Firas is a stone mason originally from Aleppo. Photo: Mike Zenari
Firas is not a refugee; he is a stone mason #iamnotarefugee
Meet Firas. He is a stone mason from Aleppo, Syria, who arrived in Luxembourg in October 2015. His family is expected to join him shortly.
Delano (along with its sister publication Paperjam and publisher Maison Moderne) has partnered with Iamnotarefugee.lu, a project run by Frédérique Buck and Sven Becker, to give a voice to asylum seekers in Luxembourg. Here is an extract from Firas’s interview:
Syrian refugees face a harsh life in Jordan
My mother, my wife Seba and my three children Hosni, Mohamed and Ferial and are still in Amman, Jordan. My family lives in a suburb called Al Hashimi. I rented a basement room for them. When I left them last year, I gave them a small amount of money to survive. Whenever I can, I send them more money. My boys are attending school in Amman. My daughter, unfortunately, is not going to school. The school is very far from the place where they live.
I left for Europe alone
I did not want to risk the lives of my wife or children by crossing the sea. I also did not have enough money to pay for the journey of all of us.
I left Jordan in 2015 and flew to Turkey. I crossed the Mediterranean from Izmir. The smugglers asked me for 1200 dollars. I gave them 900 dollars. I crossed the sea in a rubber boat with 56 other people. The journey took five hours. I arrived on the island of Chios.
I travelled relentlessly
When the other migrants stopped to rest, I would continue, following another group. I became obsessed with reaching a safe place.
In Hungary, I sadly witnessed the now famous incident with the Hungarian journalist pushing a refugee carrying his child. You can actually see me on the video footage. I am wearing a women’s pyjama. I remember how cold I was.
Serbia was awful to cross. We slept outside in the cold. I remember that it was pouring with rain, I actually thought that I would die. My only desire was to reach a country that would allow my family and I to lead a safe and decent life.