by Andy Rocchelli, Gabriele Stabile
Since February 17th, more than 190,000 people have fled Libya; Half of them—roughly 105,000—have passed through the border as Ras Ajdir, entering Tunisia through a low blue gate, no bigger than three meters wide. 200,000 more are projected to follow suit. Additionally, there are 2.5 million of foreign workers trapped in Libya who, if the conflict rages on, will spark an even bigger humanitarian crisis. This crowd of foreign workers—Egyptians, Bangladeshi, Vietnamese, Chinese, Ghanese, for the most part—represent a kaleidoscopic representation of the exploited people of the earth: a compendium of the underdogs. These men have been forced to leave their minimum-wage jobs only to go back home empty handed, to the nothing they had left behind. The frontier of Ras Ajdir is rapidly transitioning into an open-air refugee camp stretching well inside Tunisia; Blanket after blanket, tent after tent, for kilometers. Random gunshots and explosion echo from the east, plumes of smoke can be seen in the distance and Tripoli only two hours away, seems very far. The border is closed. The border is behind us. The border is a state of mind. Refugees wrap their belongings in blankets, wearing all they can on themselves, and pack their misery too, as they walk from the frontier to the camp and back. Many have managed to leave, and go back to their countries of origin, but many more arrive every day: fleeing war, leaving uncertainties behind for an even more uncertain future.
See also Springtime and ADO