OceanGate explorers, irregular immigrants. Same fate, different reactions

OceanGate explorers, irregular immigrants.  Same fate, different reactions

From the OceanGate submersible to the incident involving Rayan, a child who died in the well, outpourings of sympathy are increasing but differing. This difference can be related to place, time or a related event.

For Mohssine Benzakour, academic and psychosociologist approached by MoroccoLatestNews, as long as it lasts over time, as long as it attracts curiosity and empathy, but also the impression of being able to share, somewhere, this feeling with others, that will arouse the interest of public opinion.

The latest event that has seen this phenomenon emerge is that of the Titan. No happy epilogue for this private submarine, the adventure of the five passengers ended much earlier than expected. A billionaire explorer, a Pakistani businessman accompanied by his son, the Frenchman Paul-Henri Nargeolet nicknamed “Mr Titanic”, and the CEO of the company marketing Titan excursions, all lost their lives in this “exit” .

After 2 hours, the communications supposed to guide the ship were broken, launching a vast search operation and a multitude of questions about the cause of the sinking. This incident has aroused the sympathy of public opinion, while on the other hand, several immigrants are losing their lives every day and no one is interested.

Mouhssine Benzakour explains to us in this regard that “Human beings are attracted by extraordinary events, by the adventurous aspect and by what is called nostalgia for the past”.

He thus gave the example of the child Rayan who fell and died in a well. “There are plenty of children in Morocco who die almost every week or every day if I may say so, but don’t cause such a stir on such a large scale. And so if I go back a bit to the analysis of the Titanic, there was this aspect of adventure there were 5 people who left risking their lives just to discover the beauty of the wreck and maybe other secrets , possibly treasure seekers. But what is public opinion holding back? It retains this emotional aspect of the thing which is the adventure”, analyzes the academic.

“As long as it lasts over time, so much does it attract curiosity, empathy and also the impression of shared feelings with others, and so much will it arouse the interest of public opinion”, he adds.

According to the psychologist, “we are not interested in the subject of immigrants because it is politicized and when the thing is politicized, the media have this tendency to attenuate the impact of this information so we start to choose terms like + illegality +, already when we hear this word we are somewhat reluctant, the others have the right to protect themselves, there is less affect, less sharing”.

Clandestine migration an issue addressed “politically” and presented as a phenomenon to be combated, and as a result empathy has no place there.

To conclude, our interlocutor returns to the incident of the small Rayan and the point of convergence with this shipwreck: “We now understand that not all information is neutral, there is either a political interest or an economic interest behind it, but when the information is pure, and here I come back to Rayan, everyone shares it because there is has no interest behind it, no political strategy, no geopolitical or economic strategy”.


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