Maryam Namazie
Published in Hambastegi English
March 5, 2001

Perry Wacker, a lorry driver, is currently on trial for the deaths of the Dover 58, the 58 Chinese who were found suffocated in a lorry in Dover, Britain last June 18. In court, the only 2 survivors of this tragedy relived the last desperate hours as 54 men and 4 women suffocated around them when the air vent was shut in order to evade the authorities. They described how they pounded on the side of the lorry and screamed for help as they gasped for breath and how they kicked at the doors of the sealed truck as the air ran out during their hellish journey.

Wacker is being held responsible for this tragedy and being charged with 58 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to smuggle the so-called illegal immigrants into the country.

However, this is not the real story. Wacker is in fact the fall guy and scapegoat.

The real story is that 60 living, breathing human beings with lives, with friends and families, with hopes and aspirations, were forced to hide like animals in a container to reach Britain because closed borders and Fortress Europe left them no other choice. In fact, the air vent was shut so that border control guards would not hear their voices and find them.

The real story is that the “illegals” were genuine not “bogus” asylum seekers who fled hardship, low wages, unemployment and lack of religious, political and personal freedoms. Had they arrived alive, they would most likely have all been refused as one survivor was. At present, poverty, misery and lack of freedom in China are not politically expedient to amount to persecution for the West. At one time they were.

The real story is one of collaboration with persecutors to stop the flow of people seeking more tolerable lives. Just last month, an EU delegation visited China to hammer out strategies to stem the flow of Chinese “sneaking” into Europe.

The real story is that racist Western government policies and asylum procedures condemn the vast majority to lives not worthy of human beings.

In fact, the real story is not about Wacker; he was merely facilitating their escape and entrance into Britain. He is but a scapegoat, diverting attention away from those who are truly responsible. Clearly, Wacker is being made to take the fall for top-level officials and policies, which should be on trial instead of him.

As an aside: On February 23, another scapegoat, Mohamed Aflanzadeh, an Iranian truck driver who tried to smuggle 81 Kurds into Greece was sentenced to nine years and five months imprisonment. Western governments portray their war on smugglers as concern for the lives of “illegal immigrants,” yet the 81 Kurds – found alive – are to be forcibly deported back to persecution where they can be suffocated and murdered by repressive regimes…

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