About Refugees, By Refugees

Portrait of refugee Emad wearing sunglasses and a trench coat

Emad Mohammed

Pictures taken in:



Photo and interview by:

United Kingdom



Hagir Elhadi

“I want to stay alive, [to] try again for [another] life,” says Emar Mohammed. Now a 27-year-old student living in Norwich, Emar left Libya after working in the army. “My country is not safe and I want [to] save myself,” he recalls. “I come to Europe but sometimes I feel like Europe is [the] same [as] my country, [it] is not safe for me.” He says he’s lost three years of his life waiting for his refugee status, that he misses his family, and that the stress makes him feel awful: “I come [to] England, I have all black hair, now I have a white hair…” But, he clarifies, “I don’t want to open my hand, to [be given] a gift. I have to work.” He says when he feels down, he never gives up and tries again from the beginning. Exercise also makes him happy, he says. “My dream [is] to work here and make money to get my life better from before,” he says. “My dream is…[to] have my family together.”

Trigger Warning: Discrimination, racism

full interview

Twenty-third of November, today, I’m going to interview Emad from Libya. Emad, today I’m going to interview you and I’m going to ask you some questions, maybe some of them it is personally, and any time that you feel that you won’t answer the question, you have the right to stop the interview and… when we finish this interview, I will ask you to sign a form to say that you are agree with the form.
What about the form?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you have to sign that form —

To say that you are agree to use your pictures.

And the interview.
The [not audible] is in the form. (Laughs)

Yeah (laughs). In different platform, and so on. First of all I’m going to ask you to spell your name that you wish to use in this interview.
What name?

Your name, your first name and your surname.
Alright, my name is Emad Abdullah Mohammad, E-M-A-D, and I don’t know how to spell Abdullah but I know how to spell Mohammad that’s M-O-H-A double M-A-D. I’m from Libya, North Africa, I am 27 years old. I get to travel from my country with… to try and get to Europe because in the country, I get the fight and get imprisoned and everyone like shooting and like [not audible] or something and teach people for wrong and back to fight and young people take them to army and I don’t like that. I worked in army, yes. But all family army work, but I don’t like to get this anymore, I want to stay alive, I try again for other life. I get to try to out from Libya and to get a passport.

What kind of house that you live in? Can you describe the house?
In Libya or here?

Here, the house.
Um, the house here is about Home Office Social House, they give us share house. I lived with benefit and I’m not paying rent or anything, the government look after me all that. But about, is the problem about the document, three years I’m waiting is — this is the thing is making it yes.

Can you describe the condition, the house condition?
Yeah, is everything good condition and… condition and heater and light and… But is the house old, a little bit.

Do you live alone or with someone?
No, I live in the share house. Three people, three room.

Is different country, everyone different country. Not same, Libya.

Okay, do you, do you work?
Oh no, I’m not allowed work because I’m asylum seeker support. Until I get the document refugee, I get to work. But I can apply to the Red Cross to find work, 16 hour, but it’s not, not good because I be lose benefit and I be lose the house because I pay rent and not have benefit.

How do you spend your time here?
Sometimes I get to do exercise and cycling and I met friends and chat and… I be okay for this country, I just make friends.

What are, what are things that you do? And let you to be happy or feel joy?
I get my document. (Laughs) …is first thing.

No, that’s the — the thing that I’m asking about the things that you doing daily in your life and make you happy.
The first thing I like, go to exercise is to make me to happy and never give up. Exercise, this the number one in my life.

How life has been since you arrived in Europe?
Not too bad (laughs), 50/50. It depends in Europe which country, depends in Europe which country.

Since you come to Europe, since you cross from Libya to Italy, can you describe the life, how it is going with you?
So hard. So hard to get a travel document, so hard for… Is for me, no problem, because I’m an adult, but about women or children is so hard for what I done me to come here. I have not ask anyone, try what I done for come to Europe. It’s so hard.

What was hard?
About travel on… About travel walk from Italy and France, and from France to Paris — five-day walk — and get to the lorry and tried the from the sea. All, all this is nothing for. Three times I try to make a chance to get to England, but… The four, the four, number four chance, I get England, I get in a box wood. (Laughs)

What is been good about being in Europe?
There’s nothing I do for good but is about for change the life because my country is not safe and I want save myself. I come to Europe but sometimes I feel like Europe is same my country, is not safe for me.

