Punjabis Stranded in the Strait

A documentary titled, “Stranded in the Strait” discusses the plight of young men and their dreams to emigrate to Europe (hat tip: JSB). This particular story focuses on a group of Punjabi men who are stranded in Ceuta, an autonomous city of Spain located on the North African side of the Strait of Gibraltar and claimed by Morocco.

In the densely forested hills above Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on the Moroccan coast, 57 young Indian immigrants await their fate in a shanty community theyve built to avoid deportation. With lush visual style, the film accompanies them in their daily trials as they scramble to survive, waiting to cross the last 14 km that separate them from Europe. Will they make it there? [link]

“After the Indian ambassadress visited the city in 2007,” says Gurpreet, spokesman for the “rebels,” “the situation became ever worse; almost 50 percent of us were repatriated immediately. Thus, as sign of protest, we decide to take shelter to the forest. We hoped to come to the attention of the community, but, as you can see, after one year, we are still here.” [link]

These men have essentially given up everything to pursue their dream of reaching Europe. For many of these men, there is no alternative but to do whatever they can to cross those final 14kms. Returning to India might be the natural suggestion, but for many of these men, this is not an option as they have used all their savings to get to this place. Khalsa Aid, a non-profit organization based in the UK, has offered humanitarian assistance – but what these men need is political assistance.

Another clip below the jump:


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10 Responses to “Punjabis Stranded in the Strait”

  1. tsagoo says:

    there is a story that is not being told, given the hype about the Indian economy , why are bright young men or even older men risking so much to come to the UK illegally, what is happening in the Punjab?
    I think everyone should have the chance to change their lives , not only the rich. The borders should be open, this country was built on the labour of its empire so think of this as pay back. And I'm a taxpayer!

  2. tsagoo says:

    there is a story that is not being told, given the hype about the Indian economy , why are bright young men or even older men risking so much to come to the UK illegally, what is happening in the Punjab?
    I think everyone should have the chance to change their lives , not only the rich. The borders should be open, this country was built on the labour of its empire so think of this as pay back. And I'm a taxpayer!

  3. Supinder Singh says:

    This is symptomatic of the economic conditions in the Punjab. Sikhs males see emigration as their only source of making a viable economic future for selves.

    In the UK, this plays itself out in the homeless Sikh population that has sprung up in Southall (West London) – Thankfully this problem has lessened during the past 6 months through the co-odinated action of Sikh groups in getting accomadation and jobs for these folks.

    tsagoo…the Indian economy 'growing' is a myth to the rural majority; whereas Industrial growth maybe measuring in double digits, the rural economy (where 70% of Indians are employed) is stagnant at 2-3% growth. The gini coefficient (which measures the disparity between rich and poor) is growing – the scenario is very much reminisent to the liberation theology dynamic witnessed in South America.

    Solutions are to encourage indigenous industrial growth in Punjab; to demonstrate to the Punjabi people that there are viable oppurtunities outside of farming.

  4. Supinder Singh says:

    This is symptomatic of the economic conditions in the Punjab. Sikhs males see emigration as their only source of making a viable economic future for selves.

    In the UK, this plays itself out in the homeless Sikh population that has sprung up in Southall (West London) – Thankfully this problem has lessened during the past 6 months through the co-odinated action of Sikh groups in getting accomadation and jobs for these folks.

    tsagoo…the Indian economy 'growing' is a myth to the rural majority; whereas Industrial growth maybe measuring in double digits, the rural economy (where 70% of Indians are employed) is stagnant at 2-3% growth. The gini coefficient (which measures the disparity between rich and poor) is growing – the scenario is very much reminisent to the liberation theology dynamic witnessed in South America.

    Solutions are to encourage indigenous industrial growth in Punjab; to demonstrate to the Punjabi people that there are viable oppurtunities outside of farming.

  5. Inderjit says:

    SSA Supinder Ji,

    I agree with your sentiments my friend. However the Sikhs should look to find oppurtunities within India aswell.

    They should think about migrating to the South – where oppurtunities in IT exist. There is a growing Sikh population in Bangalore and a well established community in Mumbai and Chennai.

    Emigration can be a valley of tears.

  6. Inderjit says:

    SSA Supinder Ji,

    I agree with your sentiments my friend. However the Sikhs should look to find oppurtunities within India aswell.

    They should think about migrating to the South – where oppurtunities in IT exist. There is a growing Sikh population in Bangalore and a well established community in Mumbai and Chennai.

