My fondest memories are those of childhood – memories of playtime, of true friends that I miss in these foreign lands. My city, Qamishli, a small city with humble streets, small houses and beautiful green fields.
I remember my small home, the jasmine and roses all around it, the night gatherings with family and friends. These are not just memories, but the fondest of memories.
Then came the war, death, homelessness, fear and a stream of blood.
Like every Syrian, I felt chased by fear. I wasn’t just afraid for myself, but also for those around me. Death stole the dearest of my friends. And my country became the country of death, the country of fear, the country of oppression.
I started planning to escape, because I was endangering my family. My sixty-year-old father, despite relying on me, asked me to leave. That is when my journey out of the country, where I left my memories, began.
I entered Turkey. There, I began to search for the same people I used to study without ever thinking I’d meet – smugglers.
I was introduced to someone who took me to Greece. He wasn’t interested in me as a person, but the amount of money I’d pay.
When I reached Greece, I learned that any man without a home or address is someone without humanity, a slave. It was like I was being chewed up by people who thought of me as a walking Euro.
I was an easy target. It was four months since I’d fled my country with a small amount of money and no job. I was like a drowning man looking for a straw to hold onto, a prisoner searching for a glimpse of hope.
Smugglers would march you for days between countries without caring about your gender, age, illness or chance of death. They’d put you in coffins while alive, or crates in trucks, never minding whether you’re breathing or not. For them, what’s important is money, just money.
In spite of my suffering and the hardship I experienced, I made to Germany. I’ve made it to a country that respects freedom, a country where I can build a stable life for my family and me.