About one year no have, applying for asylum seeker or… Like in England it is 50 per cent safe, but in Europe if happen any problem to you, the government it doesn’t take your problem off, is very, uh, Europe — like Italy or France or Germany — it’s very hard like Libya, is no different from Libya or Africa.

What is been difficult?
From what difficult?

Difficult in the life in Europe?
Nothing is be difficult, I lost my — many years from my life, I think I do. This is so hard. I come England, I have all black hair, now I have a white hair, I get, uh, grown up.

Okay, can you describe living here, how it make you feel?
I feel good to live England, but I give chance this year if not get a document, I’ll be leaving England because it’s not safe for me. Three years is lost from my life, nothing I do and I miss my family to see him. I want to change this but this thing make me to leave from here.

As you say that you are far from your family —

How is, how does being away from your family for your rest life make you feel?
Stressed, first thing, and I am changed now, the last three years now I am changed. Like before I’m happy, I can do exercise, I can go school, learn, but now I can’t learn, I can’t do anything from the stress — and missed my family and long time no see them — this stress, it make me awful.

Do you face any discrimination, discrimination or racism or something like that?
Sometimes, yeah.

Tell me.
No 100 percent, sometimes yeah. I can’t tell you what exactly because I don’t know, I don’t be like with, uh, in the middle of the conversation, but I sometimes I feel racism not alright and sometimes feel good. Like example, I get the bus, take the bus and last year I get in fight with old man on the bus and he shout at me “Why you come my country? Go back your country,” and he talk me rude, I can’t explain this in the voice, I just give him way and go out because I look and it was old man, if a young guy I give him in time.

Could you ever imagine that you, that you would have been able to handle with this all difficult situation?
Sorry, can you again the question?

Okay, have you ever imagined that you can handle this — all this difficult situation?
Um, right now I can’t. It’s so hard now.

Do you think that you develop any ability to come over all this difficult situation? Because some people say sometimes they have like, uh, mechanisms, defense, they keep themselves busy because they don’t want to think about their situation or what do you do?
Actually, um, half the question I understand but half no understand for, can you again and please?

Okay, do you think that you develop the ability to deal with the challenges or do you think always you had the skills or the mechanisms, defense mechanism?
[not audible] Yes, I got so many is difficult. In England here for learn city college, [not audible] … volunteering, everything I done it. I do volunteering to teach children to exercise and I go to school, I have a class to teach children. I do loads here in England but all volunteering for free, nothing. I can’t do it for free.

Okay, um, why did you leave your country?
Why leave my country like?

Exactly for why — for myself or why for all or my family?

For yourself. Yeah, for yourself.
I left, I left my country because I work in army, eight years in army and I’m not General, I’m soldier, normal soldier. And I worked with old government, Muammar Gaddafi, before and my town all agree with my old president. And, uh, 2011, he’s come fight, big fight and NATO come and 42 country come fight in my country, Al Qaeda, all this. And after all that I get pushed from my home to get a carry gun to get to fight these people and I can’t do this because this people is my country, is all him is Libya guys. But when I see other people come my country to fight for my house and broken my house, burned my house because I like, I agree with the old government and old president Muammar Gaddafi, I agree with him and I like him. But the people he doesn’t like him, when the fight finished and the president die. He’s, he want to find who is agree with this government. Burn him house, take him clothes, take him car, sometimes you go to prison, sometimes you get the care, depends what you done, your family or your dad or your mom or you or your brother. And when you see this is so hard, when he stayed like that every day, blood, blood, blood. I try to off from this country, try other life. But this country and other country, it doesn’t make me do other life. It make me more I want to see blood.

