By Lava Khaled
I forcibly left everything behind, and took the difficult roads towards Kurdistan in Iraq fleeing the regime which was after me due to my participation in the revolution, protests and organisation of youth movements. I was also fleeing the authorities which were trying to get me to join the regime’s army which kills my brothers and the people’s revolt which was taking place at that time in various districts in Syria. I refused to join a battle which wasn’t my own, or in other words, I refused to kill and be killed, and so I chose to flee and the life of a refugee.
The war in Syria decided my family and put them in danger, my brothers are being called to serve along the regime, and my family shake in the face of tyranny.
My name is Wael Malla, I’m a Kurdish Syrian, I am a young man, a graduate of Natural Sciences, I use to work on one of the private hospitals in the kurdish city of Qamshli as an assistant surgeon. I suddenly found my self unemployed, having nothing and staying in a tent in a large campaign the outskirts the kurdistan city.
that’s a very painful feeling, no one but those who lived it will understand it, to lose ones home and to feel inferiority, humiliation and loss of dignity.
I stayed in that camp for around three years, I could not live idly in a tent waiting for a late of race or a helping hand, I started doing volunteer work with other camps and international organisations which are suppose to have come from oversees to offer offer help. I helped as much as I could, my media activity was always present and progression and until I become a corespondent for one of the well known news organisations, I tried in every news report I gave or picture I took to capture the suffering of kurdish Syrian refugees and their needs and losses and longing for their home which was falling apart day after day. I worked hard every day to be the voice of the refugee and to resist that difficult reality in all of it’s various aspects, I met a lot of media personals, and due to my many connections with people working at tv stations I conducted a lot of interviews with special cases of refugees living in the camp hoping that ti may do some good or find a solution to their causes. I also conducted political interviews with makers and shapers of decisions, the decisions which have touched every detail of our lives, I never sat in my tent, and I did not allow my conditions to take over me, I was in face a part of the first group of young kurds to welcome the crowds of refugees from Kubani at the gate of Ibrahim Khalil at the boarder between Turkey and Iraq, we gave them medical help, we also had weekly rounds for all the camps of kurdistan, I use to write about the pains of the people there, and try to communicate their experiences to the human convince, that is, if it still exists.
The number of refugees and refugee tents there increased which exhausted the kurdish government in the region and caused it great economic, social and security burdens, especially after the attacks of ISIS, which considered Kurdistan it’s target. And so the region was filled with those displaced and those seeking refuge from the attacked area of Sinjar.
Without a pen or a paper, without a camera lens, started my second journey of seeking refuge. walking on foot, with a number of some smuggled individuals for two days, we headed towards Turkey (The starting point of a lot of syrians fleeing from Assad’s hell and his death machine…Syrians who are looking for a moment of peace) the word which irritated every syrian in turkey was (Sooryly) they use to say it and point their fingers at us, as if the syrian is a criminal , or a worthless thing.
Our group was around 20 people, children, women, and young people, despite our feat we decided to ride a hunting boat with other families. The boat usually carries 4 people is now carrying 25.
We sailed the sea for two hours, maybe more (I don’t remember)…in these two hours one does not know how to feel, fear, faith, quite and giggling, holding on to the sided of the boat and raising your hand, crying, praying…whenever the noise of the boat changed, the heart’s beating changed with it, when it stopped, the heart stopped, sometimes another boat passed by and you would fear for the life of it’s passengers more than your own. Everyone is syrian, everyone is a refugee, everyone is fleeing and no one on this sea is a stranger bu the sea it’s self and the turkish and greek rescue ships.
Once we landed on one of the Greek islands, we were able to breath finally. Once you get there, you feel as if you won a battle you were sure you were going to lose. The survivors begin to take pictures and send it to their loved ones and kiss each other, only my memory and my phone;s sense -which was later lost- documented this journey, we slept on the streets, shared out bread, and overtime we drank water together it was from the same bottle. There were many Syrians, tens, no hundreds and maybe more. Two days later, we were on a boat headed towards one of the nearby shore on the Macedonian boarder, we entered macadonia by foot and through there we were headed to Serbia by train.
We spent a single cold night in Serbia, we were there among thousands who joined is, in the streets, in the gardens, next to beauties of registry…for a couple of moments you think to your self “There isn’t a single syrian left in syria”
We entered Croatia the next day after spending hours and days moving from one bus to the other, and from one train station to the next..only the screams of the police and their cars organised us as everyone rushed as if they were heading to their countries, not running away from it.
No one welcomed us with beauquets of flowers or even genuine smiled. only muffled giggles and eyes filled with sorrow and wonder.
after that we were headed towards the Hungarian boarders on foot, sometimes we took the bus, everytime we crossed a boarder the international press was there, journalists, cameras, lights as if we were film stars standing on a moving stage..a journalist asked me “what was your occupation back home” and I answered “a journalist” and she said “then your my colleague!”. I finally said “I’m a refugee now. just a refugee.”
from Hungry we entered the Austraid boarder and from there to Germany (our destination), in truth we couldn’t tell the difference between the boarders of this country or that, we just walked and walked and walked…
It was only when we arrived that we realised that we were around four thousand people, everyone began to do their necessary procedures, go to their appointments, attend courts, always in a hurry, trying to settle down as fast as possible, hiking maybe to send an appeal to bring his family with him too, here everything was different, everything.
Today I have so many questions, I wonder, does my future lie here? how long will I stay for? will I ever see Damascus again? Will kamshlu welcome me if I come back one day? Will Syria ever return and all of this will have on a been a horrible nightmare for her children? I wonder if regret is my fate or if I will achieve what I came here to do? we did not succumb to injustice in syria and we did not give up on our road of refuge in all it’s different stages, my journey to the west was a symbol of my determination to harvest my skills and energies, especially in the field of media, so I’d be able, overtime, to express the hopes of millions of syrians and kurds, to communicate their voices and their visions of the future of their country, sadly oppressed by all sides, so that hopefully we=hen I come back one day, I’ll be able to serve the cause of my people with strength and pride, or I’ll come back a motionless corps in coffin, so that my children will be proud of me.