Syrian refugees tell their stories

Syrian refugees tell their stories


My family, they are still living in Aleppo surviving with the basic necessities of life. I try to call them
every day just to make sure that they are still alive, however I’m glad that I
was able to fulfill my mom’s only wish to see her two children in a safer place, as
I recently sponsored my brother to cross the Mediterranean on a rubber boat and he is now in the Netherlands in a refugee camp. Although I feel very safe here in the
United States, I’m constantly deeply concerned about my family and friends in
Syria. We have great potential of Syrians but we are in need [of] your support more than any time to build up a good atmosphere to flourish. My best friends
in Syria are artists, architects, and doctors but their future is full of
mystery and their lives are threatened with death daily. The day before, we were arguing with my mom who would actually could go to the
protest and who would stay because going to a protest in Damascus is not really like going to the market or like going downtown, it’s like either you’ll get arrested or you’ll be killed, and actually it’s kind of the same, being killed is even
better than being arrested. So we agreed that you know two [of us] would go down to the protest and two would stay home and then like in the morning we argued like who would go and who would stay so my mom said, Just go all of you. So we kind of separated
in different points where we knew protests would happen and I was at the “lucky” point. And I remember there were like nine thousand or ten thousand
people, all going out of the Umayyad Mosque, all of them shouting “Freedom, Freedom,” “Hurriya, Hurriya.” and I remember that moment that, this might you know sound very similar to you, it might sound like
a moment from from Braveheart, but this is something for Syrians that is not really usual. I mean you’re born here, you know it’s very normal for you to walk out to
the streets, say you know, act as the way you want, say what you believe, and I mean criticize whatever you see is wrong. This is not even like you know
even like closely familiar in Syria. It’s always hard to talk about this but
I remember how I used to tell my friends especially during the protest that one
day the United States will help us, because either in my English from
reading Readers Digest magazine when I was 5 years old, other kids were playing soccer in the
streets and I was reading Readers Digest, because I just found reading about
America very charming and amusing. We are living in a dictatorship for more than four decades where we were not able to think, talk, or actually do anything. We had
a famous line in Syria that said even the walls have ears. So when the
revolution started, it was a dream coming true for all of us. We
just wanted to feel free, it is very simple. This is something you
have here and you rarely appreciate. A lot of my friends died by snipers, by barrel bombs, by tanks, in the massacres where Assad sent his mercenaries to
kill them. I miraculously survived so many times. In 2013, the Assad regime used chemical weapons to attack several areas around Damascus, he attacked my hometown Moadamiya. When I was there I was exposed to sarin gas on
a day they always described as judgment day. Sarin gas is something… I don’t know how to put it in words, but if death had a scent or a favorite perfume, it would have been sarin. And Assad used that against civilians. I miraculously survived that attack after my heart stopped and I was placed between the martyrs, the dead bodies. After I woke
up the regime was bombing the town very bad, it was like world war three. They were trying to invade and kill who was left alive. I was detained the first time
after a month and a half delivering aid to Moadamiya where Kasim used to live. I remember I stayed there for 10 days. The main thing, I don’t want to disturb you with everything that happened there, but I remember the main thing under torture in Assad prisons
like my only the only thought they had in my mind, that whatever happens
here or after I leave, the only thing that is important right now
is actually not to let anyone to be in the same position where I am right now,
no one should be under like the lashes or electricity or
being tortured by those people. Because it’s not something that any human can handle. I would say that the vast majority of Syrians are not terribly hopeful about what’s going
on now. I think every time there is a new statement from the administration,
the regime, and Russia and Iran look for only two words: political solution, or there is only a political solution. So I mean they they strive to perpetrate this status where the US is not actually enforcing a transition or it doesn’t have to be only the US, but there is no international will to enforce a transition. And as long as the strategy
is to just look Putin in the eye and wish that he would feel the pain of Syrians and pressure
Bashar himself, this is not going to go anywhere unfortunately. A few years later, with all the destruction, with with all the death, there is nothing more disheartening to someone who’s been
living in America for six or seven years to see this convergence between the
right and left on basically calling Bashar al-Assad the lesser evil. This is
incredibly unfortunate and it’s quite antithetical to everything that America
stands for. People on the right seem to forget how much they uphold freedom as
their cornerstone value, and people on the left, progressives, make regime change to be a dirty word when change is the cornerstone of being a progressive. And
when the regime is genocidal you know brutal regime that we have not
seen the likes of which since probably World War II. It’s high time that this has changed and that Syrians get the attention of America and the rest of the world. Obama destroyed Syria. It’s very simple. This guy is more concerned about his
legacy than people. He’s a hypocrite who is using refugees and humanitarian aid
to shine up his image. The fact, the simple facts can say that if Obama acted in 2011
or even 2012 it would have been very simple in Syria. Life would have been very good. Assad would have stepped down. He could have saved the country, saved lives, stopped ISIS from growing. What’s going on right now in Munich is a joke, sad joke unfortunately, because people are dying. Because of that joke, the Russians are
being part of a peace process while they’re bombing the shit out of
hospitals and schools. I dont think that’s anything close to diplomacy or humanity
or anything. Kerry and Obama are just looking around
trying to get anything to throw in front of American public and tell them look,
we’re trying to bring peace to Syria. I can just say that the only thing Obama
brought in Syria was war and devastation and I really hope that his legacy that
is aiming for through the blood of Syrians will eventually hunt him down in
history and show the entire world that this guy could have been a hero but he
chose to be a villain. People like in my mind, like before the
revolution, even for for a long time, not for hollywood and not for like you know the white streets the long buildings, you know the fancy cars (we had a lot of fancy cars in Damascus), I envy the American people for their freedom, for being able to walk
tall, for being able to express what they feel, to express what they believe and
for being able to walk around and criticize what they think, to
say what they think is right, to criticize what they believe is wrong. That’s what the Syrian people envy
Americans for and that’s what they wanted for themselves. Syrian people didn’t go out against their government because they wanted a better economy, because
they wanted a better car to ride in. No, they went against their government
because they wanted to be able to breathe, they wanted to be able to say
that “this is right” and “this is wrong” without being tortured to death.

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About the Author: Sam Caldwell

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