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I can't work but I can't go back. I have nowhere to call home; HE CAME FOR A BETTER LIFE AND FOUND ONLY DESPAIRTRAPPED IN HELL HE CAME FOR A BETTER LIFE AND FOUND ONLY DESPAIR Immigrants like Clive want what we all want - a job, a safe home, a family. But the reality they face is too much to bear.

MANY people in Britain see immigrants as their enemy. Writer Emily Dugan tries to remind those people that immigrants are human beings like them. People from the world's poorest and most dangerous places flee here in search of safety and a decent life, but many suffer hardship, hopelessness and depression. As she interviewed migrants for her new book, Emily met Clive, a 32-year-old from Zimbabwe who has been trapped here in a bureaucratic limbo for seven soul-destroying years. According to officialdom, he is from nowhere. MARIA CROCE heard his story CLIVE spends every day of his life walking around Glasgow with nowhere to go. In a city of 600,000 people, he is alone.

Seven years have passed since he left Zimbabwe to escape dictator Robert Mugabe's thugs.

He made it to Britain - a dream for so many like him who flee the world's trouble spots. But his life here is one of such grinding misery that he would willingly be locked in a detention centre to escape it.

Clive would even be prepared to go back to Zimbabwe and take his chances with the regime, despite the danger he could face there.

Walk go to library, walk That's life - days CLIVE But he is walled in by bureaucracy. He left without a passport in his rush to get out of Zimbabwe and has no paperwork to prove he is a citizen, so Mugabe's officials will not let him back in.

Officials here, under orders not to let migrants settle, make sure he can't find a home or job.

Clive spends many of his nights in a shelter for the homeless, but he has to be out by 8am and can't go back until 12 hours later.

So he walks the streets of Glasgow, day after day after day.

"I walk about and then go to the Mitchell Library, and then I walk about," he said.

"That's my life - every day, 365 days a year.

"This has been going on for years but what can I do? I can't a year do anything.

"Every day I look at people and think of all the days I'm wasting.

"I would love to work and look after myself. I would love to settle down, but how can I? "How can I have a family when I'm on the street? "I want to know where I can call home. I don't have anywhere to call home."

Clive had a comfortable childhood in Zimbabwean capital Harare, where his father was an accountant.

But his family's active support for the anti-Mugabe MDC party made them a target for the regime's heavies. Clive said both his parents were beaten by Mugabe's men, and the abuse of the family got worse after his father died.

He recalled: "I thought, 'I can't go on with this. I'll go somewhere else.' My father left some money and that money helped me leave the country."

Clive paid smugglers to get him into South Africa, then to sneak him on to a cargo ship bound for France. He crossed the Channel hidden in the back of a lorry.

He arrived in London in 2008, but after a time he realised he had to get out. He explained: "London was not good. It was very hard to live there. I felt that if I was to survive I'd end up doing bad stuff.

"The people I was around were doing bad stuff and I thought, 'I don't want to end up like that.'" Clive left, first for Leicester, where he met a girl and tried to put down roots. He tried to claim asylum but his pleas were rejected - because he could not prove where he had come from.

Clive then agreed to return to Zimbabwe - only for the country's embassy to turn him away three times for the same reason.

He was trapped. He lost the girl in 2012 and drifted on to Glasgow, where his plight has only got worse.

By last summer, Clive was drinking dangerous amounts and having fits. A doctor warned him he would be dead in five years.

He began seeing a troubled young woman with bipolar disorder and they spent their days drinking and fighting.

He says she attacked him as his slept one morning and he fought back without realising what he was doing - and was given a 12-week jail sentence for common assault.

Clive says that on three occasions, the hopelessness of his existence has driven him to attempt suicide.

Some here try to help him, as much as they can. People he knows occasionally give him a bed, and he leans on the kindness of homelessness charity The Marie Trust as well as Positive Action in Housing and the Church of Scotland.

The charities help him with food and clothes and he goes to the Marie Trust centre most days for a meal and a wash.

Despite all he has suffered, Clive fights to keep his pride.

"A lot of people expect me to look dirty because I'm homeless but why should I?", he asks.

"I don't see it that way. People often don't believe I'm homeless."

Clive goes online at the library to keep in touch with old friends in Zimbabwe, but it often gives him more pain than comfort.

"They are all married and have their own families," he said.

"We don't say anything much to each other on Facebook. They don't know what's happening to me here.

"I don't want to wait for charity and go from place to place. One day I want to have my own house so I can say, 'I'm going back to my house'.' "But I'm just stuck like this. "All this time I've been wanting just to go. I've asked them even to take me to a detention centre.

"Another year goes by on the street and it's very hard. Even talking about it puts me in danger. I'm worried about what will happen to me here, and what will happen if I go back to Zimbabwe. But I had no choice. I had to leave."

Clive's story, sadly, is far from unique. The United Nations estimate that there are 10million stateless people in the world.

They fall so far through the cracks in our system that no one knows for sure how many are in Britain. But the charity Asylum Aid believe the number grows by 100 every year.

Finding Home - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain by Emily Dugan - is available from Icon Books at PS12.99 for paperback and PS9.99 for eBook.

For more information and to donate to Positive Action on Housing, visit

the days I'm Walk about, go to the library, then walk about. That's my life - 365 days a year CLIVE


DEAD END Clive can see no way out of the limbo he endures in Scotland

COURAGE Opponents of Mugabe often face vicious reprisals

TYRANT Clive says he left to escape Mugabe's regime
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:6ZIMB
Date:Jul 6, 2015
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