The Stories of Missing Migrants

Haseen: Bilhaseen’s Story

The Stories of Missing Migrants

Haseen: Bilhaseen’s Story

“I pray to god that he’s out there somewhere. I just want to hear from him that he made it, even if he’s in prison somewhere. I want a phone call from him, I’ll be happy so long as I can hear his voice again. “


“He wasn’t given his rights in this country. They compensated him with 2000 dinars. 2000 dinars for his fingers that were cut off and thrown out. Tunis failed to compensate him (through health insurance).  He found no one to support him. When he lost his fingers he found no one to help him. He was fed up with this (injustice) so he decided to leave and find it elsewhere.”

“Getting a Visa and going there legally was not an option. It would cost him thousands, he didn’t have the money. I pleaded with his boss to let him work under the table. For him to get enough money so he can work and live independently. His boss refused, instead he gave him 3000 dollars in cash. He took this money and used it to migrate illegally. He found nothing here.. It wasn’t the logical thing to do but he found nothing here and it pushed him over the edge so he left. ”

“We applied for his VISA, and they didn’t want to give it to him. He initially (before everything happened) wanted a VISA so he can tour Europe or maybe even find a job, but he didn’t get it.

“He didn’t tell me anything before he left. All I know is that I heard through someone they were leaving through the Hawaraia (Tunisian city). In two hours, they’d get to the island (Pontalaria), which they did. But after that I don’t know. Did they die? Were they caught? God knows.”

“Three days after he left my wife got a call. She didn’t answer because she was preoccupied babysitting. We missed the call and found that it was an unkown/ no-caller ID. That’s all we ever got, that one phone call, that’s all we know about him.”

Searching for Bilhaseen

“In the current state I  have not a single clue about where he could be. ”

“I went to the ministry of foreign affairs.. I opened a case, I told them my son’s story. I brought all of the necessary documents, his photos, his passport, everything. I even went to Samir Dilou of the ministry of human rights. I’ve opened more cases than I can count at the ministry of foreign affairs. I put up a fight, but they did nothing to help me. There wasn’t a thing I haven’t tried. They did nothing. Where is he? Tell me at least, if he is dead or alive. They told me they searched all the hospitals but with no luck, and that I wasn’t giving them a real name. So I took a DNA test too, I haven’t heard anything to this day.”

“I go to the ministry all the time, they do nothing. They ask me for the documents and then do absolutely nothing. If they were serious they would find my son.I even went to the Italian embassy in Italy. They brushed it under the rug like they always do. It becomes disheartening even trying to fight when your in my situation.”

Impact on Family

“My wife will see his clothes and begin to cry. This is the 7th Eid now without him. She spent each one in tears. Every Eid my granddaughter tells me ‘he will come this time he will come this time.’ Yesterday I asked her ‘Eid just passed why isn’t he here yet?’ (Laughs) she told me ‘it’s ok he will be here next Eid.’”

“His sisters think about him all the time. They felt his absence. Especially during times like Ramadan. They were very close. 

“Every Eid my little one (granddaughter) will tell me: dad he’s coming back this time, he’s coming back this time.”

Haseen’s Message

To the Italian and European governments:

“Do us a favor. If our children are in prison, please help us and set them free. We are burning for our children. Now is the time. Baji Sibsi is gone, Berlusconi is gone. Please give us our children now, we’re burning for them.”

To the American government and its citizens:

To America, I ask that they stand with us in our search. The government as well as its people. What can I say, to these people I hope that they can raise awareness for my son. If they ever see him or have any information on him to let it be known and to put it on Facebook. I don’t think that they can make him magically appear, but sharing his story on social media is the best we can do.