I’m away from home and family, sitting in the TV room on the Topaz Responder, a migrant rescue ship that’s operated by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) off the coast of Libya. Deteriorating weather means we’re unlikely to see any activity over the next couple of days. My daughter’s trying to call me on Skype and several other VOIPs to wish me a Happy Father’s Day, without much success so far. I’m thinking of my own dad of course, now long gone though it still feels like yesterday. But, being on a migrant rescue ship, I’m also finding myself thinking back to all the fathers I’ve photographed with their children as they make what can best be described as a biblical journey driven by unimaginable fear and desperation. I’m in awe of these people who’d risk their own lives to protect and seek a safer future for their children. Yes, in doing so, they’re also risking the children’s lives, and sometimes it does go terribly and tragically wrong, but who wouldn’t do the same if faced with the same situation? It just goes to show how desperate their situation is, and reduces to ridicule the notion some people have that these migrants are simply embarking on these journeys for economic reasons.
I’m partly inspired to do this post because of a similar feature I read last week in the Huffington Post (which also featured some of my work).