Can you describe what happened exactly the day that you decided to leave your country? What happened?
2011, before February, 14th February. I watch the news and I find people east of Libya, he’s out of, of the — my president because he say he is a dictator and he doesn’t give us money and why he doesn’t give him money, he have a benefit, he has a free school, he have a free medicine, everything free in this country. And this people only out watch TV. I find them for me. I don’t agree with the surname of the president because to him the surname is a so dictator. They make him a green light. But I like this president but him want his son to die. But anyway, I am out for the conversation and this people is out for not agree for him. First time he’s out. No, no gun, no cannon. Just normally talking after some countries lose this fight and he get NATO, you know, NATO is a 42 country is a business to make like America or something is the 40 or 42 country NATO. He see, this people who agree with him. And he said Gaddafi is the dictator because he doesn’t agree what he asked him before. I know I watch TV is Gaddafi. It doesn’t agree for NATO, what his before. And he broke in the book and make him fight and forgot and these people is get a change. Now is the first time with the voice and talking like non-English protest…

Yeah, discrimination.
Discrimination and they make first-timers discrimination. But after three day, four day I find everyone have a gun and shoot near my town and everything NATO is bombed is my next army next to my house, is a first night is [not audible], all window house down. Everyone scream and you find every woman in road screaming and every children out, no one staying home. Everyone forget him clothes, some people forget everything home to come out and save him life like this is get this big, big, big and still get the fight very bi and you get volunteer. And from my town is army. Have — die this time, they get volunteers and some woman fight with us, and my family too. And my sister or all of them is fight with us for this. But is all this and this is not good to kill each other for something like the government or president or I kill my country people or Libya people or Arabic or Muslim or anything you say, but for petrol or diamond or oil or something, I do not agree with it when I see all the fight I tried to bomb the petrol outside my house. I get the gun to shoot and I try to bomb because this people from my country to take this and make us no peace and one day find everything, bomb and everything. No light, no petrol, no guards before gas. Before that gas for one dinar is me like one, one penny and pound here. Now you have to be for now you have to be a get the bottle, the gas you stay for, four day in the queue to get the bottle gas. You get the four mile queue, to get the full tank. No full tank, no give you a full tank. It will give you ten dinar is a quarter of the tank. And when I see this is a I’m all right. What I done.

How did that make you feel at that time?
It was the… Awful and sad, and sometimes I get the mentally from this, I have a bad dream in the night I can’t sleep still remember the memory and I go to well-being, I go to a doctor to fix me. And no one, when I told him my story, he be scared from me, and kick me out.

How was your journey to Europe?

Your journey.
Some like it— (interviewer interjected here) I like to back the memory of.

How you start the journey from Libya, can you describe the…
I worked before (not audible) and I say from (not audible) what that mean.

Tourism. And, middle of the big town of Libya, Tripoli. I worked there and I find two people who know how to travel to Italia. And he asked me, I can’t get you to get up. I told him how much he told me, you pay money. I pay the money. I get up at 12 o’clock in the night and I’ll be five o’clock. I’m not get ready at the five o’clock. I just off the sea from Libya. I find the Red Cross, for I don’t because no matter… Doctors Without Borders… it I don’t know how it is in English.

Borders? Oh yeah. Doctors Without Borders I think.
I think is Red Cross. Something like Red Cross. This people take us three days and the big yacht, big big yacht and the serve are very bad. Oh very cold. They serve, they are very bad and all people and in Africa on this day in Libya and have a bad think like people stole him phone and hit him and everything. When he know me I’m from Libya he tried to kill me on the motorboat. Yeah. And I have two people cutting with my feet and throw me in the sea. I have two friend is from Sudan to help people fall down. But this thing is no problem because everyone’s scared for travel. But for me, I don’t like the serve van and the big yacht is bad for us. It’s dry biscuit for three days and water, no medicine. So many people nearly die. You just want to be like women, children say, man, he doesn’t know him. What is happening for him? Why he do this? I don’t know how I get to Italy and I get Sicilia. I remember this day. Is eight o’clock morning. I find books and food. I jump from the motorboat and police nearly shoot me because I’m hungry to get the last bag of rice. And when I see this, I cried. I cried before the police stopped me, cried for me. And I’m from Libya. I have a nice life before. I don’t need like I don’t need like this when I jump from the boat to get the food, uh, before my life is nice. I do boats and people before, but when I see it’s, I see like crying every day what I done. This has changed life for one day. I don’t have anything. I get finger crossed in the Sicilia and I stayed twenty-four hour in a big bus to get full bus and change us to Milano, travel to Milano to big camp and to big camp you have to stay three day to travel to your house — sorry for my phone — um traveled there and stayed three day in the camp and he doesn’t give me house. Same other people. He give me a hotel, stay in hotel and (not audible) and Avelino after Napoli. Fifteen minutes. And I stayed there for six months and I don’t like it because I feel shame like something like that I stay for people that give me sadaqah so I don’t know what that means like this.

