I AM NOT A
As a kid, I always dreamed of living a better life. Due to the poor financial situation of my parents and many other reasons, I decided to explore options that would allow me to change this condition and live the better life I had always dreamed of living. I wanted to have the opportunity to work and make money to ensure a decent life for my family and me. Inspired by the success stories of people who had left my country to work in northern Africa, I left my home country Guinea to follow in their footsteps and ended up in Libya. While leaving my country as an innocent but motivated teenager, I had no initial plan to come to Europe. All I wanted was to migrate to a peaceful country and live a decent life.
My problems started when I embarked on the journey to Northern Africa. Along with other migrants, I slept in dangerous places and ate unhealthy food. Travel agents regularly robbed me of my little money in the Sahara desert. I spent days without eating and with-out drinking enough water, but my motivation to seek a better life kept me going. Without knowing what was ahead of me, I held onto the hope that I was heading for a land of opportunity. Instead, I found myself in a horrific situation in Libya. My dream became a nightmare as armed men regularly exploited me for unpaid labour.
I would work for the whole day, and instead of getting paid after a long day of work, they would point guns at us and chase us away. My life became characterised by fear and hopelessness in Libya, as lawlessness, kidnapping and rape became normal. Armed Libyan civilians would commit gruesome crimes like rape, shooting and even stabbing black african immigrants, like me, without being questioned by anyone. Seeing this situation only getting worse and knowing that any of us could be killed at any time without any respect for our fundamental right to life, I was left with no other choice but to migrate to Europe for safety and peace.
I saw Europe as heaven, a place where I would be safe and which would allow me to achieve the big dreams that pushed me to leave my family as a teenager. I came to Europe searching for this peace and a decent life that I could not have in my country, certainly not to be a threat to anyone. As a young man with big dreams, I only came to Europe for the opportunities I would not have in Africa. My whole life has been defined by my quest to live a better and decent life away from home, and despite all the challenges and traumatising experiences I have had during the course of this journey, I have always remained peaceful and law–abiding. I am neither a terrorist nor do I encourage any act of terrorism in any given circumstance.
Despite the current situation, I feel protected here in Malta. I am able to work to feed myself and pay bills; to refresh my mind and reduce the stress of being prosecuted for years now, I engage in activities such as going to the gym or playing football with my friends. The activities really help my mental health and the friendliness and support of the ordinary Maltese people really give me a sense of hope and reassurance in humanity. On days that I have to appear in court, I wake from my bed believing that I am going to be acquitted. I know and believe that truth will always prevail. That I can neither be a terrorist nor encourage any act of terrorism under any condition. All I want now is freedom and the opportunity to be a lawful and productive member of society. I want to live here peacefully and respect the rules and regulations of the country.