Among the din of voices in the current refugee crisis, one important voice is often forgotten: that of the refugees themselves. In our brand-new series, Boryana Ivanova visits the camps, Amts and homes to meet the men and women behind the stories.
Nasir. Photo by Boryana Ivanova
Nasir, interviewed at LaGeSo
"I was studying accounting but was called to the army. My parents got scared for my life and told me to go to Europe. When I got to Turkey, a policeman recognised that I was an officer from the Assad army and he punched me in the face. I punched him back and many policeman came and beat me so hard that I spent one month in the hospital. That’s when I decided to continue to Germany.
I’m from Idleb in Syria, there everybody kills everybody. One man, one army. It’s all about the money and power. Soldiers steal everything they can and rape young girls. ISIS gives a lot of money to young boys to fight on their side. Kids are used to the violence, they think it’s something normal. Once I was locked at home for three days during an air raid. When I finally opened the door of my house, there were three heads laying on the street. I’ve seen everything."
Omar. Photo by Boryana Ivanova
"I escaped Syria because I didn’t want to be killed. But here I’m dying too, slowly. Every day I come to the asylum office and wait for my papers. I stare at the screen for 10 hours to see if my number will show up. Bit by bit my hope gives way to anxiety and fear. I’m worried because I need to find a job and get my family here as soon as possible. Every day when I hear bad news from Damascus my heart breaks. I fear for the life of my wife and my four kids. It was a very difficult decision to go to Europe without them.
Coming to Germany was a nightmare, I crossed seven countries and took some serious beating in Turkey and Hungary. But being stuck in a limbo here is even more difficult. I’ve been waiting for a month for my papers and I’m ready to wait for another month. If I don’t have the papers by then I will try to get my passport back and return to Syria. I have no money but I’m sure God will help me on my way. I know my family needs me and I cannot let them down.
Back in Damascus, I was working with deaf and blind children. I was always amazed how accurate their perception of people and situations was. Not being able to use their eyes made their hearts much more sensitive and open. I miss those kids and feel that in a way I’ve betrayed them by leaving. That’s another difficult choice I have to live with. I hope that in the end all the pain and difficulty of coming here will be justified."
Read more of Boryana's encounters at refugeevoice.org