Gift like gift I don’t want to open my hand, to give me a gift. I have to be work.

To pick money from people like.
Like I have to work to find money. I have to protect myself you know I don’t like people give me gift or something and I get my bag from the hotel. I have with three friend, one from Sudan, one from Libya. We try to get, uh, Milano. After we get Avelino, Avelino, this small town, to make everyone, uh, asylum seeker, to stay there to try work and, Métro, tram to get France. But this is very dangerous. So many people died, if you died no one know you because it’s a big mountain and if you die, the government in Italy, it doesn’t give you the news. You just throw you in the mountain and it doesn’t help you or something. When you cut you off, you cut off the France (not audible). I know the army name gendarmerie. If you catch your first chance, you’ll be in stay in the prison for 24 hours after you give you the next building for him to Italy, the carabinieri to get the fingerprints. From Italy to get the bank, Italy, if not have to stay to get the fingerprints and out the anyway to get to France. I like the day I get to France. I want to back the memory I like is some place because I get in the summer, I get in the sea, and this time I have money because I worked a little bit to clean window car and wash car over and anything like car wash in English I say for €2,000 I ask my friend. His name was Fa from Sudan and Abdullah is all him in France. Now he get all the document all in 10 years and just me and all my friends and they come with me. And Italy is all I have to come.
And it just, you know, we ask him is where are you going? And no one understands speak any language. And just me. I speak Italy and other one is from Sudan is he speak English because he is there in the uni in his country. And this guy says is the good for us, get us everywhere. And he doesn’t, he doesn’t want out from France. But me, I don’t like France because I get the president of France and some general in the France. He asked me, you from Libya? And he’d be very rude with me. He ask me from Libya. Yeah. Gaddafi dictator. And he shout me for rude. It is like he wanted me to fight him and he changed me to get a prison. But I fight it him. I hate him so much. I get him pleading for the — I get a prison for the six months and out me and the solicitor and translator, he helped me, she lady from Iraq, because in the court the man of the court he ask who want to give me hoqum six months. But the translator, he helped me, he asked the court to give him the camera on the police station was to me to show the court what’s the reason for me. I’m not going to prison six months. I get one month and 10 days in a glass room. They put me in a glass room like I’m just a criminal. I’m not doing anything. It is me. It is his fault. He be racist with me.

And, um, thank you. Appreciate it for this lady to help me so much to get out from prison. She get the camera and voice from the police station and this man, he get off from him work and the court to he give me money to out from the court and say sorry for me. He ask me to stay France to do fingerprints? They say, no, I want out to give me leave and the paper to leave. I get to Italy to Belgium. I rode Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, [not audible] — every Europe I got him. I tried to all him, but I’m not doing anything until I see how the applying for asylum seeker support or refugee or he is no safe. And like Spanish, if you plan, for asylum seeker, he doesn’t give you benefit or house or you have to stay there five years. Prove, prove yourself five years. It doesn’t matter what you have done, you have to prove yourself here. You have five years to get a document like this in Italy. You have to get so many people, you have to change your religious or get to Belgium. You change your gender like you be a lesbian or gay. I don’t like this. My family cannot me and teach me for my traditional and religious and never I do this. If I being homeless on the road or junk, I never change my life and never give up. I’m a man. If I hit my head on the wall, I’d be out with money after I get to try. After I get to lorry, three times first time is out me is a dog, uh, Nicholai is a Chihuahua dog. I hate you Chihuahua from I love dog but number one Chihuahua. I hate him because he out me three times a number four. I get the lorry, I find lorry is have a metal box followed. I out with the wood is a one Sudan and two Sudan sorry.

And one Libya to help me out the wood and I get inside but the wood up on me and we have one bottle to pee because the dog, if he’s made the pee in the car, you have to, you have to pee in the bottle and close it. You can’t have a food. And with your lorry, you can not have a smoke. You can’t have perfume or any smell because the doggy out you. The four chance I get in England. But the problem I get in England, no penny in my pocket and no phone, nothing. I have just my clothes and me and they get in a farm near Birmingham is a business about Redbull. But the problem when I down from the lorry, I don’t know where is me is all farm. Just big building in the middle of the big space like. Tree or grass like sahaar in between. Like you can see for far away. I walked like for 12-hour work, no food, no water, nothing. I nearly died for this. I find one is from Jamaica. I still remember now. I smell this from far hahaha, I know I smell and I know smelling the smoking. I know how smell and the smoking is smoking marijuana down the tree. And I know this from my country. The smell and you know, oh this is a human do something here. I went to water, I run there and I don’t speak English. I just speak Italy. But what I get there is confused because I’m thirsty, I’m hungry and I want to get food to London first thing I know, because all my friends to get the chance and get to London and when he find the money to help me so much, I have him phone number. Now I have in my Facebook there now and his best friend until now, he comes every every month to visit me here. I go to him, make him friend and I come to ask him. Arabic. He doesn’t know I know him. He’s like from Sudan or someone. He’s out from Jamaica but he balla france and English and he go out for me. And he doesn’t know me. I told him drink he see me, he go give me a bottle of water and he give me a sandwich. Tuna with cheese, I remember this, he go three, three house after him and one he’s from Egypt. Arabic is next to him. He know he was Arabic to make translator for me and him. And he asked me, what are you going. Oh I told him I went to London hahaaha. I know just London. He asked me why I want London, London like this. When I listen hear this, I know London very far. It’ll be I can’t take you London, but I can take you to the station and he asked me do you have a money? I tell him no. Do you have a phone? I tell them no. You give me a phone from home or taken out for phone is Nokia. I have him in Syria is from Libya. Izabela Nokia. The small one, just calling and he takes me on the bus and he asks the man driver bus to drop me to a train station and he buy for me the ticket for the bus and he give me money to get the ticket. But the money he give me is not enough for a ticket to London. I go from bus, I get the train station, I get from the train station, all police and dog so much and train station because of calling off the Belgium this train station. He know this. So many people travel.

You need to catch them there and they find two Arabic sit down opposite the train station and I know if I want to go to the station, I check the ticket and I find them £65 to London and I have the £5 but 60 where I get hahahaha the money. Give me just £5 and what I get the other money.

And when I am out from train station, I hear yallah rom Egyptian like [not audible] something arabic I run, to I very happy run. Please, can you help me. He told me you help me because I need help too. I find these two guys. Is same me. He travel illegally. But he doesn’t know what he doing and he doesn’t have the money. And he have £5. What are you doing. What are you doing. And I just buy alcohol for three bottle beer and I drink this opposite the train station. This one drunken homeless guy sat next to me, I just look at him and look at myself. Really, I want to be like him. Never. I threw the second bottle. I’m not to finish him today. I threw the second bottle and I got to ask the guys, where is the police station? I want to just leave.

Nothing, no one understand what is the police station? And I want to go down. No one understands me or Arabic. Just from far I find Shok Kebab for chicken isn’t right and halal from red. I get inside very fine man with the children there is, I speak Arabic is I think Ethiopia and Eritrea. But his work in Sudan, you know, the accent. So I told I stay in my friend is does he come to me here. And they got him there and he asked me what I asked the man he cook and there is anyone speak Arabic. He speak me direct Arabic what you need. I told him I come this country. He told me I know everything. I know he was not legally the one police station. He told me. He told me. He said, down here I take you to the station. You just want to order chicken for him. Children. Did they go? And he ordered for me the box chicken and I find the two guys at the train station. Wait me outside, hahaha he follow me. Follow me what I wanted done. And the guys when I get the car with him to the to the guys he want to get with us. But he told him no he is friend. I want to go with him home. I don’t know you. I do not go with these guys. But this guy takes me to police station.

