Doro
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When politicians talk about the “migrant crisis”, too often they ignore the people at the heart of that crisis – the people who are forced to flee their homes to seek sanctuary in far-off lands. This powerful book tells that very human story: It’s a tale of survival and friendship, reminding us that the decisions of distant policymakers can shape – and destroy – people’s lives. Our world would be a better place if more politicians took this book’s message to heart
Zarah Sultana

Doro: Refugee, hero, champion, survivor

Brendan Woodhouse and Doro Ģoumãňęh
Status: published
Publication Date: 22.06.2023
  • Doro
    Hardback£18.99
  • Doro
    Signed Hardback£28.99
  • Doro
    Ebook£13.99
  • Doro
    Q&A with Brendan£15.00

    A ticket to a virtual Q&A with co-author Brendan - your chance to ask him anything about the book and his experience of volunteering on refugee rescue ships

  • Doro
    Reading List£10.00

    A PDF reading list curated by Brendan, containing books and other resources to aid understanding of issues around the refugee crisis and rescue

  • Doro
    Author talk£150.00

    A talk from Brendan about the themes of the book at your school, university, business or club. Plus ten signed copies, ten ebooks and your organisation's name in the back of the book. Does not include Brendan's travel or accommodation

  • Doro
    Patron£850.00
When politicians talk about the “migrant crisis”, too often they ignore the people at the heart of that crisis – the people who are forced to flee their homes to seek sanctuary in far-off lands. This powerful book tells that very human story: It’s a tale of survival and friendship, reminding us that the decisions of distant policymakers can shape – and destroy – people’s lives. Our world would be a better place if more politicians took this book’s message to heart
Zarah Sultana

‘This is Doro and he is beautiful.’

So begins the extraordinary story of Doro Ģoumãňęh, who faced an unimaginable series of adversities on his journey from persecution in The Gambia to refuge in France.

Doro was once a relatively prosperous fisherman, but in 2014, when the country’s fishing rights were stolen and secret police began arresting Gambian fishermen, Doro left home, fleeing for his life. From Senegal to Libya to Algeria and back to Libya, Doro fell victim to the horrific cycle of abuse targeted at refugees. He endured shipwrecks, torture and being left for dead in a mass grave. Miraculously, he survived.

In 2019, during one of his many attempts to reach Europe, Doro was rescued by the boat Sea-Watch 3 in the Mediterranean, where he met volunteer Brendan Woodhouse. While waiting out a two-week standoff – floating off the coast of Sicily, as political leaders accused Sea-Watch, a German organisation that helps migrants, of facilitating illegal entry to Europe – a great friendship formed.

Told through both Doro’s and Brendan’s perspectives, Doro touches on questions of policy and politics, brutality and bravery, survival and belonging – issues that confront refugees everywhere. But ultimately it is one man's incredible story – that of Doro: refugee, hero, champion, survivor and friend.

Doro is a story of humanity, joy and hope. The story of hardship and bravery that overcomes the demonisation of refugees by the media and many politicians. The story stands alongside so many grim periods of history that blamed the victims of injustice; theirs is the real tale of humanity and heroism in the 21st century’ Jeremy Corbyn

Doro's story

When the weather starts to spoil, the waves in the water knock our boat. Inside the rubber boat, there is wood in the bottom. When the water knocks the boat, the wood in the middle starts to crack and spoil. The wooden boards in the bottom of the boat start to split. People in the middle start to go front. Some people start to go back. And people start to push each other. But me and Ibrahim, where we are, we are still there sitting. When the wood splits, in that area we start to have problems with holes in the rubber tubes and the boat starts to reduce. The air starts to come out of the rubber and the water is coming in the centre of the boat. And the boat starts to come together. It is like if you take a carton of juice and you fold it in the middle and the front touch the back.

After the wood in the middle of the boat cracks, we don’t have any hope. The compass man, he has the telephone and I see him call. He calls the Libyan people. The man he speaks to speaks in Arab and we tell him we are not in international water. It is Tripoli people we call. Before the marines come some people they are fighting. They are pushing each other. Some people push forwards and some people push back and before we know, the boat has more problem and plenty people are lost in the water.

Some people they are unconscious. Some people they are hurt. Some people are praying to God. Some people have calmed down. But some people are talking with the captain and insulting him. They are pushing each other. It is from there plenty people are lost in the water, not only because of the boat scatter that people lost in the water. It is because plenty people are scared. Plenty people are feared. They are fighting each other. When people come to one side, others, they would push them back and tell them to go that side and before they can go, the boat spoil. All the front of the boat come down of air and into the water.

The people all come to the front, the captain say we all come to the front, and only the fuel and the machine are in the other side, where the water are. Plenty people fall in the water. Plenty people. Some people say that they know how to swim and we are not far because we are still in Libyan water. So they go to swim, but all those people they die. Because that time nobody can swim in that water. The water is bad and the weather is not good. You cannot swim up to 50km when the weather is that bad.

The people left in the boat is less than 70 people and the man pushed 100-and-something people from Tripoli. Maybe 50 people they died. They just lost. Women and young men. Nigerian women there are plenty. It is them I remember too much. They were praying to Jesus. 'Oh Jesus Christ, oh Jesus Christ, oh Jesus Christ. Help us Jesus. That we not die here. Help us and our family. Oh Jesus Christ.' I remember them praying. And Muslims too. They are praying. Help us, help us! Everybody was praying and you cannot hear no one, and then in a small time, you will see somebody fall inside the water. And the boat, where the boat have problems, where the water enter into the boat, those people that are sitting there, I think plenty people are lost.

After, we start to call. When we call, the people is not Europe. It is Oussama who come. He is Libyan peoples’ coast guard. It is they who rescue us, but by that time some people lost. We didn’t see them. And the way also Oussama is helping us, he is giving us rubber rings. You will catch the rubber to enter in the big boat, you understand? They surrender our boat with guns. So there also some people that were lost with this. But nobody will mind them.

Before they come, we lost plenty of people. At 4am our boat have problem. Oussama come at around 7am. We all happy to see him, because he come to rescue us. They came first with speedboat, like you guys, but with guns. After they realise that they cannot carry our boat, they call the big boat. Before the big boat arrived it took almost one hour. They didn’t take any of us on to their speedboat, they only give us some small rubber rings. They put the rubber inside the water. It’s like the rubber rings that Sea-Watch have. It’s the small rubbers they throw to the people.

Me I give the rubber ring to other people, because me I know how to float in the water. Me I didn’t lost, but the first people who rushed to catch the rubber rings in the water, some of them lost. Because the time they throw us the rubber, they tell us to take it easy. To take one and one to come, but people, they are jumping. It is panic. Everybody wanting to come in the boat. After me I say to Ibrahim, don’t worry, we will take our time. And people they will do fisher fisher. After we will go.

Plenty people are panicking. Plenty people are jumping to catch the rubber rings. Some people they will jump and catch the rubber but they will catch the rope that is tied to the rings and leave the rubber. They will fall down. No Libyan people will help them. Even the lifejacket they don’t give. They don’t give lifejackets to nobody.

In the end they throw us rubber. Small rubber rings from inside the big boat. So we will catch and put in our legs and they will throw ropes and we will climb up the ropes on to the big boat and we will go and sit down. But some people they are wounded, so they carry them. A Red Cross man bring us small things inside the boat and put things on our wounds. They said we are not going back to the prison, we will go back to our country. But first we will go to Zuwara prison.

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