My name is Issam, I’m Syrian from the city of Aleppo. I am 38 years old. I am married and have 2 magnificent kids: my daughter Maryam, 7 years old and my son Kamal, 5 years old. When I was 20 I left my homeland searching for a better future and I settled in Dubai. After 12 years of life as an expatriate I finally decided to return to my homeland in 2010 having made all the dreams and aspirations in building a prosperous future and a happy family formation, taking the advantage of experience gained from different worlds and cultures that I had lived and worked with, so I established a company for Auto Spare Parts specialized in Mercedes Benz. That was actually my profession for the last 12 years in Dubai, then I expanded my business to industrial machinery of Jacquard Textile and that was a profession of my family for years, so I constructed a Textile Factory located in Aleppo, Syria.
Everything seemed to be just perfect for me, a happy family and good business until the civil war started in my country in 2012. Everything I worked for, all my dreams and future plans for my kids were there, so I tried very hard to stay in my city as much as I could until we couldn’t handle the situation any more. My neighborhood turned into a battle field, my auto spare parts company was looted.
My textile factory was hit by air strikes several times, I watched 14 years of my life and hard work falling apart in a couple of months.
One day my wife wanted to punish my daughter Maryam because she was yelling all day long, the little girl stood up against her mother and said: ” Wait, wait don’t shout at me or punish me. I am still a baby girl. I am in deep depression because I am not supposed to hear bumping voices all day or seeing bullets falling in our backyard or watching blood of other children in our neighbourhood. I am supposed to play outside with other kids and go to kindergarten.” My wife calmed down, hugged Maryam and they cried together. I was listening to the conversation and for a moment I felt desperate and helpless in front of my kids.
Earlier in 2014 I headed with my family to Turkey leaving everything behind… and from Turkey I tried many times to come back to Dubai, but the Visa to the UAE or other gulf countries was very hard or almost impossible to get for Syrians. I tried to find job with my profession in Turkey, but the Turkish language was a big barrier for me. In summer 2015 I decided to migrate to Europe after I lost any hope to come back to Syria…
There are many reasons! One of them is professional, I used to work with German cars and spare parts and I am very good at my profession. I thought finding a job with my profession would be possible. In Germany I also have some old friends and colleagues I used to work with when I was in Dubai. The second main reason was my kids’ will. They wanted to live in Germany because I used to read them some children stories about kids from Germany… For sure, the financial reason was not the reason that pushed me to come to Germany.
How did you reach Germany?
I think my journey was quite easy comparing to others. I decided to make this journey on my own because I couldn’t bear to be exposed to any kind of risk to my family. The journey started in Turkey to Greece by boat, everybody knows that 😉 and I think that was the hardest part of the entire journey. Then from Greece to Germany by road crossing 3 or 4 other countries, sometimes walking, sometimes by car… it took me about 25 days from Turkey to reach Germany! During the journey I saw a lot of desperation in people’s eyes and I also saw ambition that drove them to progress… my worst moments were to see women and children but I saw humanity with the help of some young volunteers… However,
those 25 days seemed like long 25 years…
Those days are unforgettable, believe me. They definitely changed me to a better person.
What are the main difficulties you are facing right now in Germany?
The main challenge I am facing now is being far from my family for almost 8 months. Another difficulty is finding a suitable job. I got my residence permit to stay here for 3 years, I am now trying my best and spending most of my time learning the German language! I have not registered to any language course just yet…. I am learning by myself with the help of some books for beginners or through youtube lessons! It’s really helpful 😉
Finding a flat in a big city like Düsseldorf is a huge challenge! I am in Düsseldorf since last October and until now I couldn’t find a flat to rent. Every time I contact flat owners or real estate companies, they refuse… they don’t accept refugees as a tenant, they are giving me many excuses and I pretty much understand them!
What is it that you like in Germany?
I like the nature here, it is just fabulous, especially for taking pictures, which is one of my favourite hobbies beside reading historical books.
History teaches us a lot about our present.
What are plans for the future?
My main concern now is finding a job so I can bring my family here and live together all with dignity and feel that I am a productive person in the German community. To educate my children is also a huge goal I am looking to achieve! Only education can insure them a bright future!
Is there anything you would like to share with us?
The respect of values, concepts, habits and traditions of the German society contributes effectively to the integration process of new arrivals and helps them to integrate faster in Germany and removes all the fears, concerns and suspicion between the German community and the new arrivals. It’s only one word RESPECT , but it requires a lot of acts.
Finally, I would like to thank all German people and social organizations in all German states and cities for the hard work they are doing.
We really appreciate that great effort and we hope one day we can return the favour to all of you!