THE DEATH TRIP ( 2nd PART )

Hello all, I dedicate this part to the people who did not arrive in Europe, to the people who died in the middle of the trip, all those who died in the desert, those killed in Libya by random bullets or bombs and that no one has heard of, to the people who drowned in the Mediterranean sea and to those who are locked up in the Libyans jails…

It took a long time to write because I lost Someone very close to me and it made it all more difficult. But I was really surprised of the huge support I received with the 1st part, it means a lot for me and the others. When I first thought about telling the story of this trip, I expected some people wouldn’t believe it because it’s so hard to believe it all until you experience it yourself. Actually, some of the details were lost due to the use of english which is not my mother tongue, but someday I hope to write a huge book about the trip which will be useful for the people who want to come to Europe so they would know how very risky this trip is.

When we arrived in Libya our real suffering began. Most of us had come to Libya to work and collect the money to cross the sea and that in the most racist country in the world. In that country, you are treated as your colour and your nationality, most of time you will be called ‘obied’ which means ‘slave’, you could be beaten anytime on the street. It’s a country without law, there are guns and weapons sold on the streets, and every time you ride a taxi, all of your money will be taken by force or by gun threat.

My brother and I worked in Benghazi doing daily jobs (building, loading, etc) until the war came. We got stuck in the middle of the war zone, between the Libyan Army on one side and the islamic militias on the other. There were a lot of bombs and bullets. Every week, one of us would go out to get food for the group. He had to be careful, walking along high walls and bending down constantly to avoid the random bullets. I remember that cloudy day, it was my little brother’s turn to bring the food and I suggested I’d go instead of him but he refused and went out. He didn’t come back. We worried so much we went out and we didn’t care about the curfew, because if one is late it means he got caught or died. After 30 minutes walking around we found him, in the street, shot with twice, one bullet near the heart and the other in the stomach. While we were around him, an army car came by and the soldiers started to shout, they carried him and all of us to the nearest hospital and on the way he died. From the hospital, they took us to interrogation because they suspected us and my brother to be members of the islamic militias. After three days of interrogation and beating, they released us without telling us where to find the body of my brother. It was really painful and until now I blame myself for letting him come with me to Libya and not being able to protect him. A lot of migrants died in that war.

The important thing in Libya is to be in groups, moving and living together to avoid kidnapping and ransom demands to your friend or family. You should also avoid taking your money with you or leaving it in the house because either way, it could be taken from you like when I was preparing my trip to Tripoli. I was about to send the money to Sudan when suddenly, a car stopped in front of me and three men came out with guns and told me to give them my mobile and everything I have. I was in a chock, I didn’t know what to do so I couldn’t answer and suddenly they started beating me everywhere. That happened in the daylight, in front of people and no one cared about me.

That’s why I wouldn’t advise anyone to come to Europe and if so, don’t cross through Libya. Until now I can’t understand how all these people could treat us like this, it’s totally unfair. I cannot avenge my brother but I know someday my God will.

Once you’ve collected the money to cross the sea you have to go West, which means that you will cross the four different authorities inside Libya: Ajdabiya (Tobrouq government) to Sirte (ISIS or Daesh) to Misrata (Misrata army) to Tripoli (Fajr Libya government). You must send your money to Sudan and get it sent back to you to Tripoli at your arrival because all through the way you will be searched and checked repeatedly, every cent or thing you have will be taken. This way, if you die, your family keeps the money. Throughout the whole trip from our country to Europe, 95% died and only 5% arrived.

Then you should find a good broker (the guy who knows a smuggler) and agree about the price. It’s almost 300€. Throughout this trip, you will not eat until you arrive.

There are many ways from East to West:

1st : in a big container.  There is only 1 hatch above it to let some air in and for the kids or people who have troubles breathing every hour they will be carried closer to the hatch to take some air. Usually there are 300 people in a container. (Ajdabiya through the north road to Bani Waled then Gasr Garabulli then to Tripoli). It takes about a week or more.