    Emigration can be a valley of tears.

  7. Supinder Singh says:

    Inderjit

    I was fortunate enough to attend a public lecture given by Isher Ahluwalia, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Surjit Bhalla, and the great Martin Wolf (FT journalist) at the LSE in June this year. The lecture discussed the Indian economy by looking at micro-economic indicators and the future direction of the economy (similar thesis as Pranab Bardhan's book "Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay").

    I'll give a brief overview of the state of the Indian economy:

    Whereas the indian economy seem buoyant vis-a-vis micro-economic indicators (i.e. the success of SME in cottage industries and outsourcing) significant bottlenecks remain – these include India’s "unpardonably large bureaucratic costs". Wolf states that "So much could be achieved if the state got out of the way". I have little difficulty in imagining that India can sustain growth of close to 10 per cent a year for a long time.

    Indian politics dictate that a lurch towards monetarism (of a kind advocated by Milton Friedman) is political suicide. Although very far removed from the 'licence Raj' state of the 60s- 80s, the Indian economy is still very much overly regulated and far from being an open economy. This suits the status quo, where chabol companies such as Tata, Reliance etc. have a near monopoly on the states resources and procurement licences.

    India cannot develop via service industries alone, at some stage through its development it needs to turn to manufacturing – in order to do this it needs investment on its appallingly bad infrastructure. Montek's planning commission favours PFI (public/private fianance initiatives) in order to carry out infrastructure projects- similar to the scheme favoured by Gordon Brown and te Labour government in the UK; the problem with implementing PFI in India is the appalling corruption involved – which means that schemes normally run over budget and are poor quality (see CWG infrastructure as a case in point).

    India's economy is growing – as I stated in my previous post, but it will take many decades of double digit growth (and a lot of luck) in order for it to become equitable enough to stop Punjabis want to emigrate.

    The jobs and oppourtunities created in South India are limited and not viable for most Punjabis.

  8. Supinder Singh says:

    Inderjit

    I was fortunate enough to attend a public lecture given by Isher Ahluwalia, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Surjit Bhalla, and the great Martin Wolf (FT journalist) at the LSE in June this year. The lecture discussed the Indian economy by looking at micro-economic indicators and the future direction of the economy (similar thesis as Pranab Bardhan's book "Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay").

    I'll give a brief overview of the state of the Indian economy:

    Whereas the indian economy seem buoyant vis-a-vis micro-economic indicators (i.e. the success of SME in cottage industries and outsourcing) significant bottlenecks remain – these include India’s "unpardonably large bureaucratic costs". Wolf states that "So much could be achieved if the state got out of the way". I have little difficulty in imagining that India can sustain growth of close to 10 per cent a year for a long time.

    Indian politics dictate that a lurch towards monetarism (of a kind advocated by Milton Friedman) is political suicide. Although very far removed from the 'licence Raj' state of the 60s- 80s, the Indian economy is still very much overly regulated and far from being an open economy. This suits the status quo, where chabol companies such as Tata, Reliance etc. have a near monopoly on the states resources and procurement licences.

    India cannot develop via service industries alone, at some stage through its development it needs to turn to manufacturing – in order to do this it needs investment on its appallingly bad infrastructure. Montek's planning commission favours PFI (public/private fianance initiatives) in order to carry out infrastructure projects- similar to the scheme favoured by Gordon Brown and te Labour government in the UK; the problem with implementing PFI in India is the appalling corruption involved – which means that schemes normally run over budget and are poor quality (see CWG infrastructure as a case in point).

    India's economy is growing – as I stated in my previous post, but it will take many decades of double digit growth (and a lot of luck) in order for it to become equitable enough to stop Punjabis want to emigrate.

    The jobs and oppourtunities created in South India are limited and not viable for most Punjabis.

  9. Inderjit says:

    SSA Supinder Ji,

    A very informative reply.

    Punjabi Sikhs should look then to develop Punjab itself, this is the only way in which tehir economic future will be sustained.

    I have even read of Punjabi emigrating to africa to rent out arable farming land there in order to cultivate crops. Do you have any information on this?

    WJJK WJKF

  10. Inderjit says:

    SSA Supinder Ji,

    A very informative reply.

    Punjabi Sikhs should look then to develop Punjab itself, this is the only way in which tehir economic future will be sustained.

    I have even read of Punjabi emigrating to africa to rent out arable farming land there in order to cultivate crops. Do you have any information on this?

    WJJK WJKF

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