Watch: 'They say we help smugglers... but they're the ones financing them'
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Watch: 'They say we help smugglers... but they're the ones financing them'

Daniel Mainwaring on volunteering at sea and his grandfather Dom Mintoff

Daniel Mainwaring was already familiar with the EU’s migration policy before he ever set foot on an NGO rescue vessel.

After volunteering aboard the Sea-Watch, however, it is the human stories which are seared into his consciousness.

“Every woman who comes on the ship has been raped,” he tells Times Talk when asked what he has learnt. “Every man bar the lucky few have experienced torture”.

He is forceful in his defence of sea rescue NGOs and their work,  noting the irony behind the “myth” that NGOs are a taxi service for people smugglers.

The European governments which make these claims, he says, are the same ones pumping millions into Libya, in an attempt to prop up its flailing coast guard.

OPINION: 'Our hearts are the same as yours' - Daniel Mainwaring

That money ends up being distributed to various militias across the country, he says – the same militias which make a killing by charging people to cross the sea.

“They’re financing smugglers themselves,” he says.

Mr Mainwaring, who happens to be Dom Mintoff’s grandson, is bashful when asked what his illustrious grandfather would make of his own activism.

“I’m shy to speak for Dom, he was a man unto himself,” he begins. “But in his autobiography he says that he would prefer to run with the hunted and fight the hunters”.

What of Malta’s far-right’s (mis)using of his grandfather’s image?

Mr Mainwaring cuts them short shrift.

“I’m confident he wasn’t a racist, and this is what some of this far-right stuff boils down to. Thankfully they’re marginal in Maltese society.”

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