Ask a Syrian man what he loves more his wife or football. Yeah really, they will all say ‘football’. Since the Netherlands does not join the European Championships have Achmed and I thought we for countries that support refugees. Germany we really encouraged example. The EC is a civilized affair for Arabs. Footballers apologize when they make violation. I also see here at amateur clubs. Kindness in the field.
Hits: If Arnhem and Nijmegen were Syrian cities, it was one of those two cities destroyed after a game NEC Vitesse. Dutch, who talk like they have a conflict. The Arabs where I grew up clapping along parts first and then talk. There is only peace to talk, as there have been some fists in the air. To be honest, I like it. This is, moreover, to be men together, a woman can not touch with a finger.
Soccer: The first month in the Netherlands, in the reception of refugees Dome in Arnhem, we played football a lot. We heard there was to be no fighting, otherwise there might be a problem with our residence. It was funny jars football. We narrowed our red fists in frustration and looked angrily round or did not happen to an unguarded moment was when we could deal a blow.
Talk: In the Netherlands, it is not so, I know. I therefore more distributed not hit until a month ago. Now I am under the supervision of the COA and I have a friend and roommate from Syria, ‘talk’ is not always the first thing that comes to us. While jobs Achmed and I have ever given each other a kick or blow. If I had asked him to come and sit down to talk out a problem, he would also think I’m no good at my head.
King Willem-Alexander will come to Nijmegen to witness the final day of the “Walk of the World” (Nijmegen Four Day Marches). Rumors circulated about his coming equally, but were only confirmed this afternoon by the royal family. The invitation to come to Nijmegen, the king has in his pocket a year. The Nijmegen Four Day Marches will be this year for the 100th time, reason for the Four Day Marches Foundation to give the anniversary edition a royal touch. The father of Willem-Alexander, Prince Claus, participated in the marches of 1967. The vows of the king does not mean that the foundation in terms of safety must bend over backwards. “We had assumed royal visit,” said a spokesman for the marches, so we would only have to switch back if the invitation would be turned down.”
Claus was born Klaus-Georg Wilhelm Otto Friedrich Gerd von Amsberg, on his family’s estate, Schloss Dötzingen, near Hitzacker, Germany on 6 September 1926. His parents were Claus Felix von Amsberg and Baroness Gösta von dem Bussche-Haddenhausen. His father, a member of the untitled German nobility, operated a large farm in Tanganyika (formerly German East Africa) from 1928 until World War II. From 1938 Claus and his six sisters grew up on their maternal grandparents’ manor in Lower Saxony; he attended the Friderico-Francisceum-Gymnasium in Bad Doberan from 1933 to 1936 and a boarding school in Tanganyika from 1936 to 1938. Claus was a member of such Nazi youth organisations as Deutsches Jungvolk and the Hitler Youth (membership in the latter was mandatory for all fit members of his generation). From 1938 until 1942, he attended the Baltenschule Misdroy. In 1944, he was conscripted into the German Wehrmacht, becoming a soldier in the German 90th Panzergrenadier Division in Italy in March 1945, but taken as a prisoner of war by the American forces at Meran before taking part in any fighting. After his repatriation, he finished school in Lüneburg and studied law in Hamburg. He then joined the German diplomatic corps and worked in Santo Domingo and Ivory Coast. In the 1960s, he was transferred to Bonn. Claus met Princess Beatrix for the first time on New Year’s Eve 1962 in Bad Driburg at a dinner hosted by the count von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff who was a distant relative of both of them. They met again at the wedding-eve party of Princess Tatjana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse, in the summer of 1964. With memories of German oppression still very strong 20 years after the war, sections of the Dutch population were unhappy that Beatrix’s fiancé was a German and former member of the Hitler Youth. Nonetheless, Juliana gave the engagement her blessing after giving serious thought to canceling it. The engagement was approved by the States-General (Dutch House of Commons and House of Lords) —a necessary step for Beatrix to remain heiress to the throne—in 1965. He