Journeys of Desperation: The Odyssey of Mass Humanoid Migrations in the 21st Century (Part 2)


Prof Hoosen Vawda – TRANSCEND Media Service

(Please note that certain images in this publication may be disturbing to some readers.  Parental guidance is advised.)

‘O you Humanoids, where is our humanity?’[1]

End of the Desperate Migrant Journey: Sand artist depiction of Aylan Kurdi’s body, washed ashore.
Inset: A Turkish police carrying the body of deceased Aylan from the shore.

25 Jun 2022 – In Part 1 of this theme series[3], the author described how the colonies are returning to the imperial colonialist, which in the case of Britain, is exporting the migrants to Rwanda for processing.  This was achieved in a 150-British million-pound deal, signed by the Home Secretary, the Rt Honourable Home Secretary, Ms Priti Patel, with Rwanda, on 14th April 2021.  The specially chartered Boeing 767, carrying the deportees was prevented from flying to Kigali, in Rwanda, minutes before its scheduled departure, by an interdict from the European Union, much to the disgust of Priti Patel and the Conservation Boris Johnson [4]British government.  It is ironic to note that, Ms Priti Patel, herself being a person of Indian Origin, initiating, promoting and concluding the deal to combat the migrant challenge, Britain is facing in the times of global economic and health crises, with rampant inflation and the nationwide rail strike[5]

In this paper, the author examines some of the global crises which resulted in mass migrations of humanoids in different parts of the world.  Migrations occur for multiple reasons as described in Part 1 of this series on migrants.  A sad example of mass migration is the stagnant, Syrian war.[6] The commencement of the civil war began in March 2011 in the Syrian city of Deraa when the locals took to the streets to protest after 15 schoolchildren were arrested and reportedly tortured for writing anti- government graffiti on a wall. The protests were initially peaceful, calling for the release of the children, democracy and greater freedom for people in the country. The government responded angrily, and on 18 March 2011, the army opened fire on protesters, killing four people. The next day, the government forces shot at mourners at the victims’ funerals, killing another person. People were shocked and angry at what had happened and soon the unrest spread to other parts of the country. The protesters initially wanted democracy and greater freedom, but once government forces opened fire on peaceful demonstrations, people demanded that the President, Bashar al-Assad, resign, but he refused to step down. As the violence worsened he offered to change some things about the way the country was run, but the protesters did not accept this. President Assad and his government has widespread support in Syria. It is necessary to establish what the reasons behind the violence are and what is being done to prevent its escalation. In July 2012, the International Red Cross said the violence in Syria had become so widespread that it was in a state of civil war. Many of the refugees are among the tens of thousands who have been arriving in Europe, trying to reach countries like Britain and Germany.

To compound the social unrest, rebel groups have surfaced in Syria. It needs to be established as to who are the rebel groups. The opposition, who wants the president to step down, is split between groups of rebel fighters, political parties and people living in exile, who cannot return to the country. It is estimated that there could be as many as 1,000 groups opposing the government since the conflict began, with an estimated 100,000 active fighters, many of who are mercenaries, while others are volunteers. The escalating civil war is now more than just a battle between those for or against President Bashar Al Assad[7].

One such rebel group is the ISIL. In early 2014, in neighbouring Iraq, an extremist group called Islamic State[8], or IS, began to take over large areas of the country. IS is a radical militant group which has used violence against anyone who does not agree with their extremist views. They have also persecuted other groups, including Christians and Yazidis[9]. IS later moved into eastern Syria and in the chaos of war they were able to gain land and power there, as well. British planes commenced to drop aid to people stranded in the mountains of northern Iraq, in the Middle East. This is part of an operation to reach thousands of Yazidi people, who are trapped in the mountains and in desperate need of food, water and shelter. Yazidis belong to an ancient religion and they’re hiding because the Islamic State, is trying to take control of parts of Iraq. Islamic State is threatening religious groups who are non-Muslim – including the Yazidis. They have fled to the mountains out of fear but now the thirst, hunger and heat are very real dangers. They need aid, but transporting it by road is a dangerous mission – their hope now comes from the air.

