Situated in southeastern Tunisia, on the edge of the Mediterranean, the "Graveyard for the Anonymous" stands as a stark reminder of an emergency that ensnares the youth of my native continent.
Sub-Saharans are sometimes forced to flee situations that become unbearable. Their departure is marked by a poignant paradox – fleeing from the accustomed in search of hope, yet knowingly treading a path riddled with obstacles, uncertainties, and the looming shadow of desolation.
Chemseddine is the guardian of these nameless souls in his dedication to burying each deceased person with dignity. He endeavors to give them the recognition they may have lacked in life, seeing one immigrant as no different from another. His unwavering commitment is an act of respect and a powerful expression of our shared humanity. Chemseddine's actions are woven into my own quest for the familiar. Every unmarked grave he tends to, every soul he honors, echoes my reflections on identity and belonging.
Tunisia is also home to survivors who braved unspeakable hardships, from traversing treacherous terrains and confronting the unpredictable moods of the Mediterranean to evading the clutches of traffickers. The failure of their attempts to reach Europe is a stark reminder of unfulfilled dreams. The weight of disappointed hopes manifests itself in a state of inertia, where past traumas replay as haunting echoes, making the present almost unbearable.
In this intimate and documentary photographic project, a clear pattern emerged for me: the ramifications of these intertwined destinies appearing as a visual shape of desolation. The harrowing migration trajectory that obsessively beckons the youth of Africa becomes evident. Their aspirations and dreams emerge as a raw, unfiltered chronicle of the challenges many young Sub-Saharan face in their pursuit of perceived betterment.
@ Kamel Moussa. Copyright 2023. All Rights Reserved.
It is in this sinister place that smugglers detain migrants until the conditions of departure are met. Until the fateful moment when immigrants are finally transported to the boat.
Amandin and his wife, Rose-Marie, had decided to leave their native country for a better life in Europe. They took the risk of crossing the Mediterranean by unsavory boat. The crossing was dramatic. Amandin had been able to hang onto a safety rope, but Rose Marie, unfortunately, did not survive.
Three years later, Amandin becomes aware of the Graveyard for Anonymous. Located in Zarzis. The tomb of his late wife is the only one with a name: Rose Marie.
Beside the tomb of his beloved, Amandin watered the flowers planted by Chemseddine. And he recited prayers to strengthen the bond between them.
At first, Chamseddine Marzoug and his friends dug holes in the sand to bury the bodies accumulating on the beaches. But, this method proved insufficient to offer a dignified burial to all the deceased. Thus, the cemetery was born, a space dedicated to the memory of the victims of clandestine migration.
The perception of being suspended, anticipating, or resigning. An expectation of what has already happened and what is yet to come.
Graveyard for the Anonymous: Interlace
A solitary Sign of the hand becomes a narrative between rooting and ephemeral.
Through his portrait, we can see that the scars covering his skin are either a painful declaration of his sovereignty over himself or relics of his belongings.