Klaus Brinkbäumer

The dream of life: An African odyssey

Klaus Brinkbäumer
Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer, 2006
286 S.
ISBN 3-10-005103-3

In September 2005, when thousands of African migrants tried to storm the barbed wire fences around the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta and were violently pushed back by Military and Police into the Moroccan desert, the journalist Klaus Brinkbäumer researched the background of these events for the Spiegel. What he discovered motivated him to learn more about these tragedies that still take place in front of the entrance to "Fort Europe". Reports of stranded or shipwrecked refugee boats on the Spanish coast, at Lampedusa, Malta or the Canary Islands, reports about corpses drifting to the shores of those that did not make it have now become everyday occurrences. Nevertheless, there are no indications that the attempts by Africans to reach the supposed paradise of Europe are flagging.

How despondent must one be, wonders Brinkbäumer, to leave one's homeland, one's family and children and to incur such exertions and risks. He wanted to get to the bottom of these questions. He rejected his original idea to accompany refugees on their long and hard journey from West Africa through the Sahara to the Spanish enclaves so as not to influence the situation by the presence of European journalists. Instead of this, he reconstructed the nearly five year long refugee experience of the Ghanaian John Ampan along with the photographer, Markus Matzel, and together all three of them retraced Ampan's steps on the long and difficult journey from Ghana through the Sahara to the Spanish coast.

Klaus Brinkbäumer:
Der Traum vom Leben: Eine afrikanische Odysee
(The dream of life: An African odyssey)

The report of this real life journey is not only exciting to read. It brings the reader close to the people and their problems, without attempting to offer a solution where simple solutions are simply not available.More ...