Dangerous Crossings: On Border Deaths at Sea



Time to read

2 Minutes

Today The Guardian has published the stories of Ishaq and Kaka, two refugees that were on board a boat that capsized on its way to Australia in June last year.

Source: The Guardian
The boat had set off from Pakistan with over 200 people on board. Nearly half died when the boat sank. Today’s article is well worth reading in that it gives a face, a story and a life to these two refugees. Click here for a direct link to the article.

This is not however a new story. Sadly, the capsizing and sinking of unfit boats overcrowded with people seeking refuge in safer shores (be they in Australia, Europe or elsewhere) is not a rare occurrence. In fact, it has become so common that in Australia the Border Crossing Observatory has developed the Australian Border Deaths Database in an effort to account for these deaths. Other efforts developed to document the motivations, perils and afterlife of such dangerous crossings include Hans Lucht's book, Darkness Before Daybreak: African Migrants Living on the Margins in Southern Italy Today, Olivier Jobard's photo essay From Cameroon to France: Travel Journal of a Clandestine Immigrant and The Cuba Rafter Phenomenon: A Unique Sea Exodus, a web resource developed in a joint effort by scholars from the University of Miami, Florida International University and St. Thomas University. More on each of these below.

In Darkness Before Daybreak, Hans Lucht examines the trajectories, experiences and life-worlds of Ghanaian fishermen residing illegally in Naples, Italy. It provides an empirically rich and analytically sound examination of high-risk migration from Ghana to Italy, where the failure of globalisation in interconnecting all segments of the world population and migrants’ understandings of their own lives and fates are made central and provide for an extremely clear and engaging read. Click here for more information on the book.

Another work worth checking is Olivier Jobard's powerful photo essay From Cameroon to France: Travel Journal of a Clandestine Immigrant. In 2004 Jobard followed one migrant across the high-risk journey from Cameroon to France. Jobarb’s work has been published by Marval Publishers in France, and the photo essay of this  migration story is available at Open Society Foundations.

The Cuba Rafter Phenomenon: A Unique Sea Exodus is a website developed from the work of three scholars: Holly Ackerman (University of Miami), Maria Domínguez (St. Thomas University) and Damián Fernández (Florida International University). With a strong visual component, The Cuba Rafter Phenomenon works as a digital archive that documents the experiences of those who left Cuba during the raft crisis in 1994.

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