“Hungarian fashion photographer Norbert Baksa has come under fire for a refugee-themed fashion photo shoot he conceptualized and shot at the Hungarian border. “Der Migrant,” which features models wearing headscarves and designer duds before a backdrop of barbed wire fences, was released on the photographer’s personal website and Twitter account last week to predictably less-than-stellar reviews.
“My sister has asked me what my perspective is on the death of thousands of refugees in Europe this summer. Herewith.
There is obviously a spatial aspect to the immigration crisis unfolding in Europe. The question is whether there is also an answer to be found in the framing, forming, and allocation of space.
Some in the U.S. today have proposed following the examples of the former East Germany and Israel by enclosing the space it considers theirs. Hungary would like to do the same thing, building a fence towards the border with the former Yugoslavia. History teaches us that such restrictions only work if they are part of a regime of oppression in which the state completely controls every room and nook of daily life. Spatial control has to be complete or resistance will form both at its edges and in the cracks where the inner life of the self connects with others to open up a social space…”
From the LA Times:
“The Vatican has said that Pope Francis’ journey through Mexico, which takes him from the southern state of Chiapas to the northern border with Texas, symbolically traces the route of migrants trying to reach the United States.
Five Central American migrants attempting that journey reflect on their faith and the pope’s visit and explain why they left their homelands. They asked that their last names be withheld because they crossed into Mexico illegally and fear gangs will retaliate against their families back home.
Daniel, 45, Honduras
Translation: “I feel happiness, and I feel as if I’m closer to the help that God gives to migrants, because I believe in that, because I believe in the Catholic Church and in God. I have always believed that the pope is a disciple of God on Earth — no, he is the maximum authority of God on Earth — and he’s also a disciple of God, a missionary of love and peace.”
Daniel used to own a little farm in the Honduran countryside. He raised chickens, cows and pigs, and grew vegetables and fruit to feed his family. But over time, he’d sold a chicken here, a piece of land there, to fund the education of his three children.
“It happened slowly,” he said. When he was a child, Daniel’s parents didn’t have the money for him to continue his studies. As he watched his land and animals being depleted, he accepted that the cost if it meant his kids would have something different. “I was left with practically nothing. But it doesn’t bother me, because I’m a responsible father, you know? I did it all for my kids.
“Every one of us who leaves our country has a story, a bitter story, you understand?”
Maziad Aloush, a former school teacher fleeing the Syrian war, led his band of refugees through five countries—across the Mediterranean sea and through forests and around mountains—before they eventually disbanded near the border of Austria and Germany. Like so many of the hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring into Europe to escape war and deprivation, he documented his journey in real-time on Instagram.
In several posts on the photograph-sharing app, Maziad showed a different side of the arduous journey than what Western audiences are usually exposed to. A group of young men, who could easily be mistaken for hikers on a particularly difficult trail – tired but full of life – pose for photos that pepper Maziad’s Instagram feed. And though it is true that refugees and migrants often face life-threatening deprivation, the images are a stark contrast to photographs typically depicted in the media, which often show them in distress, or living in poverty.
Smartphones are a staple in this migration, as they allow migrants to communicate with international agencies, according to a recent New York Times report. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has given out 33,000 SIM cards to Syrian refugees in Jordan and 85,704 solar lanterns for cellphone charging, theTimes reported.
Smartphones also help keep friends and family up to date. Messaging tools like WhatsApp allow easy and instant communication in what can be high-pressure situations, and built-in GPS can open new paths to crossing unchartered, and likely treacherous, territory. Beyond that, some Facebook groups help facilitate border crossings—being able to connect with those groups instantaneously can mean the difference between making it across and not.
Read the full article here.
They ran in the dark towards the Austria-Hungary border. Some had flashlights. Some scampered through the shadows. Some were registered under UN regulations, others were not. They did not know where they were going and they did not know what would happen to them. They ran, hungry, thirsty and blind.
This was the scene when a train of refugees stopped in Hungary and the refugees were ‘escorted’ to the border by the Hungarian police. It’s enough to make humanity scream.
The refugee experience in disparate regions of Europe is quite varied. Besides bodies washing up on beaches and being forced to run in the dark, there is a section of Syrian refugees which has made use of social media to make the migratory journey somewhat more organised. CNN’s Ivan Watson noted that Syrian youth is making use of the internet, Facebook in particular, to issue distress calls while they’re at sea. They have the phone numbers of the Greek and Turkish police and once they arrive at their desired destination, they know exactly where to go and what to do.
Read the full article here.
But the wave of migrants washing up on these shores display a level of tech savvy coordination that has caught even veteran aid workers by surprise.
“There’s a lot of technology… the level of organization that I see here in this context is new,” said Alessandra Morelli, an official with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees with experience working in previous humanitarian crises.
“When they arrive, they know exactly where they have to go, who they have to talk to. They know what to buy,” she explained. “Facebook indeed is playing an incredible role.”
Read the full article here.
The Journeys exhibition at the CCA takes a different perspective: how movements impact on the environment. Examples range from the coconut that can drift freely on the ocean current and re-seed wherever it finds land, to government-enforced relocation, the uprooting and rearranging of communities in a way that changes landscape and society forever.
“There are 2,771 crosses, so 2,771 human remains since 2000,” says Cristen Vernon Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Missing Migrant Hotline coordinator for Derechos Humanos. That number, she says, only accounts for a fraction of those who have died along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. More than 6,330 people have died along the southwest border with Mexico since 1998, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Coalición de Derechos Humanos began fielding calls in the late ’90s, and has since developed a missing migrant hotline for families who seek help locating missing loved ones who have attempted to cross the desert.
In November 2013, they started monitoring the hotline 24 hours a day, mobilizing rapid responses to emergency calls or providing families with information.”
Read more on the Arizona Sonora News blog.
Leo Chavez, UCI professor of anthropology and Chicano/Latino studies, has been researching immigration for more than 25 years. He has written a book on the ways immigrants are represented in the media and popular discourse in the U.S. Video by Kerrin Piche Serna, University Communications.
Are Latinos a threat to the U.S.?
by Erin Carlyle
Growing up in Orange and Los Angeles Counties, Leo Chavez never felt less than fully American.
After all, his father’s family came to America from Spain in the early 1600s and his mother’s joined them from Mexico fourgenerations ago. His family claims as its ancestor the first Chavez to settle in the American Southwest.
But over the past few decades, Chavez, a 57-year-old anthropology professor at UC Irvine, has watched with alarm as portrayal of Latinos has pervaded popular culture and seeped into political discourse. Chavez calls this portrayal the“Latino Threat”and it goes something like this:
Latinos are a threat to the nation. Latinos have too many babies. Latinos can’t or won’t learn English. Latinos refuse to integrate. Latinos are replicating their own culture in the U.S. Latinos are part of a conspiracy to take over the American Southwest.
“The whole point of setting the border between Mexico and the United States at the deepest channel of the Rio Grande was that the river was not supposed to move. That was the thinking in 1848, when, following Mexico’s defeat by the United States and surrender of its vast northern lands, boundary surveyors from the two countries were tasked with reinventing the border. The choice of the river for the boundary’s eastern half had been obvious: its use as a territorial marker stretched back into the region’s Spanish colonial past, and it was hard to miss and often difficult to cross. But even as he filed his report on the completed boundary survey, in 1856, Major William Emory cautioned that the river might be an unreliable partner in border making. “The bed of the river sometimes changes,” he wrote, “and transfers considerable portions of land from one side to the other.”
Continue reading this article here.