In September 2014 a coalition led by the US of UK[10] and other countries joined forces, using planes to attack the IS fighters on the ground. Chemical weapons have been deployed in Syria, during the war, causing anger around the world. In August 2013, a chemical attack just outside the Syrian capital, Damascus[11], caused a strong reaction from many countries including America, Britain and France. After the effects of these weapons were seen, there were long discussions over what the rest of the world should do. In September 2013, United Nations inspectors confirmed that chemical weapons had been used in Syria, but the report did not say who was responsible. Syria, however, denies using chemical weapons[12], which are banned under international law because the effects of their use are so horrific. The government in Syria said: “There is no country in the world that uses a weapon of ultimate destruction against its own people.” They blamed the rebel forces for the chemical attack. The chemical attack caused international outrage and many leaders argued it demanded a strong response. However, the MPs in Westminster voted against Britain being involved in military action in Syria. The American and French governments discussed limited missile strikes against military targets in Syria. However, Russia has strong ties with President Assad’s Syrian government and has helped Syria in the past by supplying weapons. In September 2013 Russia suggested a solution that could avoid a wider conflict: that the Syrian government should give up its chemical weapons and commit to destroying them so they can never again be used. The process of destroying the weapons began in October 2013,

The question, often raised is what is the basic aetiology of the Syrian refugee crisis?  The internal dissatisfaction with the Assad’s regime and handling of the protesters has led to the formation of the rebel Peoples Army of Syria/FSA which is revolting against the Assad Regime.  President Bashar-al Assad is an Alawite Muslim, and he leads the country by inheritance, even though the majority of the country consists of Sunni Muslim. Most of these Sunni Muslims dislike Alawites[13] and hate Assad. This was the background against which the uprising was generated in 2011 when the citizens of Syria began to protest against Assad and how he is running the country. His army responded by firing at and detaining protesters.

The FSA wants Syria to be a free country and democratically elect a leader. They would like to eradicate President Assad who is practically a Dictator, although elections are held, but potential candidates are intimidated and withdraw. The years of suffering and festering discontent resulting in a full-scale war between the FSA and the Assad regime. To compound the critical situation, IS is the most dreaded rebel group who behead victims.

Beheading of a dissident by the Islamic State rebel group.

This fear has resulted in millions fleeing to neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, it’s hard to imagine what state the country will be in when the war is finally over. Many ordinary Syrians, Christians, Muslims, both Sunnis, Shiites and Alawites, the supporters of Assad, Yazidis expatriates and foreign aid workers have been caught up in the violence and have been forced to leave their homes to escape to safety in other countries as refugees resulting in the Mediterranean refugee crisis. It is to be noted that while the majority of the refugees are Syrians, this displaced mass of humanity is also made up of other nationalities were living conditions have become intolerable.

It is also important to establish as to who are President Assad’s international protagonists and antagonists. The principal supporter of President Assad is Russia under President Vladimir Putin[14], who has reportedly been supplying the regime with military hardware and training for his army, as well as Russian soldiers.  Previously Iran was assisting President Assad but noting the dynamic state of the complex socio-religious, political nature of the conflict, the status of allies and enemies is constantly changing. However, what is for certain is that President Obama is President Assad’s nemesis. The US has specially trained fighters amongst the Peoples Army of Syria Free Syria Army[15], to counteract the government forces in Syria.

At present, the IS is gaining the upper hand in the conflict, which has resulted in the organised destruction of ancient archaeological and world heritage sites in the important city of Palmyra in Syria, eradicating centuries of archaeological and cultural histories.

The ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria, before destruction by IS Group

