The Guardian: Why do elderly Algerians risk their lives in deathboats to “harga” with young people?

London – “Arab Jerusalem”:

The Guardian newspaper published a report by Zainab Beltayeb, a former information technology expert and journalist in the field of cultural affairs, on why adults, not young people, want to immigrate illegally from their country.

The author was about Nawara (65), who expressed her willingness to join the thousands who burn their identities and pay smugglers to reach Europe and start a life again.

The author says that on a clear day, Nawara opened the window of her house in the capital, Algiers, which overlooks the street, and said to herself, “I can no longer live here.” At 65, she wants nothing more than to leave the country and is now thinking of taking the boats that transport migrants on dangerous voyages across the Mediterranean to Spain. “I lost the little hope I had in this country,” says Nawara. Nawara was devastated, and that is not her real name, when her husband, Fodil, died in 2020 as a result of the infection with Covid. Fodil was one of 6,800 Algerians who died as a result of the Corona virus epidemic (according to official figures). Despite his advanced age, he was in good health, and he died two weeks later due to a severe oxygen deficiency. Today she is struggling, the old table in the living room covered with papers: visa applications and copies of the birth certificate. The couple did not have children, but Fadhil has children from a previous marriage. Nawara said: “My husband’s children are cutting his pension for me, and I live on crumbs today. If the visa application to France is denied, I will sell this apartment and get on a speedboat.” “I know it’s illegal and unsafe,” she says, “but I’m looking for a proper place to spend the rest of my life with dignity.”

According to the Spanish authorities, at least 10,000 Algerians arrived on the Spanish coast in this way between January and December 2021, an increase of 20% over the previous year. Most of them depart from cities in western Algeria, such as Oran and Chlef, and usually in the summer when the sea is calm. The shortest distance between Algeria and Spain – Oran and Almeria, is 150 km.

The smugglers get 2,000-7,000 euros per person, and the higher the price, the bigger and faster the boat will be, for a ride that can take between 3 hours and 3 days. The migrants burn their personal identities so that their identities are not quickly discovered when they are arrested in Europe and thus returned to where they came from, and this process is called “burning”.

At least 10,000 Algerians arrived on the Spanish coast in this way between January and December 2021, an increase of 20% over the previous year

The newspaper adds that the process of illegal immigration has increased in recent times, despite the law issued in 2009, which punishes those arrested by border guards with six months in prison while trying to immigrate illegally. Smugglers are sentenced to five years in prison.

In response to the increasing percentage of immigrants or those trying to immigrate illegally, the Algerian government announced the “National Association for the Awareness and Awareness of Youth against the Dangers of Illegal Migration (Harga)” in 2018 and the search for ways to solve the problem to solve . More than 20 organizations and officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs and local authorities took part. The association is a pioneering institution that has organized meetings and workshops in coastal cities to persuade people not to risk their lives. “The goal is to create awareness about the dangers of heartburn and to conserve the country’s human resources,” said Samir Zulekha, director of the association, and “we work with schools, mosques, sports clubs and families.”

Nabil, who preferred to use a single name, said he was thinking of burning, and he could not find work after graduating from the National Institute of Marine Sciences and Coastal Development, and made a living Made of sporadic jobs. “I applied for four years for another job without fruit,” and he is now in his thirties. “I began to lose hope when I saw my university colleagues hold important positions in important institutions, and I was confronted with fact that I am not the son of a prominent official, “he added. His despair is clear, as the newspaper says:” The ambition I had to develop the beaches has melted, and I was fascinated by the sea and its mysteries, “” My mother needs money to dialysis, “and” But I do not see any future here and the heartburn is the only way to build a good future for me and my family. ” Zulekha persuaded Nabil to attend a National Assembly conference aimed at “training young volunteers on appropriate ways to deal with young people who are thinking of fleeing the country illegally, and not just about the educating dangers, but listening to their concerns. and offering solutions, “he said. He added that” his participation will add a new dimension to the conference, “and” previous meetings were to engage with civil society. and talking to the authorities, as well as a face-to-face dialogue between officials and the youth in a way that can lead to tangible solutions. ”

Nawara is waiting for an interview with the French embassy to decide on the issuance of her visa. She is happy and “I plan to travel to Belgium after my arrival in France, where my cousin offered me to stay in her house . I will try to get a job or at least volunteer in a civic organization. I can help with the skills I acquired as a teacher. ” However, France has decided to halve the number of visas granted to Algerians, Moroccans and Tunisians due to the refusal of North African countries to confront illegal immigration. Nawara claims: “If my plan fails, illegal immigration is my last resort.”

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