In the paradisiac landscape of the Azure Coast, where the Alps reach the Mediterranean Sea, in the land of the all-powerful sun, there is something wrong. I first thought they are tourists enjoying the beauty of these places. But alas, at a closer look, they seemed in pain. They were not ecstatic at all before the greatness of the natural world. It took me some time to put pieces together and understand that these people are coming from North Africa or the Middle East, probably along Italy or perhaps through the Balkans, and they are here in Ventimiglia knocking at the gate of France. These are migrants and it is for the first time I see them in reality.

They live in tents. They are probably hungry. Behind them in the second photo it’s the old town of Ventimiglia, with the fortress on top and luxury ships seen to the center-left part of the image (the white spheres are actually the radars on the ships). There are two contrasts in the image: the old European civilization versus the African or Arabian newcomers and the opulence of the rich people versus the poverty of these folks who probably have nothing.

Nowhere ever before had I seen such a polarization rich-poor as the one I see here on the Azure Coast; the magnitude is unbelievable. Also, my feeling (perception) is that about 70% of the general population of Southern France is made of strata over strata of migrants and their descendants. Therefore, before concluding this article that touches many chords I do not feel comfortable to touch, I invite you to an exercise of imagination: let’s imagine that the 2 migrants you see pictured in this article will have 2 different fates: one of them will become the caregiver or the nurse or the doctor who will look after you when you will be old, while the other one will marry your daughter or some other teenager from your close family; a third one who is missing from the image will carry out a suicide bomb attack that is going to kill a loved one from your extended family. Now, after having this situation in your mind, I invite you to ponder on the complexity of the migrant issue and on its consequences, knowing that it is not easy or stress-free. For the record, I am a migrant myself… an European one…