It is to be noted that NATO[17] of which Ukraine and Lithuania[18] are members of this week, is involved in the Libyan crisis, but not the Syrian crisis since NATO has a UN mandate to protect civilians in Libya by any means, short of invasion. The UN has no such mandate in Syria. Russia and China both have strong trade links with the current Syrian regime and they both have a veto. However, Russian jets are reportedly targeting IS encampments in Northern Syria to protect President Assad’s regime.  The end result of these wars and emergence of different aggressive groups, id that children and innocent people are the victims of the atrocities, either directly being involved in the war or indirectly, as they were making perilous displacement journeys across hostile terrain, countries and oceans. One such anecdote is the sad picture of toddler Aylan Kurdi[19], which evoked international condemnation of the war in Syria and the sad social consequences.  His lifeless body cradled in a policeman’s arms, the drowned boy on the beach has become a symbol for the suffering of Syrian refugees. Three-year-old Alan Kurdi (his first name was initially incorrectly given as Aylan) perished along with his five-year-old brother and mother off the coast of Turkey. His father survived and gave a heart-rending account of how he watched his family die after the flimsy dinghy that was supposed to carry them to a brighter future was swamped by rough seas. They are not the first to lose their lives attempting the deceptively short crossing to the Greek island of Kos, but it’s this family’s story that has moved the world. However, it is a story not as straightforward as it immediately seemed. Many viewing the emotive images of Alan’s body found washed up on the beach assumed his family had fled directly from the hellhole of war-torn Syria. In fact the saga that would end so tragically had begun a full three years previously, and that final journey made from Turkey where the family was not in deadly peril, was risked despite the fact that Alan mother’s, Rehan, did not want to go precisely because she feared how it might end. Subsequently, the tale took a shocking new turn when a survivor of the boat-sinking alleged that far from being a fellow victim of the money-grabbing people smugglers, Abdullah was a smuggler himself.  Zainab Abbas[20], who lost two of her three children when the boat overturned, claims Abdullah is wrong to say that he took control of the boat only after the trafficker in charge had jumped overboard, in a panic as the vessel was tossed about in choppy seas. Abdullah, she says, was at the helm from the very beginning of the voyage. “Yes, it was Abdullah Kurdi driving the boat,” Abbas, who is now back in her native Iraq, told Australian TV channel Network Ten through her English-speaking cousin Lara Tahseen. Whether this alternative version related by a disgruntled survivor is true or false, remains unknown, but the deadly end of the toddler’s desperate journey, speaks for itself.

Regarding the global refugee crisis, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine: who exactly are these displaced migrants? While the exact statistics are not available, but these can be nationally categorised as follows, not in order of any importance or numbers.

  1. Ukrainians
  2. Venezeulans and associated Migrants from Latin Americas
  3. Syrians
  4. Afghanis
  5. Rohyingas
  6. Iraqis
  7. Libyans
  8. Egyptians
  9. Yemenis
  10. Dissidents from Hong Kong
  11. Central and East African countries
  12. Lately white, minority South Africans
  13. Indians due to Islamophobia generated by the BJP nationalist movement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It is also interesting to remember that Boris Johnson’s government welcomed the dissidents of Hong Kong[21], readily, while other migrants, mainly Africans but also including Mediterranean’s and even Vietnamese, who were allocated a fate of being deported to Rwanda[22].  This is clearly discriminatory and has indicative of traditional British hypocrisy. [23]

A particular deficiency in defining the challenges, is that there are no official statistics of the number of foreign migrants who are resident in South Africa, or in any other country, at the present time. The quoted figures from unconfirmed sources is around 7%[24] of the total South African population of approximately 59.62 million. [25] However, the question often raised is that are they all refugees? There is also no breakdown of the available statistics to confirm how many of these migrants are bona fide individuals.  These foreigners present in South Africa can be reasonably classified as :-

  1. Refugees,
  2. Asylum seekers,
  3. Potential terrorists,
  4. Business entrepreneurs,
  5. Drug lords,
  6. Syndicates,
  7. Criminal elements, the likes of Gupta Brothers involved in State Capture in South Africa[26], now awaiting extradition from Dubai by the South African government,
  8. Business people of foreign origin, seeking the proverbial greener pastures and new entrepreneurial opportunities.

While the categories listed are probably correct, the vast majority are bona fide refugees escaping from the horrors of the civil war. However, no precise statistics are available, as to the parent country of origin of these migrants in Europe, nor do we have a gender, age and ethnic or religious breakdown for proper scientific research to be conducted on the matter. For these reasons it is difficult to propose proactive strategies within the framework of civil society and ensure that all South Africans and indeed all humanity could possibly subscribe to our hallowed and unique constitution in order to ensure that social cohesion and nation building could be achieved, assured and sustained in the future for these migrants, wherever they finally settle or allowed to settle and integrate with the local community, as envisaged by the countries of the European Union.

