Former US president Barack Obama spoke about the Titan sub this week in Athens, Greece.
Barack Obama hit the nail on the head when he spoke about the “untenable” way the Titan submersible tragedy received more attention than the recent deaths of hundreds of refugees near Greece.
The former US president was speaking during a conference held by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in Athens on Thursday, when he discussed the struggles which asylum seekers face around the world.
Obama called for people to think about the “circumstances which lead desperate people to come here”.
He said: “We can’t ignore it.
“You think about what’s happening this week. There is a potential tragedy unfolding with the submarine that is getting, you know, minute-to-minute coverage, all around the world.
“And you know it’s understandable, because we all want and pray that those folks are rescued.
“But the fact that that’s got so much more attention than 700 people who sank,” the crowd began to applaud at this, realizing where Obama was going with his sentence.
He added: “That’s an untenable situation.”
He was referring to the fishing trawler which sank off the coast of Greece, with 700 asylum seekers on board on June 14.
The International Organization for Migration called it “the worst sea tragedies in the last decade in Greece”.
However, it received just a fraction of the coverage the submarine crisis did. There were five people on the tourist submersible, named the Titan, when it went missing while en route to see the Titanic shipwreck.
Regularly news alerts and live blogs were set up in an effort to track the search and rescue mission for the five passengers, stretching on between Sunday and Thursday.
Obama’s comments came hours before the US Coast Guard confirmed that the five people who were on board the Titan died in a “catastrophic implosion”.
In an exclusive interview with CNN, Obama repeated his sentiment – and, this time, emphasized how it reflects a larger problem with inequality.
He said: “Our democracy is not going to be healthy with the levels of inequality that we’ve seen, generated from globalization, automation, the decline in unions, the occurrence of inequality.”
He referenced the “news of the day” had focused on how “the submersible, that tragically is right now lost at the bottom of the sea.”
Obama continued: “At the same time, right here, in just off the coast of Greece, we had 700 people that – 700 migrants who were apparently being smuggled into here, and we’ve made news, but it’s not dominating in the same way.
“And in some way, it’s indicative of the degree to which people’s life chances have grown so disparate.”