16 June, 2016

My story as a refugee: Jihad from Palestine and Syria

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Category: Refugees, Refugees' stories
Viktor Szabados
7 am

“I come originally from Palestine, as my grandparents were forced out in 1948, they left ever since to Syria where my parents, me and my sisters were born, we were Palestinian refugees in Syria and we are refugees once more in Europe. In Syria we were treated exactly as the Syrian citizens and we had access to all the social benefits, we had all the rights and the obligations as any other Syrian citizen, we felt like home! I hold a Bachelor degree in Media and Mass Communication as well as a two years diploma in Economics and Trade. I haven’t had the chance to continue my Master studies in Syria as I had to leave before finishing it, but I was able to go further with my studies in Berlin as I am studying now Media and Communication Management.

I used to work as a journalist for many media means and then I joined the UN where I worked for almost six years before I had to quit my job and leave. My family and I used to live in Yarmouk camp which was established basically to host the Palestinian refugees in Damascus, Syria and then it was inhabited by almost 800.000 people both Syrians and Palestinians. Al-yarmouk camp is occupied now by Alqaeda and the IS. In 2012, the camp turned into a battle field between the government side on the one hand, and the opposition and the Alqaeda from the other side, that’s when we experienced our first exodus as most of the inhabitants run away in one single day!

In 2014, the situation was so bad in Damascus, as the mortar was falling like rain, and many of my friends and relatives were injured and some lost their lives. That was the moment when we sat as a family to discuss about what to do, and that was the moment when we decided to leave everything behind and try to save our lives. I started the journey with my mother and two sisters 27 years old, and 21 years old. We had to travel by bus from Damascus, Syria in the south to Aleppo in the north by bus, and during the trip we had to go through the IS controlled areas. My family had to wear black vails and dresses to cover all of there body. We had to jump into and climb the almost a 3.5 meters deep trunch on the borders, and then to face the armed Turkish soldiers who pointed the guns into our chests asking us to go back. We tried once again and we were succeeding to enter. Then we went to a city called Azmir on the western coast where we took boats to Greece. Our boat sank unfortunately and we were rescued by the coastguards. My mother didn’t know how to swim, so I sticked to her inside the water holding her and calming her down until we were rescued. Then we were able to reach Germany afterwards. I am engaged in many initiatives concerning empowering and facilitating the integration of the refugees in the German society. I also work part time as a student.” – Jihad

/The panel discussions WPAwelcome, WPAmeet on the refugee thematic was organised by the German Youth Council РDBJR with Jihad as panel guest; the refugee installation at the EYE2016 & YO!Fest was initiated by the War & Peace hub member organisations German Youth Council РDBJR and the No Hate Speech Movement РNHSM

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