Syrians reflect on refugee option

A Syrian boy in an abandoned park in Lesbos, Greece, now a refugee camp. Credit: Patrick Nicholson/Caritas

A Syrian boy in an abandoned park in Lesbos, Greece, now a refugee camp. Credit: Patrick Nicholson/Caritas

Every time I watch the news showing refugees arriving to Europe, risking their lives and their children’s lives by throwing themselves into the sea to escape from Syria, I see in them only desperation.

Five years of war means not just killing and blood. War means displacement, insecurity, poverty, long term injuries, family disintegration, mental illness, children out of schools, homeless on the streets, unemployment, increasing prices every day, no electricity, no medication, no water, terrible winters without heating, danger, fear, hunger.

All these things cause terrible pressure on us every day, we just can’t stand anymore and we always try to find a solution. Some of us found the solution in immigration.

Those who would leave

Walaa is a case worker in our counselling project. She is the mother of a 3 year old girl. She applied with her family to get a visa for a European country like thousands of Syrians have done in the last few years. She was accepted but her husband and daughter were refused.

She passed by our office to say goodbye, her eyes were puffy, she was crying all night while holding her sleepy daughter between her arms.

When we asked her about her decision of emigration, she said: “We think that happiness is waiting for us there. I have the opportunity to do so, so I should try. This will cause suffering to all of us, especially my little daughter who will start school this year. I will not be there for her first day of school. I hope she is going to forgive me one day and to understand that I am doing that for her, in hope that I can bring her in soon, and offer her better life!”

Carine is an accountant in the national office. She is 27 years old. She said: “If I have the chance, I will leave immediately. I feel that young people don’t have any future here. I reached the age of youth, the most beautiful age, the age of ambition, dreams, activities, planning for future, but war destroyed all that. I can’t dream here, I can’t build anything for my future. We can barely manage to survive and to provide our life necessities. Thinking of the future became a fantasy in this country.”

Dia is one of our beneficiaries. She is 32 years old and the mother of 4 children. she said, “Do you think this is a life that we’re living here? I feel myself like an animal, doing nothing but trying to provide food for my children who almost sleep with empty stomachs every day. Sure, I want to leave. The situation might be difficult outside, but here is the worst.”

A Syrian family just arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos. Credit Patrick Nicholson/Caritas

A Syrian family just arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos. Credit Patrick Nicholson/Caritas

Those who stay behind

Mounir is a father of three children. He said, “I lost my house in Daraya, I was a famous carpenter there, I lost my factory and shop. I’m living now in my parents-in-law’s house. I’m jobless and my savings will finish soon. I need help and I don’t know if emigration would be the solution.”

Moustafa is 50 years old; he lost his son during this war. “No I want to stay here, although the sky turns black sometimes because of the war smoke, but the sun is still shining every day in Syria,” he said. “I lost my son in this war. I had the chance to leave after that many times, but I feel that I have an obligation to my country, toward my needy and grieving people. Syria needs me now more than ever.”

Kamila is 40 years old. “The most important thing for me is my family love, to be surrounded by my family and my beloved ones. I can’t find that in a strange country because I will be a stranger there. I only can find that in Syria, although a lot of my family members left the country.

Marissa, my nine year old daughter, who started studying the Syrian history this year: “No I don’t want to leave Syria; we have plenty of beautiful things here that we can’t find in another country. We have Palmyra, Bosra, old Damascus, Al-Azem Palace, my grandparents’ house, my bicycle and my bed. No, I don’t want another country. I love Syria.”

Help us here

You might help some of these people who succeeded in arriving alive to your country by some clothes, food or even finding jobs and shelters, this will help a lot to reduce their sufferance, but this is not a solution for us as Syrians.

Support us here inside, help us extinguish the fire of war in our country and don’t fuel it more by blaming one party without the other, talk loudly about the truth, about the human being who is suffering tremendously in Syria, stop the sanctions on our country, which are making rich people richer, and poor people even poorer. Press on your governments to stop the war in Syria and stop sending weapons and Jihadist, help us rebuild our country.

Pray for us. We need to breathe – we really need to breathe.

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