Language or Death
migrant language movement

Action: March and April, 2020. Madrid, Spain - Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Book: Download in English  /  Télécharger en français  / Descargar en español / Scarica in italiano Download auf Deutsch
Audiobook (in spanish): DownloadDownload in urdu, romanian and darija
With Rakibul Hasan Razib, Afroza Rhaman, Elahi Mohammad Fazle, Pepa Torres Pérez.
In collaboration with Valiente Bangla, Museo Situado and Museo Nacional Reina Sofía, Spain.


Razib, Afroza y Elahi are migrants. They were born in Bangladesh and live in Madrid. On March 26, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, Mohamed Hossein, a member of their community, died in his house after calling healthcare services for six days. No doctor went to see him, no ambulance went to retrieve him. He spoke little Spanish.

Since then, together with other migrant and social organizations, they are creating a language movement, demanding compulsory oral translation in healthcare centers, schools, courts, state offices. Interpreters right now, in order to understand what they are told, to be understood, to be able to live in their own language.

In 1947 India is divided and what is now Bangladesh became part of Pakistan. In 1948 the government of Pakistan tried to establish Urdu as the exclusive language of the whole territory. Immediately, students and young people organized mass demonstrations and protests, a popular insurrection called Language Movement. That events drove to the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. The official language of the new country is the Bangla.

During April 2020, I called them on the phone. They spoke to me and I listened. I asked a few questions here and there and made some sounds so they knew I was still there. I recorded their voices, and as soon as we hang up, I played them and wrote them down. Every time they paused to inhale, I started a new line. I erased the recordings and send the texts to them. We edited them together and made this book, which has an e-book and an audiobook that can be downloaded for free, and a printed book that is distributed by the community.