By Tiffany Lee
Millions of Syrians have been forced to leave their home countries due to the Syrian War since 2011. When attempting to go across the Mediterranean Sea, the refugees take large risks, paying smugglers large amounts of money and forcing themselves into unreliable dinghies, to escape to other lands.
Before the refugees are even allowed inside the small, meager boats that can only be described as dinghies, they pay smugglers about a thousand euros so they can be crammed into a small vehicle with other desperate refugees. The refugees, arriving at the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, climb inside crowded rubber boats with over 30 people in each vessel. Then, they attempt the trip. They set off into the endless blue, throwing their life vests on, willing to escape.
The hope is Germany, or Greece, or just Europe in general. However, the packed rubber boats must travel over an overwhelming 2500-km distance, which is almost unimaginable and definitely life-threatening.
The Syrian boy made international headlines, his washed-up body showing people around the world the dangers the sea poses to the Syrian refugees. But the refugees already know the rubber boat can be easily overturned by the Mediterranean waves. They already know that most refugees drown. They already foresee their own deaths.
Many refugees also escape to Europe by land, which is not nearly as risky as the sea, but there is a higher risk of being caught by border guards.
Still, hundreds of thousands of Syrians choose to make the oversea journey. When asked why he would choose such a lethal trip for him and his two children, a Syrian man responded, “In Syria, they are dead already.” For the refugees, despite the oceanic dangers, sea is still safer than land.