“I felt like we were not worth anything”

My name is Mohammed, is 27 years old and is from Syria.
In Syria I studied journalism and worked next to school. I am from the city of Daraa, located south of Syria. It may not be many people who know the city but it is located 100 km from the capital and borders Jordan. Daraa, are in the countryside, and residents have a city tradition.

I had a very good upbringing together with family, children and adults. As a child, I had everything, because my family had a stable economy.
September 29, 2012 I left Syria. That date was not only stamped in the pass but in my heart and in my mind. I’ll never forget that day. My dad decided that I was going to flee because the government chased me. The only solution was to fly to my brother who lives in Libya. My brother was there during the Libyan revolution against Khaddafi.

I first went from Syria to Lebanon and then to Egypt. Then I and my siblings took the bus from Egypt to Libya illegally. We did not get a stamp in the passport. The whole trip took 3-4 days. We arrived at Tripoli and we started a temporary life there. After 20 days I started working on a TV channel called Al Nabeh. I was unsure if I were going to flee to Sweden. After 1 year and 4 months in Libya, I decided to flee to Sweden because of various harassment we encountered because we were from Syria and we was illegal in the country.
I did not flee alone, but brought my little brother who was 15 years old. We slept one night at the smuggler and then we fled in the middle of the night to Zwara town. They took us in a truck that carried meat and drove us to the coast. We did not bring anything, we only had an hour to prepare ourselves. They said no one should bring big bags. I had a laptop that was important because I had my pictures and other documents in it. I also wanted to use it when I arrived to contact my family. I smuggled my computer and hid it under my pants. I rolled the computer into plastic so it would not be destroyed.

We arrived at the coast and from there it was 150 meters left until we reached the sea. The smuggler said we had to run to the ocean so nobody saw us. At two o’clock at night, it was so dark that you could not see your own finger.
The smuggler had weapons, Kalashnikov, and they said we had to run and no one should return. I a person return, they will be shot.
The boat we fled with was 24 meters long and 12 meters wide. It had two floors.
On the first floor there were people from Africa. We knew they were down there, because we heard them scream and cry during the flight.

After 16 hours, the boat stopped working and the gasoline ended. I looked around and found that you could not see anything, we were out at sea. That moment, everything felt hard. It felt like we were not worth anything, that you were not a human being. One could drown at any time and float on the ocean.
I gave up and took off my vests. I often looked at my brother, who sat to the right of me. He was completely over. I gave up hope every time I looked at him.
Then there was an Italian military helicopter that was spinning over us and after an hour an Italian rescue boat arrived. They saved us and took the help of another boat because we were so many. Then we arrived at the Italian coast. From there we went on to Milan.

I was in Milan for two days. We rested and showered. Then we fled with another smuggler who took us to Kolding in Denmark. Then we went to Copenhagen and eventually we took train to Malmö.
I arrived on May 10th, 2014. I applied for a residence permit May 11th, 2014 and I will never forget that date.

My dad was murdered in Syria during the war and I never saw him again. I have also not met my mother in 4-5 years. I usually talk to her using video calls but it is not always she has internet access. But video calls are not the same as being next to my mom.
lovingness does not come through the internet, it comes when you are close to the person.

I think of a sentence that hurt to hear. It was an opinion my mother told me two days ago during Eid. Eid is not the same without you. I do not really know, but I miss her the most. I hope the war will end and it will be safe in Syria. Then we can finally meet again.

A Million Stories Sweden: Nizar Keblawi, Nina Olsson, Sara Sarabi, Malin Gillberg, Daniel Björklund, Mats Nordström.

A Million Stories Sweden volunteers: Fariborz Ghadir, Mohamad Mohsin, Yazan Saad, Tarek Aloudallah, Dalia Saleem, Yara Ali, Ahmad Younes, Chaimae Hamri.

In association with



Dublin Core: Language: swe Subject: asylum, refugees, A Million Stories, Sweden