El Viaje Zine

 Zine of a comic originally published in the anthology CCOOMICS 2019, edited by the CCOO de Catalunya.
April 2019

This story is loosely based on the life of Sani Ladan, a human rights activist who immigrated from Cameroon to Spain in 2011. He started his journey in 2009, when he was 17, attempting to attend university in Nigeria. On the way there from neighboring country Cameroon, Ladan was robbed of all his papers and university tuition money. This is when he decided to travel to Spain.

Ladan then passed through the Sahara. He says, “We talk a lot about those who die in the Mediterranean, and I’ve asked myself many times: What happens to those who die in the desert? There are barely any numbers of those who pass away in the desert. But I can assure you that whoever has passed through the Sahara knows the real amount of how many people have left their lives there.”

Ladan passed through Algeria and Morocco and swam across the border at Playa de Tarajal to arrive in Ceuta, Spain. He then applied to la Universidad Loyola Andalucía where he obtained a degree in International Relations.

You can listen to his entire story here.

The story also incorporates the events that occurred during the Tragedy of Tarajal. In 2014, a wave of between 200 to 300 people, mostly from subsaharan Africa, tried swim past the border between Morocco and Ceuta, Spain. The Spanish Civil Guard fired rubber bullets at the swimmers in an attempt to force them to turn back. Fourteen of them drowned and 23 were sent back to Morocco after being detained once on Spanish soil.

The Secretary of State for Security, Francisco Martínez, told Congress that Civil Guard officers had used “anti-riot equipment” to stop the migrants reaching Spain, firing 145 rubber bullets and five smoke canisters.

We know that Spanish officials fired at the people in the water, who were also being pursued by a Moroccan patrol, but we don’t know their names, or who gave the order.

Martínez emphasized that none of the men who reached the Spanish shore were injured and that the Civil Guard had only fired when people were still in Moroccan waters. But why did no one try to rescue those who were drowning?

This comic was originally published in the anthology CCOOMICS 2019, edited by the CCOO de Catalunya.