The approaching winter is taking its toll on the refugees and migrants prepared to take any risk to get to Europe.
They come in their tens of thousands, including pregnant women and babes in arms. Many of the children have drowned, women too.
And it is the women we should all be concerned about. Would any mother in her right mind run the most appalling risks to flee from a war zone? What is driving them out of the refugee shelters and bunkers to risk their own and their children’s’ lives on a cold, freezing sea, followed by an equally cold and dangerous trek through various countries to an uncertain future?
Where is the food for those little babies who would normally be depending on their mother’s milk or a formula brand?
Unfortunately they are coming from countries where men rule the roost with women not regarded as having much intelligence. Their husbands make the decisions and if the men decide to leave then the wives have no choice.
Sharia law as practised in most Muslim countries appears to regard women as fit only for child bearing. Few of them have the freedom to choose a marriage partner. One is usually chosen for her.
And if you don’t believe me think of the young Afghan woman stoned to death this week in Kabul for attempting to flee a forced marriage to a much older man and elope with someone she did love.
In an area controlled by the militant Taliban she was arrested, tried and executed horribly, buried, according to one newspaper report, up to her neck in a pit surrounded by a large group of men, who, one by one hurled stones at her until she died.
The man she wanted to marry received just a flogging.
Recently when Iranian actress Sadaf Taherian released a photograph of herself on Facebook without a veil her mental balance was questioned by Iranian hierarchy while a friend who came out in support of her had to flee the country. Tehran’s Ministry of culture and Islamic guidance decreed they could no longer be considered as artists and would be looked on as offenders if they returned to the country as Ms Taherian also fled. In Pakistan women have been dragged out of buses and raped, the perpetrators usually getting away with it.
In an unusual court case this week in London a judge believed the claims of the secret wife of the late King Fahd of Saudia Arabia who turned to British law to get the money she was promised by the Fahd family when her benefactor died. The late king’s son had promised to honour his father’s promise to give her money and property but then the promise was reneged on.
Junan Harb, now 68, had married the king when she was 19 and he was just a prince. She told the High Court how after the marriage she was kept in a harem for two years and prohibited from having children. Every night she had to visit casinos with her husband. It’s the stuff of story books.
We may regard Saudia Arabia as less militant than other Muslim states but even there women are not permitted to drive a car and cannot be seen out with a man unless it is her husband. Many of the women want change but the grip of male dominance in so many of those countries is total. The men do not take kindly to any notion that women should be equals.
Those women trekking through European states, soaked through and miserable trying to protect their children, no doubt conditioned to believe their husbands are always right, are victims of a fanaticism which can only get worse with the rise of ultra extreme fanatics such as Isil. It’s a life beyond our comprehension. We cannot turn these women away but we should impose conditions on the husbands who force them to flee.