To cross the sea, a lady must be “stronger than a lion”

21-year-old Linda* from Daraa, Syria, was on a frail blue wooden boat out on the wide sea thousands of kilometers from land, and she didn’t care if she lived or died. Her only objective was to bring her sick mother to safety, away from the conflict back home and away from the icy sea they had been drifting on without food or drink for almost two days, along with 125 other refugees who had escaped the Libyan coastal city of Sabratha in the dead of night. Linda, her mother, and the others were saved when the German search and rescue ship Humanity 1 intercepted their boat.


She sobbed as she strolled around the open deck during the hectic initial hours following the rescue. She zigzagged between a huge line of frozen survivors waiting to see the ship’s doctor and individuals waiting in line for a change of clothes while wearing a black tracksuit with white stripes. Emergency blankets made of bright aluminum were wrapped around a few of them. The sound of their movement took her back to her childhood days unwrapping candy packages.


With her brows knitted and tears welling up in her eyes, Linda grabbed a crew member and said, “Can I just charge my phone? I have a message to send. She extended an iPhone that had dried salt residue on it and a shattered screen. Her three-week-long fiancĂ©, who was still detained in a smuggler sanctuary in Libya, had no idea if she was dead or alive after losing contact with her for 22 hours. She broke down in tears when told she would have to wait a few hours.

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