Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

The rescue ship Aquarius can be seen in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea in June 2017. The boat is jointly operated by the relief organizations SOS Méditerranée and Doctors Without Borders in order to safe migrants in distress at sea. (Photo: Lena Klimkeit/dpa via Getty Images)

At Least 120 Asylum-Seekers Feared Dead in Shipwreck Off Libyan Coast, After Authorities' Inaction

"These are the human consequences of policies which fail to uphold international law and the most basic of humanitarian imperatives."

Julia Conley

International rescue organizations on Friday condemned the inaction of European and Libyan authorities after at least 120 asylum-seekers were believed to have drowned off the coast of Libya.

The volunteer rescue hotline Alarm Phone alerted humanitarian group SOS Méditerranée on Tuesday, saying three boats were in distress in the Mediterranean Sea.

Alarm Phone said it had been in contact about the boat on Wednesday with European migration authorities, who told the group to speak with Libyan officials. 

"States abandon their responsibility to coordinate search and rescue operations, leaving private actors and civil society to fill the deadly void they leave behind."
—SOS Méditerranée

"The Libyan coastguard, however, refused to launch or coordinate a rescue operation, leaving the 130 people out in a rough sea for a whole night," it said.

After conducting an hourslong search, SOS Méditerranée found dozens of bodies in the sea near a capsized vessel, which they found northeast of Tripoli.

The deaths of the refugees, Alarm Phone wrote on social media, "prove the need for safe corridors of migration and the abolition of violent border guards and institutions."

"The people could have been rescued but all authorities knowingly left them to die at sea," Alarm Phone told The Guardian.

The deaths of the more than 120 asylum-seekers are just the latest losses in a crisis that has killed more than 350 people in the stretch of sea that the boat was traveling in this week, according to SOS Méditerranée.

Authorities have seized a number of NGO rescue boats in the past year, keeping them in Italian ports. Prosecutors have also opened investigations into the humanitarian groups. 

Nicholas Romaniuk, a search and rescue coordinator for SOS Méditerranée, told Al Jazeera in 2019 that European authorities have "complete disregard" for the lives of asylum-seekers traveling through the Mediterranean by way of Libya, often on vessels launched by human smugglers. 

"These boats are not made for sea. They are then loaded with men, women, and children and sent out at sea without any life-saving appliances," said Romaniuk. "If anything happens, it's almost certain these people will die. It hasn't seemed to matter to the European authorities. No matter how much I stress to them, and repeatedly, that there are people in danger and I can't get through to the Libyans, the answer has always been to keep trying them again."

Following the deaths of the refugees this week, SOS Méditerranée accused European and Libyan authorities of "deliberate inaction."

"States abandon their responsibility to coordinate search and rescue operations, leaving private actors and civil society to fill the deadly void they leave behind," the group said.

Eugenio Ambrosi, chief of staff of the International Organization for Migration, also condemned officials.

"These are the human consequences of policies which fail to uphold international law and the most basic of humanitarian imperatives," Ambrosi said.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New York Taxi Workers Stage Hunger Strike to Demand Medallion Debt Relief

"They are an essential industry here in New York City," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "and we need to make sure we're doing right by them."

Julia Conley ·

'It's Not Coming Out': Bernie Sanders Stands Firm on Medicare Expansion

"It's what the American people want and, after waiting over 50 years, what they are going to get."

Julia Conley ·

'When We Organize, We Win': Ocasio-Cortez Joins India Walton at Rally in Buffalo

The two progressives joined striking hospital workers on the picket line at Mercy Hospital after the early voting rally.

Julia Conley ·

Fatal Film Set Shooting Followed Outcry by Union Crew Members Over Safety Protocols

"When union members walk off a set about safety concerns, maybe 'hiring scabs' isn’t the solution you think it is."

Julia Conley ·

New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo