The Stories of Missing Migrants

Fazhir: Ali’s Story

The Stories of Missing Migrants

Fazhir: Ali’s Story

“We are devastated. We are burning for our children. All we want is to know the truth.”


“He saw that men would leave Italy unclothed and come back home with brand new cars and houses for their families. He thought that the young men would leave and make something of themselves and their families. He wanted the same.  That’s why he left, that’s why these young men leave.”

“His brothers are there. He said that just like my brothers went, I want to be there too in order to live a better life. He left in 2011 on the 29th of March, it’s been 9 years.”

“This date wasn’t particularly important, but I remember why he left on it. This time was right after the (Tunisian) revolution, there was a breach in coastal security, and military presence was minimal. The sea was open for whoever wanted to ride it. The country was in shambles.” 

“The government is neglecting our youth. They are trying to deter these young men by showing them the cases of dead migrants from the past. But how will that stop them when they already feel dead living in this country. This is why they get up and leave, the government does not care about these kids. Our government is only worried about politics and power. It’s worried about those in positions of power.”

Searching for Ali

“When I went to the morgue in Sfax I didn’t expect it to be so intense. As I walked through the mortuary door, I stepped over one of the 13 bodies that lay there. I rummaged through them, frantically looking for clothes I recognized that would belong to my son. I was throwing up everywhere. I was delirious. I didn’t find my son. My other son who came with me started throwing up blood from the trauma. ”

“If he had died, and I had the opportunity to see him in front of my eyes and bury him, I would be at peace. Death comes to every person- but we are constantly chasing, chasing him and his whereabouts. ‘Hello, have you heard anything? Our phone calls would go. My phone doesn’t leave my hand nowadays.”

Impact on Family

“Our family doesn’t gather anymore, life has changed for us. We each eat in separate rooms. Coming together makes us remember the pain and we don’t want to.”

“Thet (siblings) are worried for their brother and want to see him come. But they also are worried about me, they want him to come home so they don’t have to see me in this state anymore. They want this chapter of my life to come to a close so they don’t always have to be worried about me.”


Fazhir’s Message

To all European governments:

“Please for the sake of God, if Tunisia will not extend its hand and take initiative in revealing the truth in our cases, you must take initiative and extend yours. Put pressure on the Tunisian government, call upon the foreign minister, minister of internal affairs, the people, the president, everyone. Tell them to feel for us, to feel for the mothers of these children.”

“We are willing and ready to accept our children’s fate. Dead, in jail, or alive. Give us the truth. Put our unease to rest. Our cases should have been closed within 6 months. It has been 9 years.”

To the American government:

“You are a strong country, a country that abides by law and justice. Your word takes precedence internationally and is heard and respected by all.  Whether through power or diplomacy, other countries will listen to you. We ask for your intervention in our circumstances. We ask you to empathize with our mothers. Feel for our children just as you would with yours.”