The day I get the down is Sunday and Sudan police station no work afternoon, and they get the first position, nor have anyone in the station, I rang the bell and everything he told me have to do accident to take you prison. I told them how was that. He told me hit me. I told him, really, he told me hit me. I call police for, I told him no, just take me any other police station. He told me, OK, you have another police station. But these are far from the towers. What did you not find anyone. You’ll be staying cold in the winter. You’ll be staying in the cold next day, Monday. He bought me and I told him, just put me in police station. I know what I do. I broke the glass door. No problem. You just give me the inside. I want to sleep. Hahahaha

I ring the bell. He told me I have to press the button of the door to someone out. I ring the bell. He talk me English. I don’t understand English. I ring the bell, ring the bell. No one coming. And what I do and I remember he told me after the accident. All right, I do pee on the door I’m sorry. I don’t want to try to do it. And I would make everyone so many people just so be angry. Like one hour I ring the bell. No one out me. But when I do the accident he is out like thousand from inside and try to hit me with electric and put me on the floor get down. And everyone shout me, I’m not a criminal. I try to ring the bell, no one out me. And this is tell me why you want what you need. Why are you coming and what’s happening. You know me like a junk and homeless. I’m drinking or have drugs. I understand two word. No passport, Belgium. That’s when I say this. The lady cut me from my neck. Take me inside, check my pocket and put me in the chair. Like, scan chair, check your body from inside the stomach if you don’t have a drugs or something, you put in your stomach. I get stopped for 24 hour, um, like Guantanamo. I get 24 hours like Guantanamo inside. But there’s a camera everywhere if you want to go. Toilet is a camera inside the toilet.
After 24 hours he’s come over to people and put the metal in my hand and I told him why I’m not criminal but he told me no I’m sorry is the rule. You have to take you from the police station because you don’t come to illegally after when you get to your legally document then no problem. No one put the metal in yours. But this guy is very nice server with me. He put in van and he gave me cake and Christmas and water and chat with me and everything. And until I find myself in big door to prison, I say, what’s happened? I get to Guantanamo and what we want the door open the van come in the middle, the other the door open until the back, the door closed. I just peed in the door for me. I’m not kill anyone. I just do accident police station. What’s happened? And I don’t know, this is like, uh, what real manipulation?

Legal immigration.
Yeah legal immigration I don’t know this is a building for legal immigration. I don’t see this present in my country before. I know it’s a nice you know, when I get inside, I find everyone. I met him in a Belgium and France, everyone I find TV on or nice food and give me shoes and clothes and give me phone and SIM card and SIM cards five hours every week to call your family to make them feel safe. And I like the shower. No wonder you can’t touch anything. You just get in your shower and have a nice place and very nice. This place, I get there four day and I get first interview down and I get my ID with me first one I get my ID, all my friends. No one get ID until now, just me. I get four day after come from another van to. You have to check in the door when you eat the food you have to check a post or something to transfer your other place isn’t there. I don’t know his first time. His camp I know like a camp but is a hotel share hotel like the other one. He sent me to him a religious life. It’s not sort of dirty life, so many people know there is no secure, like secure just when you do something wrong, like you smoke inside or you go to the building when you have a female or something. He make secure for you. But when are you someone he come to your room, try to hit you or someone, no one. See you. And like the room is every room, like eight people, nine people in the room smell together. And this is no good. I try to go down to ask someone to help me get other room. He told me, I have to wait. I wait the 15 day or 16 day and thing coming to me was to transfer me to Norwich. First they come to me in Norwich to bus I go to run my friend direct. Where is Norwich, is it far or why you get in government house. You know that. You have to get it together. I got the card inside. The man called the manager of the hotel. I asked him after me and my friend to get a transfer together. He told me, I’m not your mother to transfer you together. You can apply for asylum seekers support. You have to be patient tell when he tell me this. I told him. Thank you so much. I live, um. I wait two day after come van and asked me to come Norfokk. Norwich I come to Norwich here, three-hour travel. I hit a driver because he doesn’t let me go to toilet or get a show. And when I get crange road like in this house, I find Mutaz first one in the door that are appreciated for him. He’s helped me so much to know all Norwich. He showed me the Red Cross and all the school and how I work and this Norwich and I get to work.
But, I saved my life, but, to exercise during school, make volunteer and make friends, make family. That’s it.

