The Current

'I will give up a kidney': Canadian seeks aid for family trapped in Libyan conflict

Barack Obama has said the biggest mistake of his presidency was not planning enough for what would follow in Libya. Six years after a revolutionary uprising, Libyans outside trying to get help to family inside say we haven't learned from those mistakes.
Ali Hamza and his family have travelled to Turkey from Mississauga in a bid to help his family trapped in Libya. He's calling on Canada to do more to help people trapped in the country. (Submitted by Ali Hamza)

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Libya, in the eyes of many, has become a failed state.

Its economy is in tatters with multiple governments competing for control, militias competing for terrain and its shores ground zero for migrants and traffickers.

While there have been growing calls for Canada to play an immediate role in addressing the dire state of affairs, Libyan-Canadian Ali Hamza has taken matters into his own hands.

His ailing mother and five siblings are trapped in the Ganfouda neighbourhood of Benghazi and he is doing whatever he can to help.

"Life is very difficult. Survival is the question," Hamza tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti about how his family is fairing in Libya.

He says that drinking water is not allowed in and people are relying on puddles and wild grass or leaves as a source of food.

Hamza, his wife and four kids are in Turkey and say they are able to provide water, food and basic medicines to around 30 families.

"We are ready to do that on our own. If we can find permission to go there, we are willing to go there … with some aid."

Ali Hamza and his family stand in Toronto's Pearson International airport at the Turkish airlines gate on their way to Turkey. (Submitted by Ali Hamza)

Hamza tells Tremonti his car is being auctioned to help put money towards the supplies.

As of July 16, Hamza says he's been in contact with the Canadian government.

After it was confirmed by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that people were eating expired food and medical supplies were gone, Hamza says he asked for aid and a safe exit.

"There has been no single shipment of aid through the UN … since July of last year," he insists.

Hamza says it's very painful to watch the dire situation unfold as a Libyan-Canadian worrying for his family.

"I'd give them every piece of my body just to have them survive this ... that's my appeal in Turkey," Hamza declares.

"I will give up a kidney. I will give up — if the doctors allow — part of my liver to a country that delivers water to them, and takes them to safety within Libya."

"Yes I will do that."

Listen to the full segment at the top of this web post — including a look at the consequences of Libya's failed state.

This segment was produced by The Current's Karin Marley, Samira Mohyeddin and Steph Kampf.