Hamza left Somalia as a child in search of safety and a better life. During the journey, he and fellow Somalis were treated horribly by the organized smugglers of Libya. He recounts merciless torture, rape, and abuse.
“They will beat you with everything at their disposal,” Hamza says. “They have no mercy. The situation for Somalis in Libya is dire. People are suffering everywhere, they are abused and mistreated.”
He recalls seeing death everywhere during the journey. “You will become indifferent to death and you will hate your life,” Hazma says. “You will ask God to take your life quickly.”
After taking a boat over the Mediterranean sea, Hamza arrived in Italy. There, he became suspicious of other people and escaped from his first shelter to avoid having his fingerprints taken. He describes meeting smugglers who wanted to extract money from him, offering to take him to other European countries. However, he consulted with family members in Europe and was advised to go to Rome to make further travel plans.
“When you come to Rome, the first thing other Somalis ask you is what your clan is,” says Hamza. “When I told the person helping me which clan I belonged to he left me. I saw how the Somali diaspora is infected by the disease of tribalism.”
Hamza’s first impressions of Europe did not correspond with his expectations. He was shocked by the cultural, religious, and language differences among the people he met.
“I applied for asylum in Sweden but it didn’t turn out as I’d expected,” Hamza says. “I was hoping to get a comfortable life, like a paradise, but it’s not like that.”