With the worst migrant capsizing occurring last week, with nearly 900 dead, the work of photographer Juan Medina is being revisited. Medina took award-winning photos of migrants’ struggles to survive back in 2004, but now, he discusses the stories behind the photos.
Tragically, Medina, who has been covering this issue for the last two decades, says that migrants are traveling — and dying — in much the same way as the enslaved did centuries before.
“Throughout history it’s thanks to photographs or articles that we know what has happened – so we know that at the end of the 20th Century and the turn of the 21st Century people travelled to the gates of Europe in much the same way slaves did in the 17th Century.
“Many of them would have drowned at sea too, squashed into makeshift boats that would sink.” And of the Africans who died during that incident, Medina says, “Twenty-nine of them were rescued. Nine died. The people on board were all men. Many came from Mali, some from Ivory Coast, and some from Ghana.”