Abdel and his family
It was a very difficult journey. We left Aleppo because of the war. War is a bad thing, there was death, fear, misery. I was conscripted to fight for the regime, so we took the decision to flee. I didn’t not want to have blood in my hands, to take another man’s life. They cannot make me do that.
When living in Syria, before the war, I had a good job. I was a skilled worker, making plasterboards, fitting wirings, usually for businesses, hotels or private homes. Amina, my wife, took up the upbringing of our children.
It was the journey of death, this is what we call it. Either way, staying in Syria would mean that we’d die. So, we took the risk, either we’d survive or we’d be gone. I undertook a tremendous risk, not only for myself, but also for my wife and my children. But, if we’d managed to make it, we’d have won a life far from the war. To us, it will always be the journey of death.
We crossed from Turkey to the island of Lesbos by boat, just like everyone else. Another difficult journey awaited, this time from camp to camp. From Lesbos, we went to Kavala, then to Herso, from there to Katerini and then to Thessaloniki until finally we settled in Athens. We’ve been through rough times but we’ve also had nice experiences. We’ve seen beautiful places but the worst part was the bad weather, when it as rainy or cold, or when it was very hot. Nevertheless, amidst all these hardships, we were always surrounded by really nice people who helped us and who we’ll never forget.
In the meantime, Amina got pregnant. Since she gave birth to our baby daughter Isra, things are easier, she’s 6 months old now. I cannot describe what relocating to France feels like. We are so happy, we’ll start again, we’ll find stability. Our life will be just like before the war, or even better. I’m certain that a new life awaits, the children will go to school, which is the most important thing for them. I don’t know where we’ll settle yet, but I dream of living in Nice, what a beautiful city! I wish that we’ll love France and that France will love us back. We’ve already started learning French, not only with the help of IOM and the French Embassy but also at home, on our own, thanks to online courses. In France, we’ll try to leave behind us all that we’ve been through, we already try to help the children forget. We don’t want them to talk about it all, or ever go through such an experience again. We two, we’ll never forget, how can one forget such a thing. Our life was unbearable. But the children are still very young, at 9 and 6, so maybe in the end they won’t remember a thing.