Photo: Canarian Parliament.
Some countries adopt a rather strident approach and language to immigration, but others are more nuanced. Today, Gustavo Matos, the President of the Canarian Parliament, has reminded of one of the hardest odysseys ever undertaken in respect of the Canaries … one made by 171 Canarians 70 years ago when they boarded the Telémaco in search of hoped-for success and a new life in the Americas. Matos says that it’s good to remember this date when we look at the migrants who today risk their lives by crossing oceans for a chance at a dignified life. No talk of “illegal refugees” here, where a refugee is recognized as having the legal status refugees are actually accorded … it has never been illegal to flee tyranny, or torture, or to seek a better life.
The Canarian Parliament President’s use of the word odyssey has a particular resonance because the name of that ship of hope, the Telémaco, translates to Telemachus, the son of Odysseus himself, the subject of the very first, Homeric, Odyssey. Matos said that today the Canarian Parliament officially commemorates the day which is a special anniversary for very many Canarian families, and one that continues to have a very current meaning given the terrible migratory situations we are seeing daily.