On June 24th, Spanish and Moroccan police along the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla shot and killed 37 unarmed African migrants and injured 200 more. 2,000 Africans, mainly from Sudan, sought to reach Melilla in pursuit of a better life, resulting in bloodshed. The event was reported as "the slaughter of Melilla" in Spanish media outlets.
Melilla is a popular crossing place for illegal immigrants seeking to reach Europe. An 8-kilometer-long razor-wire barrier stands in their way. Built in the 1990s to curb illicit trade, the 6-meter-tall wall is now the primary obstacle for thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa hoping to reach Europe.
Throughout its history, Melilla has served as a hub for military and commercial activity between Africa and Europe. It is Europe in Africa, a colonial outpost whose existence has caused decade-long debates between Morocco and Spain about who should govern the territory. Now, at the forefront of the migration crisis, these debates are changing. In the months after the massacre, questions abound about whose side the migrants are dying on and who should take ultimate responsibility for them.
Using the first-hand accounts of surviving migrants and law enforcement officers, set against a peculiar European enclave in the epicentre of the migratory wave, Bremner writes a deeply reported, narrative long-form piece about an underreported tragedy and provides a nuanced perspective on one the biggest and most important stories of our age: migration.