Written by Rizal Imran – Syrian refugee.They say a man’s home is his castle. It can certainly said that a man’s country is his identity. Torn by the civil and military strife in their country, millions of refugees left behind their birth right and heritage for fear of certain death, to find a place to call home.
The plight of every individual that experience this flight is a story that will make a permanent mark on their soul. No one chooses to be a refugee without having a reason. Despite the reason the hatred and unimaginable inconvieniences faced is not worth the trip . But a man needs somewhere to lay his head and protect his family. Faced with unspeakable hatred, this man tells his story.
You’re 29 years old with a wife, two children and a job. You have enough money, and can afford a few nice things, and you live in a small house in the city. Suddenly the political situation in your country changes and a few months later soldiers are gathered in front of your house. And in front of your neighbours’ houses. They say that if you don’t fight for them, they will shoot you. Your neighbour refuses. One shot. That’s it.
You tell your wife to get the children dressed. You grab a small bag, because anything bigger will be impossible to carry for a long time. You hastily throw your smartphone and the charger in the bag. Because you saw the emergency coming, you have already scraped all your money together. The kind people smuggler charges 5,000 euros per person. You have 15,000 euros. If not, you will have to let your wife go.
The journey to the border takes two weeks on foot. You are hungry and for the last week have barely eaten. Half the time you have to carry your younger daughter. She is only 21 months old. A further 2 weeks and you arrive at the sea. In the middle of the night you’re loaded onto a ship with other refugees. You are lucky: your whole family can travel.
The ship is so full that it threatens to capsize. You pray that you don’t drown. A few small children have died of thirst. The smugglers throw them overboard. When the coast is in sight, you are loaded onto small boats. Your wife and the younger child are on one, you and your older child are on another. You are warned to stay silent so that nobody knows you’re there.
Your older daughter understands. But your younger one in the other boat doesn’t. She doesn’t stop crying.
The other refugees are getting nervous. They demand that your wife keeps the child quiet. She doesn’t manage it. One of the men grabs your daughter, rips her away from your wife and throws her overboard. You jump in after her, but you can’t find her again. Never again.
Your wife hasn’t spoken a word since your daughter died. But you have to keep going. You are just about to arrive at the emergency accommodation. It is 10pm. A man whose language you don’t understand takes you to a hall with camp beds. There are 500 beds all very close together. In the hall, it’s stuffy and loud.
The next morning you’re given some clothes. You are given 140 euros. For the whole month. Then a ‘concerned citizen‘ comes by and abuses you. You don’t know why. You don’t understand “Go back to your own country!”