Times har publicerat ett långt reportage från afrikanska migranters utgångspunkt. Det handlar om den riskfyllda resan från en hopplös situation i hemlandet till drömmarnas Europa. Reportern Dan Macdougall intervjuar bland annat en storebror till några bröder som försökte sig på resan till Europa, men drunknade på vägen.
“In The Gambia young men and women no longer think of school. If you take the traditional route through education, as I did, you go up the stairs slowly, step by step. But if you leave for Europe through the desert or by the sea it is the equivalent of travelling on an elevator. I walk into one of my classrooms and ask the children, boys and girls, 12-year-olds, how many have brothers or sisters in Europe. They will all put their hands up.
I then ask them how many want to follow and I get the same reply. All the hands in the air. I am a headmaster yet I earn a monthly salary of 3,000 dalasi [about £67]. My neighbour’s brother supports his entire family, 47 people, selling handbags and watches in a London market. He sends home £350 a month. Here that can support everyone. It can build a brick home. My home is mud-block — when the rains come there is nothing left of our floor.” He added: “My four brothers sat here and looked at a map and they kept coming back to Libya, they kept tracing the route across the desert with their fingers. We all took part in the decision. When they left we knew the risks were high, but for four of them to die in one boat is too much to take. Now their widows float among us like the living dead, lost in their grief; their children’s faces are a permanent reminder to us of what we have lost. Look around you. Our family is now destitute.”