My neighbourhood wasn’t different from yours. We had good and not so good people there. I remember an old lady on the house near on the corner complained about my bicycle when sometimes I, on my youth indiscipline, left it in front of her garden. I went to school before school disappeared below tons of rubble. My mom called to dinner, and the smell of vegetables and rice make my stomach rumble. In summer, I loved going to the pool splashing water on my friends, having a cold beverage made of grape and date syrups, rose water, crushed ices with pine nuts and raisins. Something too special but we drunk as a gift on Ramadan. I had so many friends who now are only memories because many of them died or just had to move elsewhere to survive.
Some, like me, were lucky. We have money my father collected selling my mother jewels, the few other properties we had, and together we fled to another place where life could have value, and hope could be something tangible.
While we were crossing from one land to other, from mountains and places, I remembered from the old times when I had a home and dreams. I loved history and geography, the reason I always dreamed of being a photographer and travel the world. I even build a camera made of mirrors and lenses. It was a very unsuccessful experiment I have to say. I feel the smell of the flowers on my mother garden, the taste of tea and the happiness of the future ahead.
In the way I took I wasn’t alone. There were many of us. People who were so desperate that leaving their home; the place where the language was like music and the culture old as the history could tell, was the only option. We were all running to somewhere carrying the hope we would be back someday to the lands of our ancestor to revere our roots.
Tears, we all have tears in our eyes when bad or extremely good things come to our lives. We hurt, in flesh and souls, when people around us look as we were something coming from another world. We have dreams. Dreams to be safe, to be proud of our achievements, to learn, to go beyond the survive. We bleed if someone cuts our flash. Our bones were broken when hitting by angry people who think we are less human than them.
What we are? Someone questioned—we who crossed lands and seas looking from what was taken from us. Us, who had our house bombed, our lands draught and our lives changed forever without any consideration or question. Why are you questioning us now?
Each boat crossing the canal carries the hope of a new life, a tine certainty we can make our lives worth when security and freedom embrace us in the hosting place where we will thieve if permitted. You are so prosperous, so peaceful inside your borders. Can you imagine how much we lost to each bomb someone we don’t know for a reason we can’t understand destroyed our neighbour, our schools and hospitals?
Part of my family is dead. My father, who stayed behind, is gone. My mother, I lost on the way. My siblings crossed to security before me and are now waiting for me to together be a family again. I don’t want alms. I am not a beggar. I am a proud young man who wants to be something in life. Built a home for my siblings and me, go to school, dream again with the possibility to have a future. I only need you to stand your hand; you accept my humanity and the courage I had to try begging everything again.
Like I baby, I learned the language. Like a child, I learned to walk. Then, with the understanding, I learn the culture. I understood we can respect both mines yours, soon your become mine too and later we mixed them building a new one. A more open culture to more modern society. A society where the difference is not seeing as the inferior. I am not a danger for you, I am your brother, your cousin from a distant land who need a chance. I am just it. I young boy lost in the middle of the ocean, hoping for hope.
Featured photo from BBC News