By Angelo Boccato
During the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) and Silence Hate’s Media Camp in London in April 2018, I was reflecting on how the social, media and political debate tends to sink down to new horrifying depths when African migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are concerned.
While the whole debate is polluted by fake news and misconceptions, and fueled by the far-right agenda, when it comes to African migrants we would hear labels like “invasion”, “economic migrants” and the absurd views that do not only populate the far-right context, but also some of the so-called progressive ones, that Europe does not have the capacity of welcoming everyone.
What is missing? The focus on colonialism and postcolonialism, the context and the stories of those who have died in their journey to Europe and the voices of those who survived.
For this reason, I decided to document the stories of African migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in two former, but still influential capitals of a colonial empire, London and Paris, with the aim of reporting also from other European cities.
My thanks to Safouane Abdessalem, Francois Fameli and Veronica Di Benedetto Montaccini for their suggestions and contacts for the reportage in Paris and to Yann and Gael Manzi and the team of Utopia 56 in Paris for their help in meeting with the people that they assist and help on a daily basis in Paris. My thanks also to Rudy Schulkind of Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) and Celia Clarke, Director at BID for facilitating the interview with Victor in London and providing the insight on the context of detention in the U.K.
Angelo Boccato is a London-based freelance journalist whose work on human rights, migration, social issues, diversity and the far-right has been published in the Independent, Equal Times, Open Migration, Cafebabel and the Italian weekly Internazionale. You can follow him on Twitter @Ang_Bok.