How, as you say that you have some event you some event, you’re still affecting your effect, your life till now, and your well-being on something like that. What kind of event can you describe?
Yeah, I, I have a bad dream from, like what I done in my country before because I lost many friends and my team and my work. I lost up to me like a sniper or NATO bombed him or killed from Qaida. Um, this one is he doesn’t work with me in Europe. But just when I get to Norwich first year or second years. No, I don’t have it. I have a just from 2019 last November, October 2019. And now, the doctor gave me medicine. But the medicine is over. It makes me lazy. I prison myself home and I can’t shower. I be dirty. I can’t do this medicine. I’ll be fight this dream or they make me stressed so much like do you see my lips now is all cut it like this. It is from you all this from the stress, from my nerves. I bit my nerves.

Or sometimes I hit my hand in the wall and it’s bleeded they’re like I off my angry you know, and the… n o one I told him I get bad dream. This make me I work when I sleep. And, uh, last year I stayed to my girlfriend’s house and I opened the door when I’m sleep. I hit the car [not audible] and the man car he wake me up to slap me in the face and to call the police or what’s happened to me. And when I got well being to be to ask him to help me, I told him my keys to what’s happened. He told me I’m not allowed until I ask him office because your UK is dangerous for us. I told him, you’re not your business to tell me your case is dangerous for us. You are doctor to fix me, not to be interviewed about the government, but when I see the guy sitting with me interview is he do with me interview to government is no fix me like a doctor. Always when I go I find someone is work with the government. Why he’s follow me everywhere. I’m not a criminal here. I want to stay alive.

And before event that, you lead you feel. What’s your dream before you — what was your dream before you leave your country?

My dream was…
Actually before. I don’t have dream.

Start it my dream was…
Actually I don’t have a dream before, but, in my country, I don’t have a dream because my dream I done it in my country before. But after one year in 2011, the fight come, he maqtab my dream. I have to start from the beginning. But, now in my dream, I have to work here and make money to get my life better from before. No, like I lose three years in my life. Nothing I do. Just a volunteer or exercise. I can do this normally.

Before you leave your country, where do you feel like you’re strong or strict?

No, no, no, not like that before you leave your country.
Yeah, before I leave.

All right.

And you feel that you are strong and that’s why, you know?
Not like that, it depends, because these days, two different years, because the years I am out, I am not feel strong. But they said my work I have my dream is hard work and I have my family together. I feel strong and very power.

When you….
But when I lose everything, we get a down everyday down and down and down. I find myself. One day I hit my head on the wall. I never give up. I try from beginning.

I really appreciate what you are answering. I’ll see you answering my question. And there is anything you want to say to European people. Maybe they give them the better, understand, for an asylum seeker or refugee.
Yeah. Is there something, the government, you have is patience with this people because this people have a bad life. You don’t patient for him because this people don’t know him is what he see in the country. You believe him or not? You have to believe in anyone, he say, and some people to get the case line, to get the document. But you get the proof and you get to the truth, you don’t get the document. You be waiting five years. But if I lying, I get my document for the first month, but if I told the truth, I would be wait, why because I am carry gun because I am army man is not army here. No one carry gun here.

What do you want to say for European people?

Give them like maybe better understand about refugees.
Hmmm, you have to understand, you have to understand another country because you have to teach in the school here the children and other country, because the other this people, he doesn’t know us, he doesn’t know us live. When I say anything he be surprise some for us. We see so much from him. Children like my age. Here he plays scooter and bike and PlayStation in my country he is married and have children. You have to teach these children to learn about us when he is like me to come here. When I told him I from Libya, he know me. Some people don’t know Libya where. When I tell him I am from Libya, he told me where is Libya. He tell me, where is Libya in China? You have to learn the children here about us. No, just Africa. I like Kurdistan or Turkish or Egyptian. Tunisia, Libya, Sudan. You have to learn in school about traditional, not about history.

Yeah. Is not learning about the history. You have to learn about tradition. Does the history have in the book and the library. But you have to learn about the traditional. You have to give someone volunteer or you give him a job in this country to give learning other children is not easy. And this is, is here is a soft life like the children growing up with toys and lovely. And you can’t smack him in the face if you smack him in the face and they take him from you. But if he die, he give you in the box to you. This is hilarious here. I have to teach the children about us this number one. That’s it. Thank you so much.

Thank you.

Many 1000 Dreams interviews were not conducted in English. Their translation has not always been performed by professional translators. Despite great efforts to ensure accuracy, there may be errors.