The paper doesn’t mention any of their names. It never will. All they will ever amount to is a number, and not an exact one at that.
Almost 700 feared drowned…
The photo that goes with the story shows some of them, or others like them, (they’re all the same as far as the paper cares), and you’re drawn to the only girl peering out from the deck not wearing a headscarf, in defiance of wind and criticism. The strange life she leaves behind has left her looking rough, but you sense her dreams are polished, can almost taste the prayers on her lips. She’s cast her plans and she’s on the run. But there’s no denying it. Her time has come.
In the photograph, she will always stay that way. You don’t see the moment the vessel overturns in the unforgiving sea, or hear the shrieks weave into the wind, a sea of arms and legs flailing on a liquid dance floor, a death disco.
Inside, a woman who claims to be the voice of your people says it’s good she’s dead, they should all be dead, that the dreams of cockroaches are of no concern to real people like you.
‘Liar!’ You scream at her. But you know that’s what she wants. Making you angry is how she wins. You have to let go.
You take one last look at the girl in the photo, beg for her forgiveness, hoping her last moments went fast and didn’t end too slow. Then you tear the paper into shreds and make a vow to yourself.
Don’t look back into The Sun.
By Shihab S Joi
Hat-doff: Pete Doherty/ Carl Barat