Isn’t that enough?

Foto: dpa

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A. Hakmi, 24, is from Syria. At 21, he was arrested by the Assad regime, spend several months in prison. During the civil war, he worked as a stringer for international news outlets and reported from the besieged city of Homs. In 2014, he arrived in Germany on a scholarship. He is currently living in Berlin.

  • It’s the fifth anniversary of the revolution, five years have passed, wow! Really? Five years?
  • It all started when we, the people, asked for our rights and freedom. We said: Enough, enough with tyranny, with suppression, with oppression.
  • Everyone wanted to do something, to participate, to help. Activists, media personnel, relief workers, medics, protest organizers … It was fascinating to see different people from different social and religious backgrounds, working together for their one and only cause.
  • At the beginning of the revolution I used to have daydreams: "In a couple of months we’re gonna get rid of this barbaric regime, the first thing we’re gonna do is we’re gonna release the political prisoners. It’s gonna be the best moment of my life, I bet I’m gonna cry …"
  • That moment never came.
  • How many people exactly were killed? How many imprisoned, tortured, how many lost a loved one?
  • Ever since March 15th, 2011, millions have participated in the revolution. They protested, were shot at, but still, they never stopped.
  • They never spared anything on the way to freedom. Whatever it took, they gave: blood (their own), family (their own), lifesavings (their own).
  • Many sacrificed their souls for our freedom, I envy them, they’re in heaven now. No more suffering for them.
  • How could it have been now, over there, home, in Syria, if the regime was overthrown in the first year of the revolution? How many lives could have been saved? How much suffering could have been prevented?
  • I miss almost everything about home.
  • ISIS, how did it start and become so powerful? What’s the reason ISIS exists now?
  • The regime, in my opinion, is the reason why ISIS exists. The Syrian regime’s horror is the horror that led to ISIS and it is hundreds of times worse (literally, with numbers and statistics).
  • This regime is getting away with its crimes.
  • This regime is getting help to fight ISIS, the lovechild of this regime and its allies.
  • The situation as it is now, the regime, the rebels, ISIS, Lebanese militias, Iraqi militias, Iran, Russia, the international coalition, the Kurdish militias … What made this mess?
  • The Syrian people have no control over what’s happening in Syria.
  • People are killed, tortured, imprisoned.

I miss almost everything about home. 

  • Now after five years, how many more years will it take so the poor people get some peace? Isn’t that enough?
  • I miss almost everything about home. I miss the dinner table, our discussions with each meal, my brother teasing my sister and her yelling at him, dad’s jokes, everything of mom. I miss the living room, our social club, watching action films with dad and brother every weekend, sharing gossip with mom and sister. I miss my bedroom, I wish I could go back in time just for five minutes to lay on my bed and feel that feeling again.
  • When I first came to Germany I thought it’s over, no more suffering.
  • But how can I enjoy life here while my life is still there in Syria?
  • At any moment any family member could be taken away by the secret service for absolutely no reason.
  • If - God forbid - that happens, that he/she could die there. I can’t take that, after losing dozens of family members and friends in the war.
  • I don’t think I can handle that anymore.
  • I like Germany as a country, and I respect the German culture and values, but after a while it turned out it’s not easy to blend in.
  • We brought our culture and values with us, and since we’re here in Germany now we should fit into the German society. But these two cultures sometimes clash, what should I do?
  • I can’t just pick one culture over the other, and mixing them it really tricky.
  • When cultures and values clash, it leads to feeling lost and lonely.
  • I’m supposed to support my family now, but I can’t do that yet, I’m taking a language course so I’m not working.
  • It hurts.
  • Sometimes here in Berlin I’m eating something delicious, and then I remember my family. I start thinking: Now I’m enjoying this food here while they’re sitting there, no heating, no electricity.
  • It just drives me crazy.
  • When I talk to my family over skype, it’s strange. Their looks have changed, dad has aged, sister and brother have grown up, while I was away.

Will I die here or at home?

  • Will I have kids here, in Germany? Will I become even a German citizen? And will we be part of this society? Or will we stay foreigners who have their neighborhoods and closed circles?
  • I want us to add something to the culture, to enrich the country. I think Syrians will be something in middle, not isolated but not living the German lifestyle to the max either. I believe it’ll be some kind of 50 50 approach.
  • Will  I die here or at home?
  • Even when I’m having doubts, one thing I’m sure about is that when I will die I hope it happens at home and there I wanna be buried.
  • I always think about how the Germans rebuilt Germany after World War Two, they started from scratch, with that horrible situation - millions were killed in the war, everything was bombed and destroyed, poverty, famine ... And yet, today, the country is the heart of the European economy and one of the world’s leaders in so many fields.
  • It means it might be possible to build a country from scratch, it’s an inspiration for Syrians.
  • But we need something before starting to rebuild, we need the war to end.
  • My biggest concern is when I’m gonna see my family again, and will I go back to Syria some day?
  • I love home so much but I can’t just go back.
  • Home is the place one feels tranquility, just thinking about it, it’s not only a physical thing, a place, it’s also the neighbors who know you since you were little, it’s where people understand you without even talking. Not being able to go back feels numb, it feels dead.
  • When my German friends go on vacations and come back to Germany I envy them, they leave whenever they want, but they can come back home.
  • Will I go back there? When?
  • How many of March 15 should pass until the war in Syria is over?
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