It was pouring down and there was mud all over

Belal, 53 years old, Damascus, Syria.

Before the war I was an employee at a post office. I lived with my wife and sons and a daughter, but as a Palestinian born in Syria and as such stateless life was never easy for me. I was working for the state and the salary was quite miserable, and when the war broke out rather abruptly and I realized that they would force me to enter the army to fight for Assad, I decided to flee to Turkey.I fled to Turkey with my oldest son in 2015. At a check-point the bus was stopped by soldiers, and the driver had to pay them several hundreds of thousands Syrian dollars in order to let us continue. I had sold all my belongings and just to cross the border to Turkey I had to pay a lot of cash. From the border we went first to Izmir and then to Antalaya and then I gave 5000 euros to the smugglers to get us in boat to Greece; my previous many attempts to get a boat had failed.

We were in total 50 persons on the boat, but it was kind of a yacht so it was ok. We reached a deserted island where we spent several hours, but we had no water and no food, and then 3 military boats took us to the island of Kalimnos, where we gave finger prints and spent the night. We then went in ferry to Athens, and from there we continued in bus to Macedonia.

In Macedonia the Red Cross arranged a train to Serbia, where we got out and walked through the cold and rainy countryside for an entire night, because the Red Cross, like a human chain, was trying to guide us so that we did not enter Hungary. As it was pouring down there was mud all over and many of the people in our group fell, because they had mud reaching their shins and knees.

In the morning we took a bus to Austria and in Vienna I spent a night with my son at a hotel. From Vienna we took a train to Germany, but the train was stopped by the German police, who took us to some house where we were served a really good meal and then were allowed to sleep. And the next day some busses picked us up and drove us to Munich where there were so many refugees waiting in line to get their paper work done in some huge tents. I was given a special bracelet so that I could stay in Germany for 10 days.

The police asked me where I wanted to go, and I answered that I wanted to go to Copenhagen, because my wife´s family was living there. The police told me that it would be better for me to stay in Germany, and he actually repeated it 3 times, but I just said to him that I wanted to go to Denmark. And so I went on a train with my son to Hamburg and from there another train to Copenhagen and at the Central Station I called my wife´s family, who came and then drove us to their home where we showered and got something to eat and then slept.

The day after I went to Sandholmlejren with my son, and I stayed there for 1 week and then we were sent to Haderslev for some days and then Sønderborg where I stayed for 10 months, and after that I lived in another centre in Roskilde, where I got my residence permit on August 29 2016: It was given under article 7.3, which implies that it is reconsidered every year and that I cannot     apply for family reunification until after 3 years.

After Roskilde I was sent to a temporary housing in Copenhagen, and here I also started at the language school and got several internships. I now have my own apartment and I am quite happy about that, although I am dealing with a lot of other issues with Udlændingestyrelsen. My health is not good and within a couple of days I need to go and have heart surgery; I first noticed that I had problems because I could not breathe properly.

Moreover, with the help from some volunteers, I am now raising a complaint against the Danish state, because I have been waiting for almost 3 years to have family reunification with my wife and daughter and youngest son: My youngest son has autism and has special needs and I should not wait for 3 years to see him again, because he also needs to be with me.

I am very angry and disappointed, and I just think that there are a lot of things that are extremely unfair: I am a stateless Palestinian and in Syria I am considered a traitor by the government, so I cannot go back. But now first I will have to go to the hospital and get my heart surgery, and I do not even know for how long I am going to be at the hospital to recover. It is all the stress that has given me these heart problems.

Dublin Core: Language: en Subject: a million stories, denmark, syria, damascus, refugee,