Pharmacist, 1982, Aleppo, Syria.

Peace is what I wish for

April 11, 2016

I need to start a living here

I am a pharmacist. I just got the official refugee status. Now I need to find a job in order to live a normal life, just like every person. I don’t need clothes or money, I just need to work. The war in Syria has been waging for 5 years now, since then our lives are on hold. I need to start a living here. I hope to work as a pharmacist but in the meantime I’m prepared to do some other job. I love to cook. I can do many Syrian specialties. I even have cooked for friend’s birthdays here in Luxembourg already. I think of opening a small restaurant.

My wife and my daughter are still in Aleppo

They will hopefully join me soon. My wife got hurt by the bombings in December. I am very worried at the moment, the bombing has started again in Aleppo. ISIS lost Palmyra recently, now they want Aleppo. The situation is very dangerous in Aleppo right now.

My daughter’s name is Sima. She is 10 years old. She is worried about the war, she wants to come to Luxembourg as soon as possible. She wishes to go to school again. I wish she could live a normal life, a child’s life.

I was born in Raqqa. I finished my studies in 2007, I worked in Syria for 4 years. I had to leave Raqqa in 2011 because of the war. When the war started, it was impossible to continue a regular work so I worked as a volunteer for organizations helping civilians. Fortunately, I could work in my field. We were mainly bringing medicine to old people.

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I arrived in October 2015

I left Aleppo in September 2015. Leaving Aleppo was extremely dangerous. I left alone. I first went to Lebanon, from there I took a plane to Turkey. I took a boat to reach Greece.

We were 65 people on one small boat. Especially the children and their mothers were very stressed and frightened. It was horrible. The women were crying, the kids were crying. The crossing lasted three hours, we left at night and arrived early morning. It was very cold.

Every person had to pay 1000 dollars, children maybe less. The people who organize these trips are dangerous people, it’s the mafia. I didn’t imagine them to be so rude. I thought they would help. They just took the money, put all of us on that boat, far too many of us. We had lifevests but their quality wasn’t safe.

I tried to help on the boat. I talked to the kids, to the mothers, tried to calm them down. They had to stay calm, not move on the boat, otherwise it could overturn. It was very cold.

When we arrived in Mytilini (Lesvos) we were welcomed by the Red Cross. They helped us and handed blankets to the children. Then I headed for Athens among many other refugees in a huge ship. I had my phone but it didn’t work. No one asked me where I wanted to go. They just helped. I went to Macedonia on a bus, then to Serbia walking and with the train. We were many refugees on that road.

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© atelier d’images sven becker

Five years is too long

I chose to ask for asylum in Luxembourg because I knew it is multicultural. Lots of nationalities are mixed, this is very nice. I feel safe here in Luxembourg. I hope the war finishes and I can go back. I have five sisters and two brothers. All are in Aleppo. Five years is too long. All the city is destroyed.

I remember the good times, when I was a student, when I met my wife.

I have a Luxembourgish friend. He gives me hope. I feel less sad since I know him. He is a good man. We’re in daily contact. We met through “Pharmaciens sans frontiers asbl” (Pharmacists without borders). I worked for the same organization in Syria. When I arrived in Luxembourg I contacted that organization. People are very good to me here.

Peace is what I wish for. Everywhere in the world. We are all humans.

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