UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The sea and its dangers are still better than Libya, plunged into chaos and conflict by three young Libyan men rescued by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders when they were in a rickety boat.
Salah, Khalil and Ibrahim, aged between 19 and 22, sat in one corner of the Ocean Viking, which is still waiting for a harbor where 356 migrants were rescued, some of them only 10 days ago.
The three young men used to sit in a corner of the Big Red Bridge and rarely mingle with other migrants from Sudan, Chad, Eritrea, Senegal and Ivory Coast to escape torture and abuse in Libya, where most of them came to work.
“I didn’t realize the sea was so dangerous. But Libya is collapsing, we can no longer live there,” said 20-year-old Khalil al-Shaheb.
– Fragments in the abdomen.
Khalil was a taxi driver, traveling between Sabha, his city in the south, and the big city of Benghazi in the east, when he was stopped by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the powerful man in eastern Libya.
Khalil, who revealed scars near his lips, says they put him in jail where he spent three months with hundreds of prisoners and was beaten daily.
With about fifteen other prisoners, he escaped under their jailers’ bullets.
“I saw people around me. I don’t know if they survived or not. I was hit by shrapnel,” Khalil said.
The shrapnel was withdrawn by doctor Luke of MSF, who is on board. It was under the skin at a depth of 1.5 cm. “Unfortunately, I was not surprised,” the doctor said. “This is the kind of wound that people have in the conflict zones.”
Khalil, who was injured and deprived of his confiscated car, returned by taxi to Sabha to meet his family. “I just wanted to live a normal life,” he said.
But battles broke out a month later in his city. “It’s better for you to leave,” his mother told him. “I was never aware of the dangers that existed at the crossings,” he said.
“If you stay, you will have to fight or be killed,” says Khalil.
Finally, the amphibious blue ship he boarded with 104 other people was rescued on August 12 as it began sinking into the water.
– One last selfie –
At first, Salah, a handsome 19-year-old, was not opposed to the idea of fighting. But he soon realized that he was not born for war.
“If I stayed, I would have been killed,” he said.
“He gave me a Sudanese phone number, and since I am a Libyan, I left the same day.” Time remained necessary to take a selfie with his family.
Another important reason for Ibrahim to leave his country was his skin color. “My father was black. My uncle died and my uncle was killed in the fighting. My school was bombed, and my mother said, ‘Libya is not yours.'”
“I couldn’t take the university exams. I had Sudanese friends, we were like a family. A friend from Darfur was killed in front of my eyes while we were going to play football,” said the young man, wearing a yellow jacket.
“I don’t want to fight. On the blue ship, I was terrified, but Libya is more dangerous than our ship,” he said.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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