Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Refugees on boats

Over 250 immigrants from Africa died a week ago when their ship sank off the coast of Italy. So the BBC Arabic has been having lots of conversations about the ordeals that illegal immigrants face.

They spoke to this lady from Lebanon.

She and her family wanted to immigrate to Australia. First, they snuck into Indonesia. On the boat-ride from Indonesia to Australia, the boat sank, and her husband and two kids died. The surviving kid is by her side, and he kept on making silly faces the whole interview. 

 She said that the trip from Lebanon to Indonesia was okay, but then they got into trouble. Their smugglers ordered all 72 people onto a small boat. They were told that they would soon link up with a bigger boat to complete the trip to Australia, but they soon discovered this was a trick.

 They stayed on the small boat for 4 days. It was each person for him or herself, because I think she said there was no food service or anything. You had to deal with what you had brought with you.

 On the fourth day, the boat began to take on water. The young people tried to stop up the hole and to scoop out the water, but eventually they realized that death was looming. She said she did not quite remember the crisis point, and I did not quite understand her, but she said something about 10 meters of water, losing consciousness, and I think she said she washed up on the beach.

The next day, she woke up, and found her remaining son. She said he looked like a ghost, and I think she said that there was no medical help, she had to take care of him herself. She kept saying, alhamdolillah (thank God) that I was left with at least one of my kids. I think she said they never got to see the bodies of the dead (????)

And after all that, she and her boy were sent right back to Lebanon. That was from where she was doing the interview. The interviewer was being very sympathetic and kind towards her. Her name was Um Khaled (mother of Khaled.) She's a mother.

I know this is bad to say, but I am used to Arab women being very emotional and pretending to cry at the least little thing, just so everyone can look at them and say, "wow, she is such a martyr!" But this lady really had problems, and she did not cry or carry on at all.

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