Mourad, a 48-year-old Libyan man, married with three children. He was rescued together with his family by the Ocean Viking on 18 March 2021.
“There has been no stable government in Libya for 10 years.
We kept hoping, we kept hoping. Every year we said it would get better, but there is no security, and it is getting worse every day. The environment is not good for the children either. There is no hope for a better future for them. Life has stopped for them.
I come from Zuwara. It’s a small coastal town. My family is from an Amazigh minority. (…) We are a small, isolated community. Most of the Amazigh community lives to the south, in the mountains. We have been mistreated; our property gets stolen. Our lands have been burnt; we have nothing left.
We are originally from this country, but we are treated like invaders or like people who just arrived in the country.
It’s always been like that. But before there was a government at least, now there is no government, and it has gotten worse. We own some land 18 km south of Zuwara, we haven’t been able to go there for 10 years.
We spent our childhood on this land. We would at least like to see our land, but we can’t go there anymore because we risk kidnappings, attacks, robberies, we risk all kinds of violence.
Weapons are everywhere because they can be bought and sold anywhere. Everyone has guns now. Guns are in free circulation. Everywhere. As soon as there’s a problem, the guns come out. It’s the same everywhere. As soon as there is a fight, weapons come out. If you go out in the street, you can be shot. You can be driving your car and get shot. It can happen anywhere at any time.
Dead people, injured people… it’s a daily thing. Every day, every day, every day. It’s been like this every day for ten years. There’s no hope of finding stability. I think it will take another ten years to get back to a normal life.
My kids are 13, 10 and 9 years old. Two of them were born during the revolution. The older one was only 3 years old at that time. She has only known violence too. They grew up with the sound of guns every day.
We would work so hard to provide them with a stable and peaceful environment. We would try to find them crafts to do, to keep them busy every day. We paid for private schools for them to be more peaceful. In the summer, we would try to take them to the beach so that they can forget about the everyday life and forget about the violence.
I am a social science teacher. After I was made redundant, I received a small state salary as a civil servant. Five years ago, I opened a small pizzeria in my neighbourhood. One year ago, I fell and injured my shoulder. I live on a state pension which is not enough to feed my children. We are very tired. It’s very difficult to raise your children in these conditions.
We had to leave for Europe to guarantee a better future for our children. If we arrive in Europe, it’s to work. It’s not to sleep or wait for someone to help us. It is to guarantee a better future for our children.”
Interviewed by our communications officer and translated by our cultural mediator onboard.
Photo credits: Anthony Jean / SOS MEDITERRANEE