was granted Dutch citizenship later that year and changed the spellings of his names to Dutch. The pair were married on 10 March 1966. Their wedding day saw violent protests, most notably by the anarchist-artist group Provo. They included such memorable slogans as “Claus, ‘raus!” (Claus, get out!) and “Mijn fiets terug” (Give me back my bike), a reference to the memory of occupying German soldiers confiscating Dutch bicycles. A smoke bomb was thrown at the wedding carriage by a group of Provos. For a time, it was thought that Beatrix would be the last monarch of the Netherlands. However, over time, Claus became accepted by the public, so much so that during the last part of his life he was generally considered the most popular member of the Royal Family. This change in Dutch opinion was brought about by Claus’s strong motivation to contribute to public causes (especially Third World development, on which he was considered an expert), his sincere modesty and his candor (within but sometimes on the edge of royal protocol). The public also sympathised with Claus for his efforts to give meaning to his life beyond the restrictions that Dutch law imposed on the Royal Family’s freedom of speech and action. However, these restrictions were gradually loosened; Claus was even appointed as senior staff member at the Department of Developing Aid, always in an advisory role. One example of his attitude toward protocol was the “Declaration of the Tie”. In 1998, after presenting the annual Prince Claus Awards to three African fashion designers, Claus told “workers of all nations to unite and cast away the new shackles they have voluntarily cast upon themselves”, meaning the necktie, that “snake around my neck,” and encouraged the audience to “venture into open-collar paradise”. He then removed his tie and threw it on the floor. In 2001, when on Dutch television he announced the marriage of his son Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, and Máxima Zorreguieta, an Argentine woman of Spanish and Italian descent, Prince Claus referred to himself as more a citizen of the world than anything else. Prince Claus died April 6, October 2002 (aged 76) at the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
In Syria a garden is only reserved for rich people. Although Syria still more than four times larger than the Netherlands, there is lack of space. Do not ask me why, but the streets are narrow, the houses are close together and in a building only the upper residents get a dash of sun on their balcony. They are therefore often social people, for those who live less like to be drinking tea on the top, sunny, balcony. In my new home in the Arnhem district Presikhaaf I feel like a king. Having a garden is only reserved in Syria for rich, important people. I am neither, but I now have a garden. If I walk out there sun and nature. Netherlands used its surface well. Achmed my roommate and I are busy painting. On the floor we put laminate. We are actually used to a tiled floor drainage. Our mothers clean with buckets of water to throw on the ground and then scrub. Syrians have almost all the same memories there. Gliding through the liing room with the water that your mother had flushed out. I’ve been there twice with my broken nose. In the Arnhem refugee shelter Dome is a huge slick feed. A few months ago there was a small nocturnal revolt in which people threw food. The next day we had – of course – to clean the floor in the middle of the Dome together. All Syrians in the shelter began to pick up buckets of water and throw it with big bows on the floor. Employees of the coa came to me in panic: “What are you doing ???”. We had no idea, we just did what we always do our mothers did. But yes, of course there is no drain in the floor.
Tonight at 07PM “our” asparagus season ends. Dinner guests will be two former colleagues G.P.’s from Horst with their spouses: Martin and Marjos Duives and Leon and Yvonne Majoor. Pierre prepares the asparagus (white) “the classic way” with boiled eggs, ham. Hollandaise sauce and little fried potatoes. We begin dinner with a home made creamy asparagus soup. Dessert will be strawberries. For asparagus we always serve Pinot Grigio. Yours truly does the table setting (from choosing the cover to putting the crystal wine glasses), prepares the ham and eggs.
The table is set, the guests can come… 🙂
From left to right: empty chair: Martien Duives who takes the picture, Marjos Duives, Luke Barkhuis, Pierre Bormans, Yvonne Majoor, Leon Majoor.
