Een typische vluchteling?

Photo Dirk-Jan Visser / Brussels - Belgium: 18-07-2009: Fakhreddine is locked in the occupied building after organizers of the squat close the door for the night. Fakhreddine Ayyadh, 28, from Oujda, Morocco has spent the past 11 years living in illegality in Europe. For him, Belgium is one of the most tolerant states for illegal immigrants. Having lived there since 2003, he now hopes to receive his papers allowing him indefinite stay in Europe. Fakhreddine first left Morocco seeking to eke out a better future for himself and his family, hoping to send back money to them in Oujda. His mother although claims to have never received any money from him. The reasons behind Fakhreddine's departure paint an altogether different story. They claim he was unable to cope with the realities at home, traumatised by the divorce of his mother and alcoholic father, and even attempted to commit suicide. By leaving he was convinced that life in Europe would be better for him. As a child, Fakhreddine would regularly suffer from stomach pains his mother told me. Now in Belgium, this was diagnosed as Crohn’s disease, a disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, which requires constant medication. Such medicines are hard to find in Morocco and prohibitively expensive. Fahkreddine receives them for free via a NGO in Belgium. So for him, because of these medicines, returning home is not an option. There is also the concern that Fakhreddine would find it hard, if not impossible to cope with life at home in Oujda, that his old traumas will return. Fakhreddine's situation is further complicated by his mother's new husband who considers him a dropout and a junky. His aunt says that her new husband does not want him to return, despite the fact his mother misses him. Because she and her other children are financially dependent on her new husband, the only hope left for Fakhreddine is that he will eventually find his footing and make a new life for himself in Europe. On May 18th Fa Visser, Dirk-Jan

Dit is het oog van Fakhredinne. De 28-jarige Marokkaan woont illegaal in Brussel en voorziet in zijn levensonderhoud door te stelen. Hij heeft psychische problemen, wordt regelmatig overvallen door epileptische aanvallen en lijdt aan de ziekte van Crohn, een chronische ontsteking van het darmkanaal.

Fotograaf Dirk-Jan Visser leerde hem kennen in juni, in een gekraakt Fortis-kantoor in de Brusselse binnenstad. Daar waren ongeveer 650 illegalen in hongerstaking gegaan om de Belgische regering te bewegen hen van verblijfsvergunningen te voorzien.

Visser wilde zijn eigen stereotypische opvatting (‘economische vluchteling’) op de proef stellen en besloot Fakhrendinne’s familie op te zoeken in Marokko. Dat bleek een vrij welvarende en liefdevolle familie. Waarom is Fakhredinne ooit naar Brussel gegaan, als zijn leven daar zo veel slechter is?

Visser is een van de twaalf persfotografen die de afgelopen week deelnam aan de Joop Swart Masterclass van World Press Photo, de Amsterdamse organisatie die jaarlijks prijzen voor de beste persfoto’s ter wereld uitreikt.

Samen met zes ‘meesters’ uit het vak (o.a. Philip Blenkinsop en Giorgia Fiorio) bespraken ze ethische en morele aspecten van persfotografie. Van hun werk werd het fotoboek Touch samengesteld, met onder andere foto’s van Fakhredinne en het verslag van Dirk-Jans reis naar Marokko.

Kijk voor meer informatie over Touch op nrcnext.nl/links.