Illegal migration via Tunisia: “If there are problems, the first thing he has to do is jump into the sea”


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“Thank God I’ve never sunk a boat,” says tugboat Hassan. It is not entirely clear whether he is saying this more out of fear of prison or because he would then have to deal with his own conscience. He emphasizes that even those who embark on the journey “know their risks and have to take responsibility themselves.” And if none of his customers die, but they are arrested anyway, he will “with all the money that I earned, pay someone and get out of jail quick.”

Hassan appears confident and relaxed. “I’m already scared. Even now, because I’m talking to you.”

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the EU have signed a migration deal with Tunisia, similar to the one that Angela Merkel once agreed for the EU with Turkey. Hassan considers it ineffective. “Not even the Prophet himself could prevent the Harka.” That’s what illegal immigration is called there. And he, Hassan the smuggler, is the Harka.

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