The Immigrant Caravan
Portraits of Freedom Seekers in Mexico
It started with an ending–a bus terminal in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. A group of 160 civilians planned to flee the graveyard of their homes on October 12. Their lives in Honduras proved brittle structures under the weight of violence and economic turmoil and the only answer was to leave.
By October 13, their numbers passed 1,000. In the two weeks since, they crossed Guatemala and reached Mexico; in that same period of time, President Donald Trump abducted the migrants’ very survival as a cause célèbre, and a means to energize his own pawns. In addition to the thousands of men, women and children fighting for the right to breathe, journalists flocked to South America to keep a steady light shining on the truth of the situation.
It’s nothing like Rush Limbaugh would have you believe, friends, but it’s exactly like witnessing the murders of your loved ones while watching guerrilla militants burn your home to ashes.
We tracked down two photographers whose work you need to see: Esteban Biba and Pedro Pardo. They’re walking the road north alongside the caravan, documenting its truths in ways that the news cycle can’t spin.
A young couples interlaces fingers in spite of the heat, as if to remind one another of what is “real,” what is “now” and “here.”
A mother holds her son close as he fends off a dream no worse than the nightmare of being awake.
While the people ford a murky, chest-deep river, they doesn’t ask you to physically smell their unwashed bodies. Photos don’t require you to scratch the bug bites that come from sleeping outdoors for weeks at a time. Two-dimensional images let you be deaf to the growls of hungry bellies and the mewling of exhausted children. You, baby, you get to be detached. Those guns aren’t pointed at you, they’re just urging some strangers along.
These are all static images on a screen. This is all a movie you get to leave in a few minutes, and there’s clean indoor plumbing waiting for you when you’re done, right? Hell, there probably isn’t even a line.
These two photographers spared you the bloodiest bits–imagery that would flay the reasons why thousands of people find it safer to run to the unknown than to stay where they were born–but their photographs captured the last, most beautiful shred of humanity driving the migrants onward. They captured hope.
Remember Biba’s and Pardo’s mercy as you sit with these images, and remember that you have more choices in life than the ones on the ballot next Tuesday.
Until then, the world’s leaders capsize in the quicksand of their own fury and revulsion–America first.