The above photo was taken by José Palazón, of the migrant rights Pro.De.In group in Morocco on the border between what is officially Morocco and Spain’s enclave of Melilla. This city has been Spanish since its conquest by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand in 1497, and is still acknowledged by the current rulers, who visited in 2007. Morocco, however, has demanded the return of these territories’ as they are a remnant of the colonial past. Spain arguing that since it owned them before Morocco gained independence from France (1956) they are Spanish by right. The region is absent from the UN list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, while other areas in the region, such as Gibraltar (UK-governed, Spanish claim), are.
This image shows migrants from across Africa attempted to enter Europe by climbing the fence marking the border, which on the Spanish side has the Club Campo de Golf en Melilla, a public golf club where a single game can cost nearly $30. The idea of a transnational space that both transcends geographical boundaries and creates new ones is starkly illustrated–as the area is recognised as literally part of Spain, migrants can enter Europe while not only never reaching the continent, but never leaving what, particularly for Moroccan immigrants, is viewed as their own country in the first place. The irony is many Western-centric drivers of an outwardly more transnational approach, such as the EU, often end up with a version that just follows all the historical patterns.