I have a house! I’m so happy. In two weeks I get the key to an apartment, which I will share with Achmed, a friend from refugee reception Dome. I’ve seen the house, located in Arnhem Presikhaaf. It is lovely. A soccer field nearby, a Turkish supermarket and we have no less than two gardens: a front yard and a back yard. Now we are fantasizing about the design. We are still not agree on anything, so the temporary solution is that we draw a line through the living room and arrange half my good, modern taste and the other half in Achmed’s old-fashioned style. Just kidding, we look or a middle. Achmed wants at least as much light as in Syrian living rooms. I am now accustomed to all those muted homes here. Initially I thought that I was constantly somewhere inconvenient. That the light was just subdued because there was something romantic happening. In Dutch living rooms I’m nodding throughout the evening around all those candles. I’m getting sleepy. During one of those visits to a Dutch household, I learned that this “no” really means “no.” “Want a drink Anwar?” I was asked. I said ‘no’, because that should be, in Syria. Only if someone insists, you say ‘yes’. But then I got really nothing. I sat there all night without drinking. Handy, because that I did not go to the bathroom. When someone else goes to the toilet, which is in fact also be used in accordance with our indecent. But I promise that everyone who comes to visit in my new house, goes straight to the toilet. Because I live here now.
Three months ago I saw a Dutch girl in the street, and I fell in love instantly with her. I told everyone who would listen about her. I saw her only in passing by, but that was enough. If she marries me, I do everything in my life for her. Work, housework, whatever she wants. Last weekend I was asked with my landlady ‘Gerda to the anniversary of the neighbor. When I entered, I saw to my surprise the conscious girl there in the house. She is the daughter of my neighbor! Moments later her sisters entered. I kept my face straight, but inside I fainted. So much beauty. I whispered “Gerda take me to the hospital!” There were more guests, they gave gifts to the neighbor. Gifts, which opened the neighbor directly. I did not know what I saw. In Syria it is very rude, because you have to protect the donor. Perhaps the is the principal poor and he or she provides an inexpensive gift. That may not be visible in front of the others. One of the sisters asked me what I wanted to drink. Water! I needed water to continue normal behaviour. I also got a small piece of cake offered. There were no candles, there was no singing. All the guests had ordinary clothes on, no one danced. The tables full of food that I know were missing from Syria. I thought it was a strange place, some Dutch birthday. But hey, who cares. Three women look like angels dwell beside me. I did not want to go home, never again. After a while Gerda said we went home. I wanted ‘Nooooooo’ scream but I said, “Okay Gerda. Thank you all and see you soon.“
My first fine
I started an intensive language training in Nijmegen. Three days a week I have to take the train from Arnhem to Nijmegen to learn Dutch. Getting used to that traveling with a chip. I saw dozens of students walking casually along that checkpoint. They did not look, they held their only their chipcard near the pole and ran after the beep again. I had earplugs in, sunglasses and walked as nonchalantly past the post. I was just like them, I thought. On the train there was a checker, he asked for my smart card. “You are not checked,” he said. I curled up, everyone looked at me. I felt frightened and ashamed. For a man in uniform you need to be scared in Syria. I tended to give him money, because that is the wayin Syria to get rid of a cop. A train inspector is admittedly not a cop, but I have no idea whether such a person the same control as an agent here, or maybe more. The man wrote a fine for me, 54 euros. I have explained that I had checked in, but it did not help. The worst thing is not the fine, but I am now in the Dutch system as someone who did not behave well. On my way back I walked more carefully along that pole. I said to the people behind me that they had to wait and have ten times again checked. That pole hit it wild. With a grin I was waiting would come to an inspector on the train, but none came. There was no one who saw that I had done well, so I tell it here. I checked in and it worked!
In Syria, it felt like I was in a test from God. Be a good Muslim, I find that difficult. Because how do you behave in a war? Go steal your food when you’re hungry? Defend your country and if so, who are the goodies and who is evil? In which army you need to connect? I changed in Syria monthly opinions. At first I wanted to fulfill my duty and defend our country. But then it quickly became one big bloodbath, I realized that that was not the right thing. It feels like God passed Syrians through a sieve and look who finally left in the sieve. Who makes the right choices, who continues to pray and believe in happy ending? I choosed to shift my focus. To no longer wanting to protect the country, but my family and friends. I wanted to make sure they were safe and had food. If you study, you do as a young man not the army. I studied, but was regularly approached by government officials. “This is not the time to study, but to serve your country,” they said. I felt about not guilty. The country was now totally in ruins. After my studies I fled. I had to join the Army for a not limited time. I did not want to be a killer. Here in the Netherlands feels it easier to make the right choices. The choices I make will certainly not concern life and death. If God is finished sieving, I hope I stick close call in that sieve.
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.