Monday, February 24, 2014

Phone Home

When I first saw this photo I thought it was a staged image for something akin to Close Encounters of the Third Kind or ET. It is actually an award winning shot by John Stanmeyer called Signals. It was named the 2013 World Press Photo of the Year and it depicts asylum seekers in Djiboutii trying to capture phone signals to connect with loved ones in other countries

Stanmeyer describes it:

Immediately I was astonished by what we were witnessing — the innate desire we all have as humans to reconnect home. Over the following few days I would revisit this stretch of beach where each night there would be a new gathering of men and women waiting for that moment when all the natural layers would combine.

Speaking to many of them, the stories were always the same: the desire to reconnect to family, asking for remittance or updates on emigration papers from family living in Europe. Not all attempts to catch the signal were fulfilled. Some would stand in one place for 20 to 30 minutes, waiting for their phone to grab the faint signal that never appeared, only to return another evening to try once more.

When we hear as Christians the statistics on the refugees, displaced persons, asylum seekers of the world it is hard to grasp the magnitude, let alone the human stories attached to the figures. What can we do as people of faith to make a difference for those unnamed millions? This image is both other-worldly and very down to earth. It has a spiritual quality which can speak to us and encourage us to respond.




roger said...

I feel helpless, and even hopeless, at the sheer numbers of people who are displaced or forced to flee their countries because of war or political upheaval. When you hear about "hundreds of thousands" in this country and that country, you just can't wrap your mind around how many people live in despair.

I guess one thing we can do is to pressure our government to exert pressure on those countries that disregard human rights. Unfortunately, that seems to often be ineffectual.

Judy Mcknight said...

Sometimes the best - and only - thing we can do is pray ... but there has to be a way to speak out - and a vehicle through which to do so, which will be heard and respected...we have no idea how blessed we are , living in Canada.