“Lots of journalists come and take pictures and nothing changes. So you don’t need to take pictures.”
On hearing about the latest deaths off the Italian island of Lampedusa last month, I was struck by the prescience of these words. In the last decade, tens of thousands have died trying to reach the European Union in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. Just last year 60 Syrian refugees drowned in one such tragedy. Every last death has been avoidable, and every last death is attributable.
Yasin, the man who made the comment, was Eritrean, like many of those who died off the coast of Lampedusa, but he made the same journey and survived. He survived and learned to feel unwelcome in Europe. When he told me not to take pictures of his camp, buried in a field in France, he showed that he had begun to learn something of this Europe, the one so different from the Europe of his dreams.
Read the rest of this article here over at openDemocracy.net.
I reported from Lampedusa and Palermo back in 2011. You can read some of my reports on refugees and paperless migrants here, here and here.