“You Have to Blow” Studies Refugee Rehabilitation in Lesbos
“You Have to Blow” is a series by French photographer Romain Baro that studies the impact of refugees crossing the Aegean Sea into the Greek island of Lesbos. Baro writes that, in 2016, more than 5,100 migrants—many who come from Central Africa or Afghanistan and have never seen an ocean before—were estimated to have died in the Mediterranean Sea, resulting in corpses washing up on the shores of islands like Lesbos. “Inhabitants have decided to react,” Baro explains. “They have built, in haste, a makeshift cemetery inland” which lays to rest both identified and unidentified bodies. Island inhabitants have also and welcomed those who survived the journey.
Refugees who make their way to Lesbos often reside near the beach, Baro says. “They try to go back close to water and, with the help of NGO volunteers, both children and adults learn how to swim to get over their trauma and to start to live again. To remain with dignity. The inexorable refugee’s wait is forgotten for a short time. Among the waves, they can breath and also move forward.”
All photos © Romain Baro