I will try again!
Fadi was born in Tripoli in north Lebanon. He has not left it for 32 years. It was there that he spent his childhood and youth and got married. He does not feel alienated as a Palestinian because, according to him, poverty unites the people of the city. His situation is very similar to that of this deprived city and its people who are patiently searching for their daily subsistence. Fadi owns an old minibus that he uses to transport students to and from school. He was barely able to make ends meet, but with the onset of the coronavirus crisis, the government decision to close schools and adopt online learning, and the accompanying economic collapse in Lebanon, he lost his job and did not find an alternative to provide for his children. He looked for a job, but the doors were locked. In his opinion, if the Lebanese cannot find a job, what about the Palestinians?
A long time passed, and his debts accumulated, without any sign of an imminent breakthrough. He heard from one of his friends that a broker was planning to sail from Tripoli to Italy for a reasonable cost, and that he was looking for migrants. Fadi consulted with his wife, but she strongly opposed the idea. However, she agreed after a long discussion and thoughtful reflection, and due the lack of options.
Fadi sold his old minibus for less than its actual price, paid the man $ 1,600, and left with his wife a small sum of money with which she would manage financially. He headed toward the port of Tripoli early in the morning. There were five boats, each with about 25 people of different nationalities, including women and children.
The journey began and everything was fine and normal. On the second day, they started to run out of water and food. Every person had to eat a snack and a drink small bottle of water throughout the day. At sunset on the third day, a severe storm blew up and the captain told them that they had to head towards Cyprus. Indeed, they reached an area called Limassol. But gunboats prevented them from approaching. As they stayed in the middle of the sea, the boat swung wildly, and the water entered it due to the fierce winds and giant waves. Their fear and anxiety grew enormously, women screamed, and children cried, and they all insistently asked the gunboats for help. Fifteen hours later, they approached them, and the police took them to a shelter near the beach. They stayed there for several days. On the eighth day, they were summoned by police to do the PCR, as they were told. They were taken to some boats, but they surprisingly discovered after that that they were forcibly taking them back to Lebanon.
Fadi says, “I went back to Tripoli, filled with fear, despair and disappointment. When I went home, my wife was surprised, so I hugged her and my children tightly. I said to my wife, forgive me, I tried but I failed. I will do everything I can, and I will try to do it again. I will not let my children die of hunger.”