We humans

Gallery: My desperate journey to find asylum in Australia

Apr 16, 2015 /

Too often, the story of asylum is told in the breathless terms of the abstract news story. Another group of immigrants was swept up by the authorities; another boat full of asylum seekers was lost at sea. The statistics are shocking, compelling, but rarely personal. Here, in contrast, is the intimate story of the photographer Barat Ali Batoor (TED Talk: My desperate journey with a human smuggler), who was compelled to escape the persecution of ethnic Hazaras in Pakistan in 2012. His journey by air, land and sea through Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia took weeks, cost thousands of dollars and nearly ended in disaster countless times. Says Batoor, who is now an advocate for asylum seekers, “I thought that I might die on this journey.”

Yet he also saw the importance of capturing the underreported paradox: The cost for those who must risk their lives in order to seek safety. Here, see some photos from his incredible journey and hear his story in his own words.

Postscript: Batoor did eventually gain asylum after being arrested following this last photo. He now lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he is working on a documentary about his journey. Watch his talk to hear the rest of his story.