Lamar took his very first steps next to a barbwire fence.
Shaimaa, 26, said earlier this year that she had left her home in Deir al-zour, Syria, four years ago and hopes to get to Germany to join her husband. Her son Lamar was born in Turkey during her journey to Europe. He is one of many children born along the migrant route in countries foreign to their parents.
“Are we all ready to accept these newborns as Europeans?” photographer Thomas de Wouters asks. De Wouters spent several months this year in Greece, Macedonia and Serbia photographing migrant mothers-to-be, whose children will be born in Europe. He refers to them as the “first European refugees.”
“The pictures plunge the public into the reality of those children who live their very first days on the European soil,” De Wouters wrote in an artist’s statement. When asked by In Sight if the mothers were happy to have their children born in Europe, De Wouters said that it depends on the country, but most women said that they want their babies to be born in Germany.
The series is part of a larger project that reflects on the responsibility of Europeans in the face of disunity. The photographer doesn’t provide answers, just a glimpse of humanity in the lives of his subjects.
“Is it enough to be born in a country to acquire citizenship?” De Wouters said. “The question is political but also moral,” he told In Sight. “Newborns on the European soil lead us to reflect on our own consciousness, to look deep inside us, and to question our responsibilities.”