The refugee faces so many challenges, either staying in their own country and trying to survive, or going through the journey of death, a journey that might cause them physical or mental disability.
During my journey, I wished that the famous writer Victor Hugo was alive so he could write about what the Iraqi people are going through and shine light on the actions of Iraqi government – how they are pretending to have the same religion, same community values and defending our rights, while pushing us to escape into the unknown rather than letting us live in peace.
After lots of thoughts, dreams and nightmares, the fear of the unknown, uneasiness and several days marked by the lack of sleeping and eating, I decided to run away and find a place where I could live peacefully. I wanted to make sure that my children were going to have a better life than mine. I decided to come to Europe where I could live in peace and be secure and safe, to live like human-beings should, in a community with a sense of humanity and freedom. Europe is the new America, where I can make my dreams come true, and where I can achieve my ambitions.
I asked around and searched everywhere, trying to find the best way to reach Europe. I soon found out that it is a journey full of dangers and death. To escape with my wife and two children under these circumstances, to escape from death to death, was not an option. So I decided to take the risk on my own and send my family to Jordan to live with my wife’s mother.
I carried my bag on my shoulders, travelling from Baghdad to Istanbul, holding my sadness, memories of my motherland, which I no longer miss. Even if I had died somewhere else, I would be so proud of my attempt to leave it.
I arrived to Istanbul, shocked by the faces I saw. Faces similar to mine and with my story in them, the same suffering from Iraq, having no place to go to and no country in which to live.
I went from Istanbul to Izmir where the immigration brokers and traders could take us to Europe. Small boats of poor quality that could have made the sea a gift of our lives. With different faces, colours and religions, adults and children, we tried to survive with the same hope of reaching the land safely.
When we were in the middle of the sea, I was looking at the people’s eyes full of tears and fear. I saw a child whom I will never forget, his face or his words. He asked his mother if it was only us and God in the sea and if He was watching us now.
The waves had less mercy than our governments and the boat, (almost 8 meters in length), carried much pain. One thing that gave me patience was the image of my family in the sky smiling and looking at me.
An hour and a half separated us from the land of hopes, the Greek island ”Samos” which represented for us the beginning of Europe. We thought that “this is it”, that all the pain was over. We didn’t know that this was only the first part of the journey of death.
Foto: Saif Majid