0701 – Anwar’s columns

Now that I am out of the war I can only think about the long term

During the war in Syria I worked as a volunteer with volunteers from UNHCR and Unicef. The majority of the help they offered went to children. Theater for children, balloons, or music lessons. I always found that frustrating. It is a luxury form of help that does not come at the right time for people. There is a greater need for a tent or food, which will benefit them immediately.
Now that I have been in the Netherlands for longer, I see how thinking works in the long term. Children are seen as a seed. Something slowly grows out of it, it becomes a plant or a tree if it receives the right care. Fruits or flowers come from under the right conditions. There is education for everyone here, but also cultural education. Can parents not pay for music lessons? Then the government or a fund supplements. It is so important here that a child develops in all areas. Childhood is here a time in which you learn to play a musical instrument or a hobby that you can perform later in your spare time. It is an age that the government gives money and attention to children’s playgrounds instead of weapons.
The children in Syria are used to a lack of water and food. For them it feels like nonsense to follow a course half-homeless or to pursue a hobby. The short term counts for them. That of water, food and taking away the worries of their parents. Now that I am out of the war myself, I can think again in the long term.
Only now do I see how good it is to try to take war children, even if only for a short time, to that long term. Music, theater or a party, so that they learn to express their emotions and forget their worries.

The ideal woman: eyes that are not brown, blonde or red hair and skin like cheese.

When I did something good for my mother as a child, she always said: I am looking for the ideal woman for you. A Syrian mother sees that as her task. Picking out a good daughter-in-law and a beautiful wife for her son. That “ideal” woman in Syria is tall and slender and has eyes that are not brown, blonde or red hair and skin like cheese. During weddings, mothers look for a suitable candidate for their son. In Aleppo, the wedding parties are often separate, so women celebrate it separately from the men. Women feel free to wear short clothing or lingerie there. At least, that’s what my mother says. I have never been there myself. It is a good opportunity for some girls to show their qualities to the seeking mothers. “I saw a woman in front of you with skin as white as cheese,” my mother said when she returned.

The cheese in Syria is pure white. In the Netherlands, women do not see this as a quality. They just want to be brown and try to get the skin of a Syrian. “If my mother saw you, she would immediately bring you in as the ideal woman,” I sometimes tell pale Dutch women. Yet they are not happy with themselves. Because most Syrian youth have fled, it becomes more difficult for us to find an ideal partner without a seeking mother. In my head I now sketch a woman with a yellow / brownish skin, so that someday I can call my mother to say that I have found a woman with a skin like cheese. She wants that so badly. Then I cut the line quickly, so I don’t have to tell her that she looks like Dutch cheese.

Unreliable as he is, a pigeon man in Syria can never testify

I walked under the tunnel of Arnhem Velperpoort station when I saw a flyer hanging: ‘We have lost our dear bird Zuzu. Who has seen him? ” There was a green bird on the photo. He looked like a little parrot. I looked up at the trees, how could I ever find a bird for those people? Let alone catch him? The love for birds is not strange to Syrians. We don’t make it personal, because we don’t name birds and we don’t miss them, but the pigeon sport is great in Syria. ‘Pigeon men’ are always at work on the roofs of flats, houses and other buildings. They wave a sweater and make a bird sound, with which they lure the pigeons. They receive food until they keep coming back.
Pigeon men are notorious in Syria. They are known to be unreliable because they always swear unfairly in the name of God. Wollah, that’s my pigeon! No, Wollah, that’s my pigeon! One of the two is lying. Pigeon men lure the pigeons together with food. Sometimes they suddenly see their own bird land on another roof. Then you know: hey, my bird has been caught! The Syrian law even states that pigeon men can never witness a lawsuit. Because they are known that their word is unreliable.
Fortunately the houses in the Netherlands have sloping roofs, so the chance that pigeon men become active in the Netherlands is small. I imagine that not only the PVV wants us away, but also the Party for the Animals. I won’t let that happen, because I want to stay here. In fact, I am now going to look for that birdie!

Romance in Syria and in the Netherlands: a world of difference.

A Dutch girl friend said to me: “Anwar, I had a date with a Syrian boy. After one date I received a video from him. In the video I saw all photos of myself that I once posted on the internet, with a song underneath. Now I’m afraid of him. I blocked it immediately ‘.

I sighed and dropped my head on the table. In one short story she summarized what has been going wrong with me in the Netherlands for years. The communication between Arab boys and Dutch girls. That poor Syrian boy thinks he has done something romantic, my Dutch girlfriend thinks she has hooked up a dangerous stalker.

In Syria, it is romantic for your fiancée to say to you, “If I don’t get you, nobody will get you!” A Dutch girl calls the police for this. I lifted the Syrian girlfriend I had back then over a pond to add, “You are as sweet as sugar and you would melt if I let you walk through it.” You don’t have to touch this with texts like that. I am now behind.Paying attention is the most important thing in Syria in trying to adorn a woman. Here a woman asks after two apps, why do you keep calling me? I just spoke to you, right? In Syria I would reply: “1 minute without you feels like a year without you.” Here I close my phone with a sigh.

All the ways I have learned to show a woman that I like her do not apply here. Not too many compliments, not too much attention, no special treatment. I really have no idea what remains. If I stay here, I will be single forever.