“A mother’s heart cannot be compared to anything else.”
“The tattoo on my right arm is a tribute to my mother. It says ‘I love you’ in English and ‘I respect you’ in Arabic. I was 13 years old when I had it done. That was when my father died of a heart disease. I am the youngest son in the family. My mother is the most important person to me. A mother’s heart cannot be compared to anything else. Why? Maybe because I am her youngest son?
I have brothers and sisters in Lebanon, but Lebanon is so crowded, there are so many refugees. You can feel the hatred against us Syrians. The last day in Damascus with my mother was really difficult. I stayed at home the whole day, I just wanted to be with her. At midnight I left the house in a taxi. Via Lebanon to Turkey and on. Our family is torn apart now. Who do I blame for that? I don’t know. Nobody, or well, the war.
It is a slow process. It starts with corruption. You notice that suddenly you have to pay to get things done, papers and such. And slowly it gets worse and worse. More violence, arrests and then the bombings.
At first I hoped my mother could come over too, that we could have some sort of family reunion. But now I understand that is not so easy. As a kid I dreamt about being famous, preferably as a football player. But I became a truck driver instead. That is the way it goes. When you are 32 years of age, are you young or are you old? A difficult question. The last couple of years we have all aged a lot. We went through so much. They now tell me I will be transferred to Zuidwest Friesland. I would rather go to Almelo because I know someone over there. But they tell me it is impossible.”
Ahmad Alkassem (32) from Damascus Syria