Back Way Travelers

Women in illegal migration

Ever heard of the expression “Barça wala Barsakh”? Only a handful of people will understand this, but as I dive into details most of you will get the point. The slogan basically translates to Barça (as in Barcelona) or Death meaning they will rather die or risk their lives than being denied access to Europe. I first heard this slogan in the early 2000’s when the teacher walked into the classroom, wrote it on the board, then proceeded to request that we the students reflect on it and get back to him after a few minutes. Thirty minutes later of intense discussion the class opinions were obviously divided with solid reasons to backup each belief. During these brainstorming sessions not once were women ever mentioned in the discussions, my teenage self clearly concluded that it was a thing for men.

The discussion that day was solely based on the male child, the pressure that the society puts on them to succeed no matter what, how being a man is defined by your ability to endure hardship in order to provide for the people under your care & much more. Our young minds (at least mine) didn’t for a second think women were also involved. According to researches conducted, international migrants have considerably increased to approximatively 244 million (Still increasing daily), and half of them are women. It’s unconceivable that the percentage of women with their infants, underage children crossing illegally under precarious conditions was then not an important topic of discussion in third world countries.

Fast forward to this day, I never remembered that particular incident until recently when I stumbled upon an Instagram reel that certainly bothered me to the core of my being. The video showed a sobbing woman, screaming, losing her mind, with so much pain in her cry for help……her infant died…….what? when? why? how? ……. Those where my first words in a fraction of seconds. To me, it was unthinkable that people, especially women were taking their infants on such journeys.

The reporter then proceeds to narrate the incident with more details, It became clear that the lady had boarded an illegal boat on her way to Europe for a better future, and her infant who was a few months, if not weeks old became ill, the child’s health got worse and couldn’t be helped. Right there, my heart dropped. Someone else had lost their wife, husband, brother, siblings… every single individual inside that boat had a story of their own, even the ones that are traveling alone have at some point gone through a traumatic experience that goes beyond what can be spoken of, the blank stare and look in their eyes said it all.

The rules with some of these boats are simple if anyone dies, they are thrown into the sea to reduce the boat weight. No proper farewell required, just a bitter memory that will scare anyone in their right mind for life and haunt you whenever faced with the sea. The comment section of the reel was divided into groups of people that were:

-Condemning the lady’s choice of traveling with an infant.

-Blaming the governments for not doing much to help the situation.

-Supporting her due to the fact that only a mother can properly care for her own child.

-Blaming her for thinking that she stands a better chance abroad as an illegal migrant.

-Blaming the media for brainwashing people into thinking money grows on trees abroad.

-Listing examples of success stories in third world countries that made it without necessarily traveling abroad…

And the list of opinions goes on and on. All I could do is say a silent prayer for may those that have been thrown in the sea.

Women are exposed to so many ordeals during these journeys, they are cases of prostitutions to bail themselves out of certain situations, rapes resulting in unwanted pregnancies & sexually transmitted diseases, other diseases due to lack of proper and basic hygiene, and much more. I want to believe the lady’s intentions were pure, but is such a risk really worth taking? If you can afford such a trip which I believe is far from cheap, why not start a business with that money and see how it goes from there?

The big question here is, if everyone was to wait for their government to help in order to make something out of their lives, would we ever achieve anything?

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