My Fourth Time, We Drowned: Seeking Refuge on the World's Deadliest Migration Route.

AuthorKarelia, Marja

Hayden, Sally. My Fourth Time, We Drowned: Seeking Refuge on the World's Deadliest Migration Route. Brooklyn, NY: Melville House Publishing, 2022.

Sally Hayden was at home in London when she received an urgent message on Facebook: "Hi sister Sally, we need your help. We are under bad condition in Libya prison. If you have time, I will tell you all the story" (xi). Thus begins My Fourth Time, We Drowned: Seeking Refuge on the World's Deadliest Migration Route. It is a harrowing documentation based on hundreds of interviews with migrants and refugees through various social media channels: journeys from Africa to Libya followed by a death-defying sea voyage to Europe. Sally Hayden's credentials are impeccable. She is an Irish investigative journalist focusing on migration, conflict, and humanitarian crises, particularly refugee issues. She has a law degree from University College, Dublin and an MSc in International Politics from Trinity College, Dublin. Her reporting has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and elsewhere and has been featured on CNN International, Al Jazeera, and the BBC.

Threading through her thought-provoking book is the refugee experience of a young man, who made the initial plea for help. At various points of his journey from Eritrea to Libya and to his many attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea, Hayden reports on some of the wider issues surrounding that dangerous journey. Her contact information spreads among the refugees, while she explains her limitations as a reporter of not being able to help them directly. However, her contact information spreads throughout the detention camps and her book presents the results of a years-long investigation on the survival struggles and resilience of refugees living in deplorable conditions at Libyan detention camps amid long-term political turmoil. Hayden includes numerous direct quotes by refugees, reporting them anonymously to protect the identity of her contacts and their families. One refugee informs her, "You are our hope to make the world know about us, to know our suffering in the hell country, Libya" (47).

While reading her book, it becomes increasingly clear that the Central Mediterranean route deserves its reputation as the deadliest migrant route in the world: a journey from African countries, such as Eritrea, South Sudan, Somalia, and across the Sahara to Libya, and finally the deadly crossing to Italy. Smugglers and human traffickers...

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