2nd: by 4×4 car through the desert and the south road. This one will take 2 weeks because you will get in a lot of warehouses, they will be waiting to fill up the convoy with the maximum of people. You should grab very well onto the car or onto whom is seated next to you because if you fall down from the car no one will stop to pick you up and you will end up lost in the desert.

3rd: by car which is fastest way, 4 days or more, but it’s very dangerous because you will pass through many gates and many governments and you don’t know in which gate you might be caught.

Now I will talk about the last one: we ride the car 5 persons, three men and two women. The first rule we are told is that we should pretend we are a family, that we lost our passports in the war zone. The first gates to pass are held by the Tobrouq government. These gates deal with money so when we arrived I saw the smuggler give the money to them but they took one of us for no reason and when I asked the driver said that they need workers in the army camp and they take every time one person or two, it depends on how many they need…

We then arrived at the gate with the black flag and people wearing black clothes, covering their faces, carrying a lot of big guns and we knew this is Syrte, controlled by ISIS or Islamic State group or Daesh. They immediately ordered us to get down and they searched the car. We were too afraid because we knew they slaughter people. They searched us and asked us about Islam to know if we are Muslim or not. I feel really sorry for the Christian woman who was with us because they found a cross in her hand and took her (actually it was the smuggler fault because he didn’t ask us if we are Christian or not and I knew the smugglers who carry Christian people they took the south road through Zillah and Waddan). Thank God they didn’t find out there was another Christian woman with us, she knew about Islam prayers.

We continued the way with no hope, we were desperate but the smuggler said that we are now safe because Misrata army doesn’t take people. We all refused to continue through any gates, we prefer to be in the desert instead of jail. Finally he took a side road to avoid Misrata, which cost us more time and money, and before we arrived to tripoli he stopped for three hours to deal with soldiers but it wasn’t their shift, then he got a call and we moved towards tripoli. I remember when we were passing the gate he gave the soldier some money and we continued inside Tripoli. I got out then because my money was for the trip until Tripoli, but the others were taken to a house inside Tripoli until it’s time to move towards the sea.

I stayed with a friend until I found a Sudanese broker (the broker is the connection between us and the smuggler). Most of us are looking for a foreign broker because if you used Lybian broker and he decides to take your money you can’t ask him about the money.

The driver took us to a farm around Tripoli where we found 50 persons. We were locked in the warehouse of a farm and there was someone who brought us food everyday, one meal per day at 17:00. We stayed at the farm for one week and after that came two guys, the old one with young girl of maybe 9 years old and the young one with a young boy, the same age as the girl. They took five of us in every car, and we were wearing a niqab and the boy was sitting beside us like a family (five women, a man and a boy). Actually, every gate we were passing, no one stopped us until we arrive to Zuwara where the smuggler delivered us and took us to a building inside the city with one window and locked doors. We found ourselves with hundreds of migrants, we couldn’t breath normally. Until someone came and asked us who can build, he choose four of us and took us to an old farm to built a big wall around it. We started the work and he came every three days and bring a little food and we had to eat and drink from the animals food and water, we told him we need enough food and water he said ‘do your work quietly or I will take you to the police and if you didn’t finish it you will miss the boat until you finish’. We worked very hard because we heard about the operation of NATO against the smugglers and we thought this means closing the door against the migrants too. After we finished the work, he took us back to the warehouse, we stayed for two days and then they took us, 40 persons, in a refrigerator truck, to a farm near the sea but far away from the city. Actually, in this moment, some of us saw the land of dreams and some saw the death in our imagination and we said goodbye to our families because probably that would be our last moment to live. After they searched every inch of our bodies and took the money and phones. Somehow people succeeded to pass the money, and it was my first time when I saw Christians and Muslims praying side by side for one God. They brought the plastic boat and blow it up with electricity broom and they waited until 10:00. We took the boat above our heads and went towards the sea but every 10 minutes they told us to put it back down because they were afraid someone would see us. The distance from the sea was about 10 killometers. The captain and his assistant took a GPS device and a satellite phone and they put us in line. We jumped up on the boat one by one. We were 120 people in a small plastic boat starting the scariest trip in the world …

To be continued…….

Thank you (Olivi Magnan De Bornier)

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