I have finally reached my destination, gathered enough strength and will power to grab a seat at the table. I began to truly question the validity of why many African youth are taking the long journey as migrants (Tahribe) from Africa to an unknown destination. Death is often due to dehydration, lack of food, inexperience and boats becoming capsized. Only recently I have attempted to create a film documentary to raise awareness of the impacts of illegal immigration and the dangers involved. A few days into the interviews, I have met a young girl named Amine. She told me that she was planning to make the journey that would separate her from her family. She did not know if she would ever return to her home again. Amine shared with me her story that could have a devastating effect on her life. She said “First I contacted some people who connected me to others to start my journey. I started talking to others who shared with me their reasons for taking this journey. We all had different motives in taking this very risky and dangerous path and had no idea where it would lead”.
To understand all this, I began by finding out what forces the youth of Africa like Amine to leave her home and family and risk her life in the desert and sea. To face the unforeseen and to suffer humiliation across hostile countries, a journey that has no sure duration, a dream that often turns into tragedy. Talking to amine forced me to do a deeper research on what seems a lethal route to Europe. The journey to Sudan starts via Ethiopia to cross the border to Khartoum, then to the Libyan border. The immigrant will then have to ride an overcrowded bus that is not road worthy. Unfortunately I came to find out everything gets worse as soon as the migrants arrive at the Libyan borders as the journey gets tough by the yard. They approach the world’s hottest and largest dessert, if anyone is alive after this will now arrive at the city of Tripoli. The real horror starts as they board a handmade boat at midnight. They have nothing to eat and nothing to drink.
For me to listen and hear these young adults who are willing to take this journey without having a clear guideline of what’s ahead makes me feel sick in the heart. I truly don’t understand how smugglers make unrealistic promises to mislead the youth to the deadliest route to nowhere. The search for a better live has made these teenagers lose their sense of reasoning. They told me they were in search of a successful life, but what is the true meaning of success? Risk taking does not mean gambling foolishly on your life and behaving irresponsibly. Sometimes in life everyone takes a risk but the risk has to be calculated. What is success? Countless African citizens are said to be in search of success but first we must recognize success is not something that you run into by accident. It takes a lot of preparation and character and determination to succeed. Everything that we enjoy in life is a result of someone’s hard work. Success is not a mystery, it’s simply the results of consistently applying some basic principles. Numerous people fail in life not because they lack knowledge or talent but because they quit on life. The youth nowadays have the attitude that the “the grass always looks greener on the other side”.
The desire to make a million over night has made the lottery a successful business. We are leaving in an age of instant satisfaction. The youth of today wants to take uncalculated risk to get rid of their problems. We must remember that when we go for instant achievement, one never thinks of the consequences. When we don’t have our priorities right, we waste our time without realizing that we are also wasting our life. Prioritizing requires discipline to do what needs to be done rather than taking action based on our moods and imagination. One of the keys to solving this mystery of success is to understand your priorities. Most people set their sights on money. Failures are of two kinds, those who did and never thought and those who thought and never did. Going through life without using your ability to think is like shooting without aiming.
Life is like a cafeteria you take you tray, select you food and pay at the other end. You can get anything you want as long as you are willing to pay the price. Life is not a dress rehearsal. I don’t care what philosophy you believe in, we have got one shot at this game called life. The stakes are too high to waste your life on an uncertain route.
The youth of today are the future generation of tomorrow. Please tell me what time is it and where are you? The answer is now and you are in Africa, let yourself make the best of what you have rather than what you don’t have and utilize the present to the fullest. People who don’t know how to recognize opportunities complain of noise when opportunity knocks on their door. When our attitude is right, we realize that we are walking on diamonds. Opportunities are always under our feet, we don’t have to go anywhere to get it. Success in life is not determined by how we are doing compared with others, but by how we are doing compared with what we are capable of doing and to keep improving constantly. The choice is either to act and get the victory or be the victim.
Are you leading life or is your life leading you? Talking to some of the youth during our filming, I realized they see success on the other side and are after the easy gain of money. So is gambling foolishly and irresponsibly become a way to make money? Money is not the payoff for every kind of work. Parent brings up children with no pay check in mind. Numerous people have lots of money but are still poor. Our objective should be both to have money and be rich. The most unfortunate part of life is when people want to make money without earning it.
Positive thinking is a big part of life. I was living in the city London for over 22 years and during that time the major newspapers have written nothing but negative stories about Africa, which included war, famine, HIV, poverty and hunger. They also wrote about the lack of education and the despair of the daily injustice and much more. However, I have arrived in Africa 18 Month ago having a negative image in my head. It wasn’t too long till I realized Africa’s effort for a better Africa has been denied by many western media. But the real eye opener was when I became a member of the African Union youth and took part in their regular conferences in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The main aim of the youth conference was to engage more African youth and to promote the rising Africa of tomorrow.
Is it true Africa’s rising? Indeed Africa is rising as democracy has slowly struggled to establish itself. African countries have taken three other paths to improve their citizens. Firstly many countries have stopped the fighting. War and civil trouble have declined dramatically as has local conflict. Flare up in the past decade of African wars has become a lot less deadly. Persistent hotspots such as Anglo, chad, Liberia and Sierra Leone are becoming more peaceful, leaving millions better off. Even Congo, Somalia and Sudan have become less violent than they used to be. Secondly Africa’s retreat from socialist economic models has generally made everyone better off. Some countries, such asEthiopia and Rwanda still put the state in the lead. Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian prime minister from 1995 until his death 3 years ago achieved impressive gains by taking developments into his own hand. Other leaders in Kenya and Nigeria have empowered private businesses. African trade has risen from 11 billion to 166 billion. I believe Africa has to transform itself even bigger and better for the decades to come.
My final thoughts are that it is important to raise awareness among our youth about this journey of migrants, (Wadada Tahribe) the parents have a great role to play by guiding and giving direction to their children. The challenge now is to ensure that there is a strong law enforcement put in place. Most importantly, the right implementation can transform youth immigrants from negative thought in life into a positive one to give them a better vision in life. We must strive to create an opportunity in their country and regions. It is essential parents and leaders come together to give the next generation a platform to build a better life and to reach their full potential.
I’m glad to announce that we have finalised a film document about the danger of the migrants roots, which nation voices and jijiga city council well soon screen to raise awareness among the youth around the city council of jigjiga.
Our next article we well be focusing Ethiopian growth and transformation plane two in youth strengthen. For further info about this article contact Nation Voice on
By abdishukri silent cry.