'This work is about people on the run. For almost seven years I have
followed in their footsteps - marked by war and unbearable
anxieties, but also by hopes and aspirations. This pursuit
has taken me to a refugee camp in Congo, to an earthen
hut in Bangladesh, to a slum in Colombia and to a disused
kindergarten in Georgia.
I met 20-year-old Mustafa Rashid Hassan from
Somalia, who swam for his life from a boat in the Gulf of Aden
while 40 other refugees drowned around him. I encountered
25-year-old Hategekimana Zabayo from the Democratic
Republic of Congo, who was so starved and hungry that he
opted to return to the village he had fled to look for food. Rebels
were lurking in the banana grove; they attacked Hategekimana
with machetes and he ran for his life back through the jungle.
I have borne witness to the despair shared by all people fleeing
war, persecution and abject poverty. I have also seen and
experienced their strength and faith.
In Georgia, they dream
about returning home some day to their fruit orchards. In Syria,
an Iraqi man started a cafe just like the one he had in Baghdad.
It is renowned for its kebabs and one day he hopes to reopen
it in his homeland.
I have heard laughter from hundreds
of children. I have witnessed aid organizations providing
education, health care, shelter and food, which helps sustain
the 43.2 million people who are displaced from their homes.
They survive on this assistance and their belief that war will
end, that wrong-doers will soon be brought to justice or that
a regime will fall. I have visited regions teeming with millions
of displaced people and travelled to countries that many
When the TV crews have left, the lives of
these people continue. Displaced people are not a sudden
catastrophe, but a tragedy that plays out day after day,
year after year.
A lack of purpose and action by the global
community and politicians has now given us the highest
number of people displaced for a decade. Too many of them
will be left to their own devices, with their own governments
as onlookers to injustice and murder, shrugging in response
to the persecution and killings.
In this book you can read
and see their stories as told to and witnessed by me. I have
followed in these peoples' footsteps - the same footsteps
that one day they will follow back home.' Espen Rasmussen, 2011
Espen Rasmussen's book TRANSIT is published by Dewi Lewis Publishing to coincide with a major exhibition at The Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo from 13 May to 22 January 2012. The exhibition then will tour internationally. UK dates to be confirmed.
Click HERE to view an interactive website with information, pictures and multimedia items about the project.
Click here to buy a copy of the book on Amazon.