0001-Anwar’s columns


Behaviour with a woman

I went last weekend with two friends from the Dome by Sonsbeekpark in Arnheim. We saw a group of sporting women, along with a man. “Would you agree?”, asked one of my friends. I knew what he meant. In Syria you would never send your wife with another man to the forest. But it looked pretty normal. Women good at running that guy was, I guess, a sort of coach. I had to get used to when I saw such scenes for the first time. But I now see that it is fine. My friends with whom I had walked with me.agreed too.


“And your future wife to work, would you do that?” they asked. Also that. And they too. What can change in eight months time. When Dome eight months ago filled up with four hundred men, including myself, we sat there somewhat lost. We were convinced that no one in the Netherlands liked us and we found everything outside the building but exciting.


Somewhere in those first weeks, I was invited by a Dutch woman. I arrived at her for dinner, while her husband was not home. I was very nervous about it. I thought he would be furious if he would find me to her table. But when he came home, he looked pleased and he asked how I was doing. In Dome are many cells empty.

Outside World: 

Many refugees are out. At Dutch friends, visiting, or at work nearby. What we see in the outside world, sets us thinking. Those friends who had their own answers to me about questions asked in the park though, but it’s nice to confirm each other:. How Dutch life, which is actually not so bad.


Sometimes I have the impression that there are two versions of myself. If I go to sleep is the one Anwar, who can go to sleep because he likes his new life in the Netherlands. I fantasize about the study that I want to follow the work I can do. When I am almost asleep, is the other side up. I think of my life in Syria.


How every time I had to run through a field full of snipers to get food in a different area. How do we in the middle of the night fled from our house because a group of soldiers with long beards passing through our street. They shouted that they would murder us all. The next day there was nothing left of our home. My mother heard recently only with one ear a little bit. She became deaf of all bombardments. My father can not move much a part of his body, he has a piece of shrapnel in his shoulder. The idea that she and my brother every day exposed to danger, gives me difficulty falling asleep.

Studying and working: 

The only thing I can do is study hard and work for them so that I can earn money and take care of them. Every time I do not want to study the Dutch language, I think of my family. I spring up and I dive back into the books. When people ask me for the first time asked if I would like to return later to Syria, I immediately said yes! Later, I began to doubt. Because of all those awful memories. Nevertheless, I share below 1 reminder that I’m still often wake up. Bringing food, while snipers shooting at us. For the people on the video is no bad memory, but still the daily reality in Aleppo.

Refugee instead of a man

The status of “refugee” is sometimes quite difficult. It is a status that ensures that you have less rights than another. I refer not only to legislation, but also on behavior expected of a refugee. We must always show to be grateful. Because: “If you do not like then you go away.” That kind of comments hurt me terribly.

Be killed or murdered: 

When I got the sense in Syria that I had the choice between being killed or become a murderer, I left. The moment I stepped across the border from Syria to Turkey, I changed from a man in a ‘refugee’. From that moment I could do nothing but accept everything that happened to me. I slept in the woods and on the street, boarded a packed plastic boat to Greece and left me smelly, exhausted and discouraged by Europe. Waiting at the border in Macedonia was perhaps the worst. I was beaten by border guards who wanted to keep the crowd at bay and froze in the night almost dead.


Arriving in Germany I expected it to life as a fugitive was over, we would be “people” again. In the camp where I ended up, they wanted to check everyone’s health. Against a man you say, “Anwar, go sit down May I look amongst your hair if you have fleas.?” At a refugee you say apparently nothing. We got a number and doctors adopted us as if we were cattle. I am also fled to the Netherlands. I like it here, I love the Netherlands. And I am certainly very grateful. But I am a human being. With rights and an opinion.


Mothers, are all over the world the same. Since this week I live in a house with lovely people Gerda (63) and Erik (56). They live near the refugee center Dome and asked me if I would stay with them for three months (longer stay at one address may not COA). Gerda is like my own mother. Therefore, it remains strange to call her by her first name. My mother would give me a slap if I could use her first name. Then I just sat in the Dome, Gerda took me into town and bought clothes for me. Now she takes care of me like her own children. It feels like home.


As a welcome gift, a neighbour came and brought a jar cholocolate pasta for me. I knew her from the street. In the morning as they walk to school, I whistle out the window on my fingers, and then they shout “Good morning, Anwar!” Besides, I know now more people around than Gerda and Erik. It seems to be normal in the Netherlands that people do not know anyone from their own street. I think that’s crazy. I suspect that at the end of the sleepover the whole street knows each other, I’m going for sure.


The first day I stayed at my Dutch ‘parents’, I made the first mistake. I remain a fugitive, so I went here along with my friends at The Dome. When I got home at midnight, Gerda was waiting for me at the kitchen table. She said, “Anwar, this is not the Dome eh! Dutch drink in the evening a cup of coffee, read a book and go to sleep. If you want to integrate, you have to study and sleep in time.” I apologized. Then she laughed again and asked: “Are you hungry? Do you want to eat something?’


That would immediately ask my mother. My parents in Aleppo have to eat less every month. If there is even a shop with stock, will strike the whole city, because no one knows how much worse it is going to be yet. Despite my mother is mainly concerned with me. She’s worried whether I was eating enough. She asks me every morning if I’ve had breakfast. “You look so thin on the photos, you’ll get enough to eat, Anwar?” They need not worry, because Gerda will have breakfast is important. She says she does lock the door as I want without breakfast the door. Yes, it feels like home.

Chosen the right country

The first week of our intensive Dutch course is over. The beginning was relatively simple. The alphabet is known to us, the eight participants in this training are all highly trained. I myself am a lawyer. Since September I stay at The Dome, (a former prison in Arnheim) waiting for a residence permit and a house. On the basis of the Dutch language I already started in the refugee shelter, so the first lessons are fairly familiar ground. Besides language, we also get citizenship lessons, so we will not only how to speak the language but also the country and know its use. I hear a lot of new things. I know now that the football club Vitesse of Arnheim, Ajax Amsterdam and Feyenoord Rotterdam. The Constitution is explained to us, the most important part: discrimination. No one may be disadvantaged here because he or she is gay, female, religious, or ethnic minorities. That does me good. I am a Syrian Kurd. In Syria I felt regular second person, because I am a Kurd. Fortunately, here in the law that one second should be treated. The various political parties are explained to us. The teacher said that people in the Netherlands may be against the policy of the king. I did not know that. When she said that, I stopped feeling upset. I had the realization that I have chosen to settle me the in the right country. Here is freedom that I need. From The Dome I greet all Dutch. Hey!

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