The exhibition “Exodus: Life Stories of Refugees, Migrants and Displaced Persons,” organized by the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) humanitarian group, shows the plight of millions of people uprooted by conflicts in their homelands, which is being almost entirely ignored by mainstream media.
While the cases of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach European shores are more known to the broader public, the situation in South Sudan is not, photojournalist Anna Surinyach told Sputnik Mundo.
“I met people there who had never stayed in one place for more than a year,” said Anna, the author of the photographs at the exhibition. The exhibition is currently taking place in Montevideo.
The situation in South Sudan, where civil war is well into its fourth year, is nothing short of a catastrophe.
An estimated 1.5 million have fled the oil-rich but impoverished East African state to neighboring Uganda since the armed conflict between the forces of President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar flared up in 2013.
Anna Surinyach said that she would never forget the tragedy that befell the country’s second largest city of Malakal. The city’s destruction forced 150,000 of its residents to flee to refugee camps where they live under “inhuman conditions.”
“To see an African city of 150,000 people absolutely deserted with burned down houses and dead bodies strewn in the streets was a sight I will never forget,” Anna said.
She added that many in Europe simply do not know where these migrants come from, why they fled their native countries and what is going on there.
Many believe that these people have come to “take away” their jobs.
“These people are not going to take away anyone’s job. They would have never risked their lives crossing the sea if they hadn’t realized the real danger to themselves and their families,” Anna emphasized.
The exhibition also documents the pain and hardship suffered by migrants from Central America who try to make their way into the United States.
David Cantero Perez, the director of the MSF’s South American office, told Sputnik that these people are often treated as economic migrants.
The “Exodus…” exhibition is an attempt to draw a line between refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants.
“The world is neither white nor black. Not all people who are seen as economic migrants happen to be such and the exhibition is meant to show exactly what these people go through on their way to safety and what is really happening in the countries they come from,” Anna Surinyach concluded.