As an editorial this week, we decided to publish a message from one of our readers, Roberto Neumiller, about his incredible story of how a photo he took in the Sahel in 2006 is today used by far-right websites to denounce the massive arrival of illegal immigrants in France.
I’m tired of having this photo stolen by groups claiming that France and Belgium should be reserved for the “real French” and “real Belgians.” Not only do they play fast and loose with the concept of ownership, they’ll say anything to get their way. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s the truth. Take this photo I shot in Nigeria of people “carpooling.” They’ve used it as a representation of the hordes of “invaders” coming to pillage France.
So now I’m asking myself: how do I get them to take it down?
Here’s the original caption to the image.
“The journey begins in Tommo on the Libyan border and goes through Agades, Niger, which serves as a hub for black migrants to Central and West Africa (2006). It’s an odyssey of over 2500 kilometers. The trucks only stop a few hours per day on a journey that lasts between ten and fifteen difficult days. The temperature ranges from 45° Celsius to -2° at night. In sub-Saharan Africa, they call these kinds of trucks ‘ten-wheels’ or ‘cathedral trucks.’ Nearly 200 workers are perched atop this one. They are returning home to Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali and elsewhere. They were all coming from Libya (back when Gaddafi was still in power), where they worked jobs that Libyans didn’t want to do themselves. Since they were paid in Libyan dinars, which couldn’t be exchanged for the CFA franc, they’ve bought various goods—bicycles, televisions, radios, sewing machines—to sell back in their home countries… You might say that they’re ‘wealthy traders’ returning home.’”
And here are three of the thieves: