The Stories of Missing Migrants

Malika: Hassan’s Story

The Stories of Missing Migrants

Malika: Hassan’s Story

“I haven’t been given a sign of life since the day he left. Not a phone call or text. Not even dead or alive. Nothing”


“Initially, he wanted to migrate the right way, he was trying and looking for opportunities in Europe and even waiting and preparing his Visas. That was his plan. But these guys (people he left with) came along and persuaded him to go illegally. They played with his head.”

“He prepared to leave in secrecy. He didn’t tell me. No one knew he was going. Until right before, when he told his dad and Robert, and we also found out. We begged him to stay and told him we’d make it work for you. We told him that we would work to get his papers and his Visa done so he can go the right way. But on the day that he left I had no clue. And when I found out it was too late.

“He was so adamant on leaving because of a few things. Firstly, he lived a very difficult childhood. He also felt like he had his back against the wall, with no way to make a living here successfully. Also seeing all his close friends leave made him give in to the peer pressure eventually. The unemployment was especially unbearable for him and his friends too. It made them go down a dark path consisting of excessive drinking. Alcohol and alcohol addiction had ruined our youth here. Tunisia is now number one in alcohol consumption amongst Arab countries.”

‘We are also first in rates of depression. It’s a sad reality. Many people don’t have anything to eat in the streets. Even vegetables are now increasingly harder to afford. With all these problems what other paths could he take? Of course, he is going to drink and smoke, and take pills. He numbs himself so he can get into even more trouble: stealing and robbing, so he can have food to eat. He is always medicated because he never wanted to feel the harsh realities while being in this country.”

Impact on Family

“After he left, I felt it most. I became very tired, I became ill. I would always feel stressed, and I wouldn’t even laugh anymore. I’m living but I feel dead inside. Life changed, there isn’t a sweetness to it anymore. I just want to know whether he is dead or alive. I even began talking to myself when I’m out in public and people see that.”

“I left before Hassan was missing. It was a bit easier on me because I was away. But I still felt the pain. I had a great deal of trauma and hysteria. I was his number one, arguably even closer than his parents.” – Nerimen (Hassan’s sister)

Malika’s Message

To Italian government and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

“At least let me know if he is dead or alive. Every day I visit the cemetery and just cry. I go clean his gravestone and talk to him, and leave. It makes me feel relieved.”

“If you aren’t part of this problem, help us find a solution. This is a matter of human rights. Feel for these children. Picture these not just as any children, but your children too. Bring us the truth. Think: if he was your son, wouldn’t you be chasing for the truth like we are?….”

To the American government:

“I pray that they stand with us. I pray that we see some kind of progress and that the truth is revealed. I pray that they stand by us and support us in the search for our children. And they expose the injustice that is really going on behind the scenes.”