There are overwhelming challenges to a peaceful co-existence and integration of Mediterranean refugees in the host countries, as  the acceptance of migrants by the citizens of the host countries. The causes can be briefly summarised as follows; host country economic recession, arrival of migrants in their thousands, xenophobia, indigenous poverty, unemployment, fear of the unfamiliar individuals, cultural differences, lack of productivity, illiteracy, jealousy, envy, inherent laziness, arrival of debilitating infectious diseases, lack of infra structure, third force activities with vested agenda, criminal intents and possibility of terrorists entering the host countries and Islamophobia, since the majority of the refugees are of Islamic belief.

Global refugee migration analyses map with key

Regarding the global refugee crises, what steps is the international community taking to counteract the challenge.  Britain is deporting these victims of “lost humanity” to Rwanda, as described in Part 1 of the series of publication on migrants[27].  The Italian Navy was at the forefront in rescuing thousands of refugees who were in dire straits in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea[28]. These fortunate refugees were rescued on daily patrols by the Italian Navy and brought ashore to be assisted. On the contrary, the Australians were “stopping the boats” carrying refugees and driving them back to their country of origin.  “If you want to stop the deaths, if you want to stop the drownings, you have got to stop the boats,” Tony Abbott, the former Australian Prime Minister told the broadcaster ABC at the height of the Australian migrant boat invasion.[29] Presently, Mr Abbott remains tight lipped about emerging allegations that the Australian government paid off Indonesian people smugglers[30]. The Turkish government set up refugee camps on the Turkish border to house the displaced refugees. The Hungarian government closed borders as thousands of refugees arrived in transit to Germany.

A razor wire fence [31]was installed to curtail the refugee crossings into Hungary and these migrants were declared illegal if they breached the fences. Germany, under Chancellor Angel Merkel, has done the most, thus far, in not only accepting the thousands of refugees, but also actively supporting them in terms of relocation and supplies. However, her ratings have subsequently dropped in Germany and she is no longer the Chancellor. Canada pledged financial aid but has not accepted any refugees. Globally, the processing of applications is taking an inordinately prolonged period of time for granting refugee status to genuine applicants. United States, built “The Great Anti-Migrant Wall of Donald Trump” [32]at great expense to prevent the migrant caravans marching from South American Countries to enter United States, under his regime, a physical, migrant barrier, which President Joe Biden has inherited. It is also reported that in some cases migrant boats were rammed and the occupants were drowned, as well as isolated cases were reportedly shot by border patrols, in some countries.  It is to be noted that the well-endowed Arab states have not visibly done much towards alleviating the crisis. New Zealand has been signified by inertia and is sealed at an annual quota of 750 refugees for over three decades[33].

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel interacting compassionately with safely arrived refugees, of all religions, in Berlin 2015

The solution and strategy attend to the mass migration cries, is to rectify and remove the causes of mass migrations, globally in the countries of origins of the migrants, be this sectarian conflicts, large scale wars. Economic disempowerment, poverty, unemployment, climate change and environmental degradation.  These are extremely difficult challenges to solve, because one element impacts on the other, such as while mining will provide employment opportunities to the populations, it will, conversely lead to environmental degradation, in that area,  as demonstrated in lithium mining due to the emergence of electric vehicles[34], in the 21st century.  In addition, massive deforestation is occurring in South Americas and parts of equatorial Africa, in order to make way for profitable farming, providing much needed employment, at the expense of increasing greenhouse gases, global warming and rising of sea levels, again leading to mass migrations from low lying countries and areas.  It is indeed a vicious cycle.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights [35]is an outcome of the pain and human cost of the Second World War. In 1948 the infant General Assembly of the United Nations passed this Declaration of the rights we deemed to be universal, acknowledging the importance for all, all of us, to have access to these rights. At Article 14, the Declaration speaks to the right to claim asylum. By 1951, a group of nations had come together to draft and complete the Refugee Convention. Now over 7o years old, this document is truly one of the Twentieth Century’s most wonderful achievements. It has literally and directly led to the protection of millions and millions of people. It is our greatest human rights remedy.  The question which begs to be asked is what are the possible endpoints if we, collectively, as humanoids, elect not to do anything?

