At sea is a story of a migrant girl, Ngozi, and her journey from Nigeria to Libya, and from there to Italy. Like my previous stories, it is a work of fact and fiction. I have researched interviews with migrants and weaved parts of their experiences and personal stories into Ngozi’s story. At Sea gives an outline of the existing political and economic reality of migrants in Libya, Africa; however, the story has been written for older children. Each child is different, therefore I will let you decide the age of the children you wish to share it with.
When I read the note that UK-based artist Banksy sent to Pia Klemp, activist and captain of several NGO boats that had rescued migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, I was inspired to research the struggle of migrants and refugees in Africa.
In his note, Banksy wrote: “I am an artist from the UK and I’ve made some work about the migrant crisis, obviously I can’t keep the money. Could you use it to buy a new boat or something? Please let me know. Well done. Banksy.”
With splashes of pink and Banksy artwork—a young girl with a heart-shaped buoy (similar to his famous Girl with Balloon mural), The Louise Michel makes a statement just like Banksy’s graffiti. The boat and crew rescued approximately 350 people in less than a week since they set sail.
The Louise Michel’s rescue work is an expression of solidarity and responsibility, as is clear from Banksy’s note and is evident in Pia Klemp’s outlook on rescue missions. She said: “I don’t look at sea rescue as a humanitarian action, but as part of an anti-fascist fight.”
Fascism isn’t just a political ideology, it is deeply rooted in greed. No more than the greed of capitalist and mixed economies that in their hunger for natural resources (aka oil, gas, and minerals) feed fascist regimes and militia.
Generosity may be the only qualified response to greed—both fascist and capitalist. Generosity in thought, in stance, and in our choices, as exhibited by Banksy and Klemp, not to be confused with humanitarian handouts that are at best charity from the haves to the have-nots.
When we allow greed to destroy the dignity of all, by taking away the right to live safely and securely, we pull apart the fabric of life—our life included. We need to take a stand, not by embracing a particular ideology, but by moving beyond ideologies to extend a heart-shaped buoy.
Click on the image above to access the e-book. It’s for all to read.
At Sea is a sensitive account of a Nigerian refugee. The short narrative conveys much more in between the lines. Neha, it is a joy to read your books. Nirmala Ganla , Pune .