Nour left Yemen after the war broke out and went to Egypt to follow in the footsteps of his friends who had crossed the sea from there to Europe. Nour was told the sea route was open, so he took his chances to make a better life for himself and his family. His mother encouraged him to go, believing like Nour that he would board a ship from Alexandria that he’d work on during the journey.
“I told my mother I was going to Italy on a big ship. She said, Go! As long as you go on a big ship. After I got in the car, I found out it was a lie. They didn’t take us to Alexandria.” He recalls.
At a rest stop in the desert Nour asked where they were. They had wound up at the Libyan border, far from Alexandria. He protested but was powerless against the armed smugglers, and was driven deeper into the desert. Then they were taken out and told to walk. Anyone that couldn’t would simply be left behind. Nour finally recognised the danger he was in and told the smugglers he would turn back and accompany a pregnant woman who they were going to abandon there. The Egyptian border patrol were nearby, and the smugglers agreed so as not to get caught.
Nour handed himself over to the authorities, who took him and the pregnant woman back to Cairo. But Nour wasn’t done yet. He went after the smuggler who had tricked him into his fruitless journey and demanded to know why he had sent him to Libya, why he thought people could be bought and sold, and hit him.
“You sell and buy people. Shame on you! With the anger I had inside, I hit him. I told him I did this to him so he wouldn’t do the same thing he did to me to someone else. I taught him a lesson so he won’t do this again to other people. Smugglers have no religion or morals.”