This option would be a serious indictment on the Faith Based and Peace Organisations, globally and these bodies would be an embarrassment to the entire world as well as the collective social philosophies of Gandhi,[36] Mandela,[37] Martin Luther King Jr.[38], Tolstoy[39], Rumi[40] and others, eternal philosophies. While we become apathetic, countless refugees would continue to suffer hardships and probably perish in misery.  There will be ongoing disruption of the civil society. Escalation of regional conflicts into a full blown national civil war in other countries, as also evidenced, presently. Probable catastrophic international genocide. Total international anarchy resulting in a power vacuum filled by militia, radicals, terrorists and warlords, as evidenced by the emergence in various countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen,[41] Somalia and Ukraine and  a possible world at war, once again, all on the basis of personal greed in pursuit of materialism at the cost of innocent human lives, as experienced by the current war in Ukraine[42], supported and fueled by western nations.

The Bottom Line is that the population of the world is rising exponentially, in spite of the pandemic.  It is reported that the abortion rates have increased during the SARS Cov-2 pandemic [43]as spouses were home bound and the conditions were conducive to increased conceptions, globally, at least in first world countries, where facilities for termination were easily accessible while in poorer countries as in Africa and South East Asia, the birth rates increased during the past two years.  This has worsened the malnutrition crisis, coupled with the war in Ukraine, which has prevented the export and availability of basic wheat grain to the entire world.   Furthermore, the available material resources are amassed by the few rich countries, with the third world countries becoming poorer, such as Sri Lanka[44], Afghanistan, after being destroyed by Russians[45] and Americans [46]as well countries in the region of the horn of Africa[47]. The problems in not going to disappear and the United Nations has warned that malnutrition is now a greater challenge than the pandemic.  While this will probably result in the survival of the fittest by the Darwinian process of “Natural Selection”[48], humanity will suffer and humanoid, especially the children and geriatric populations will perish.  Furthermore,  the emerging middle class in developing countries will be severely impacted and disappear.  There are also no formal birth and population control programmes in disadvantaged countries and masses will perish due to the aforementioned factors.  In addition, crime is on the rise globally, as in South Africa[49], where violent crimes are on the increase and the corrupt law enforcement officers are unable to tackle the multiple problems.  Internal and global terrorism is rising in all the countries, as they become fertile environment, for disenchanted, ordinary, peace loving citizenry, giving support to and favouring an for alternate world order.[50] Anarchy is the order of the day, as unemployment, poverty, civil disobedience and corruption at the highest levels of government are all indeed rampant. Peace initiative by church leaders are failing and the religious leaders are also constrained by lack of funding form congregational collections at the services.  The church leaders are also not tacking, current local and global issues, as affecting Palestine, India and indigenous communities in  Africa as well, for fear of causing further divisions in inter-religious relationships, especially in South Africa[51].  Peace initiatives by organisations, such as the Transcend Media Services[52] are on the verge of collapse due to lack of funding by the ever-diminishing donor pool.  The journal editor is keeping the online publication sustained from personal funds, indeed a serious indictment on all of us, who are not in a position to donate.

The migrant and refugee crises are a global humanitarian catastrophe. It is worsening, since access to refugee land routes into Europe are now closed and we as humanity, must seriously contemplate decisive action to alleviate the suffering of millions of refugees, globally, in whatever manner we possibly can.

The future all around, is profoundly gloomy and foreshadows a post-apocalyptic scenario within the next decade, unless divine assistance is forthcoming.  However, the author has sufficient confidence and faith in my fellow humanoids and complete trust in the Lord to be able to do so in the immediate future, provided that our ongoing transgressions must cease henceforth.


[1] Personal quote by author June 2022

















































[50]: “The threat within: a South African perspective and strategies in ensuring social security, cohesion and nation building” Goolam Hoosen M. Vawda. 2014.





Professor G. Hoosen M. Vawda (Bsc; MBChB; PhD.Wits) is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment.
Director: Glastonbury Medical Research Centre; Community Health and Indigent Programme Services; Body Donor Foundation SA.

Principal Investigator: Multinational Clinical Trials
Consultant: Medical and General Research Ethics; Internal Medicine and Clinical Psychiatry:UKZN, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine
Executive Member: Inter Religious Council KZN SA
Public Liaison: Medical Misadventures
Activism: Justice for All

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 27 Jun 2022.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Journeys of Desperation: The Odyssey of Mass Humanoid Migrations in the 21st Century (Part 2), is included. Thank you.

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