From 1996 to 1997, Abdel Rahman first lived as an exile in Libya. There, he bore witness to a bleak reality, where human rights held little to no ground. From the outset, he endured what he calls “the grim choice to stay and die, or leave and risk it:”
In Libya, there were continuous arrest campaigns, and arbitrary detentions and deportations of illegal and legal migrants. They were migrants who came to Libya at the request of Colonel Gaddafi, who had declared that his country welcomed all Arabs, as well as the oppressed and poor Africans.
There was permanent persecution and discrimination against black Libyan and Sudanese migrants in particular. The racism against blacks in Libya was a practice of the Libyan state, and society. They publicly called the Sudanese “slaves”, and if you tried to defend yourself you were beaten by every Libyan present at that moment. The police would not interfere to protect you because it was mentioned in “Holy Koran of the Arab Muslims” that the blacks are slaves of the Arabs.