Zekarias Kebraeb was just seventeen when he fled his home in Eritrea in 2002 to escape his impending forced military service. To stay would have meant abuse, torture, and possibly even his death. Zekarias had no idea that his journey would span four years, and no concept of how brutal some of the choices along the way would be. He was marched through the wilderness, spent two weeks crossing the Sahara in a truck with no food and far too little water, and then traversed the Mediterranean Sea from Tripoli to Italy in a tiny rowboat. But Zekarias is just one of 67 million refugees in the world today, according to a report by the UN Refugee Agency. Since the beginning of the year and the revolutions in North Africa, more than 30,000 people have fled the region. Behind each number, however, lies the fate of a human being. PARADISE DENIED gives a face to the thousands of refugees who have no choice but leave behind their homes and risk their lives while hoping for a better destiny for themselves and their family.
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