“In Libya, we were treated like slaves”

June 30, 2011


Mouhaydin, from Somalia, was working as a labourer and a cleaner in Libya. He arrived in Shousha in March. His wife died after embarking on a boat to Europe.

“In Libya, we were treated like slaves”

“I left Somalia in 1994 because of the war. When my father was killed, my family fled to Ethiopia. They still live there. I am the eldest child and need to support my family. I decided to go to Libya and beyond, to find work and build a future.

I arrived in Libya eight years ago. I was working as a labourer and a cleaner. Life was difficult. We were treated like slaves.

When the war broke out, the situation became very frightening for foreigners. I had to flee this country too.

I arrived in Shousha camp on 6 March, with my wife. We got married in Libya. She was three-month pregnant. From one day to another, she decided to return to Libya with a group of people who convinced her to take a boat to Europe. I saw her one morning, and never saw her again. She died on a sinking ship on 5 April.

I am very sorry she didn’t tell me of her plans. I have been deeply sad since. I try to occupy my mind not to think. I have difficulties sleeping at night.

Life in the camp is becoming increasingly difficult

I keep myself busy working as a volunteer for Medecins Sans Frontieres, responsible for the registration of patients seeking medical care. In Somalia, I worked for 8 years with MSF before the war. I am also a translator from Somali to French, as there are many Somalis in the camp who need assistance.

Life in the camp is becoming increasingly difficult, in particular since the incidents in May. Tents were burnt down and violent clashes killed and injured a number of refugees. For children, the living conditions are even tougher.

I have an uncle in Canada. I hope he can help me. I need to find a solution, a small place in a country where I can live in peace, and finally have a future.”


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