Capsized refugee boats in the gulf of Gibraltar, stowaways suffocated in containers on ships, boats overflowing with illegal immigrants washing up on European shores; these are the dramatic images that currently put the Mediterranean Sea in the news time and again. These images, communicate the drama of the Mediterranean crossing at its most apogean form. This drama has become one of the most significant topics of political and public debate not only in Europe but, in different forms and on a different scale, all over the world; it has also redefined conceptions and perceptions of the Mediterranean Sea itself. The Mediterranean came, thus, to be viewed, among other ways, as a concept or construct of historical transitions of cultures bordering both shores of the sea, and a ‘multiple’ space of shared cultural encounters and global mobilities, where borders are conceived as ‘transitory’ sites and ‘zones of transit’ (Chambers 2008, 2-4). Bordering practices, politics of exclusion, and the geopolitics of globalization have, in turn, highlighted a significant interaction between the visible and the invisible in the Mediterranean crossings, and have also pointed out to the different representations that border crossings reveal where hundreds of migrants died or went missing in their attempts to cross the sea towards Europe.
Borders and migration nexus helps in creating different imaginaries that have political, economic, social, and cultural implications for Mediterranean space and Europe at large (Rosello and Wolfe 2017, 4). While some illegal migrants succeed in reaching the European shore, they, however, are forced to remain invisible and therefore suffer from this state of invisibility. On the other shore of the Mediterranean, the migrants remain publicly visible while at the same time deferred from joining the public discourse on human rights (among other things). In Europe, where right-wing populism is on the rise, the crossing of the Mediterranean can result in framing the migrants within the political discourse of terrorism; they are, hence, met with moral panics, violence, and discrimination.