportunity to secure basics such as shelter, food and water, clothing, services and transport in order to survive.”[1]


Let us not fool ourselves: This young man from Gambia was not the first and sadly enough, won’t be the last person to suffer to face this fate. Exploitation is not a bug in a “profit-based economic model that does not hesitate to exploit, discard and even kill human beings”[2]. It is a feature.


Out of sight, out of mind: Thankfully, a large majority consider it unacceptable to dump an injured worker on the roadside. Furthermore, few would remain unmoved by the sight of someone by the roadside, visibly in distress, who calls for our help. However, as a country, we seem to be ‘ok’ with the fact that on numerous occasions, migrants have been left stranded for days in our Search and Rescue Area with the authorities providing little or no information about how/when and according to which criteria rescue missions are conducted. According to the International Organization for Migration, at least 1,146 people died attempting to reach Europe by sea in the first six months of 2021.


Moving on too quickly: More than six years ago, the world was shocked by the photo of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi lying face down, lifeless on a beach in Turkey. A few minutes into the journey to Greece, the dinghy carrying this Syrian family capsized. Alan, his older brother Ghalib and his mother Rihanna all drowned. Unfortunately, after the initial uproar, the world quickly moved on. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the majority move on. After all, we are all very busy and yesterday’s news is old news. But one person stops. Likewise, we need to stop and refuse to look the other way and hurry off. When we stop we will have the time to bend down and tend to the wounds of all victims of injustice. And when we stop, we will also have the time to reflect on whether we really want to continue embracing a throwaway culture in which some people end up being treated as disposable slaves.

Jesuit Refugee Service

Justice and Peace Commission

Migrants Commission

[1] https://maltarefugeecouncil.org.mt/A-new-policy-to-drive-people-into-poverty-and-marginalisation

[2] Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, 22.