A week ago there was yet another news item on a disaster with Haitian boat migrants of the Caicos Islands in the midst of what is for many people the period of their summer holidays. Over one hundred people drowned in the water of what is elsewhere often described as a Caribbean Paradise. Recently I have started to study (again) the migration question and so I had discovered some video footage at the web site of the American Coast Guard – dating back to 2007 – showing a primitive overloaded sailing boat full of migrants in full sea. The video footage is just after first contact between the migrant-boat and the coast guard and as a standard precaution procedure swimming vests are given to all boat people first. So what you see in the work below is already a tiny bit more safe as the actual situation with a boat full of people without any safety equipment and many who can not swim.
What gripped me the most was that the people on the boat – in spite of having been discovered and under threat to be send back – were all singing to a rhythm beaten on a djembe drum. And in my mind’s eye I combined this scene with the promising imagery of tourist flyers. What can be seen on the simple documented web page made for this purpose is but a primitive rendering of such a vision… You can click the image above to see the first of a series of holidays 2009 ‘tableaux vivants’: “caribbean Paradise Tragedy”.
NB You can stop the looping video on the tableau vivant web site by clicking the moving image.