Speaking through the eyes of an immigrant isn’t easy. Those eyes of Ismael*, a Syrian immigrant who fled to Italy, tell the story of suffering, loneliness and the will to live. They tell of the stubbornness to move ahead and overcome obstacles. Of the misfortune that has made him a stronger and more proud man because of what he was able to conquer during his journey.
“Distance is an agony”
Ismaael is a man of nearly 40 years, who fled from Syria to give his family a future. When he arrived in Italy he recognized the values that seemed to be no longer so common in Syria: welcome and hospitality. His face is marked by tears and, talking to him, I realized his eyes are swollen with sadness. Keeping this strong emotion, that seems to explode in the heart, isn’t at all simple. But despite this, he seems really motivated to tell his story to the Komorebi Post.
With a hand on his heart, he sits down and reveals that he has abandoned his country, his family and his loved ones to escape the war. He decided to embark on this long journey alone to learn of the risks and possibilities involved. He does not want to risk the lives of his family on a long and dangerous journey.
Ismaael tells us that it was his conscience and his heart that dictated the choice to immigrate to Italy. He hopes this choice won’t reveal some nasty surprises for him and his family. Ismael describes it this way: “It would have been easier to opt for a country closer to mine, but, my long journey, similar to an odyssey, opened my eyes and made me understand that the goal was to be Italy.”
“Perhaps, I would have risked more by coming to other countries, I would have known wrong people and would not have been able to give my family hope. Instead, I’ve been here for a few months now and, although it’s difficult, I’m working hard to put something aside to bring my loved ones to safety. What I want is for them to be saved, to be safe and not to take any risks and, above all, to be with me.”
“Distance is an agony, but knowing that the war continues incessantly without knowing the fate of the people you love is even more distressing. Italy is now a second homeland for me. On the other hand, other states don’t easily accept refugees or immigrants, but, apart from that, I believe that Italy is the middle way, both hope and love. “
“Each place will become your home”
Here in Italy, Ismaael has managed to find occasional jobs to meet his daily expenses while trying to put some money aside to reunite with his family. He hopes to bring them safely to Italy until the fratricidal struggle in Syria ceases. The man shows that he has a big heart and, although he’s trying to conceal his suffering, he doesn’t cease to be grateful to those who give him the hope of believing in a better tomorrow and, above all, who give him shelter, food, clothes to warm up and a job to cope with his difficulties.
The goodness of the people and the altruism shown towards him makes me understand that Ismaael isn’t made to weigh the cultural difference of his country with ours, indeed, the same tells us that every part of the world is home: because it’s the love that warms you. Your life is dictated by an unknown fate, but if you have your dear neighbors, the strength to overcome obstacles that seem to be insurmountable will come from within. Therefore, each place will become your home. Ismael repeats this beating his hand on his heart.
Of course, it wasn’t easy for him to escape from his land. When one of his friends told him about a secret escape, Ismaael reported to his family that he wanted to try to get away from Syria and, hopefully, being able to free them. It is A moment that he relives every day of his life because it cost a lot of tears and fears from his family who had a real fear of losing Ismaael.
But the man reiterated that this attempt could be the turning point for them. It would have been useless to proceed together, for fear of losing his loved ones during this audacious escape. He promised he would come back safe and sound to take them away from that hell which, at first, was the place that gave his life light.
Ismaael was a merchant, but all his belongings were destroyed. His loved ones are hiding in a place where the bombs haven’t yet razed everything. But there are difficulties: drinking water, medicine, nutritious food and many other necessities. Ismaael has almost reached a nest egg that would allow him to return to his family and take them away, but he still needs to have everything ready to welcome his loved ones. Above all, he needs to think of a way for them to flee unnoticed.
In this regard, it is intriguing to know what Ismaael said to all those who might try to immigrate to Italy or other European countries. He said, “It isn’t easy to direct a message to them. Here, it seems that there are all the conditions to live well, but it’s too true that no one should either abuse nor take advantage of this country that welcomes everyone and creates hope.”
“So I think it’s useful for Italy to adapt to European laws and avoid increasing the number of immigrants who come here for other purposes. We should give space and welcome those who really need a safe place to stay. I refer, in particular, to women (especially pregnant women), to children and to those who really need a point of reference in order to start their lives again, regardless of their origins, the color of their skin, their races and from their ethnic groups, because we are all the same. “
“My Earth isn’t the homeland of terrorism”
We ended by talking about war, fratricide struggles, terrorism and what he thinks of his country. Touching themes which, in spite of everything, he wanted to discuss.
“I miss my land,” he said, “but more than anything else the people to whom I’m bound. My family and my country are in my heart. As I told you, I miss my country, but if you have a family near you, every place is home. The war has led me to escape and I hope that they too, soon, can be here with me. Apart from that, I hope the war will cease as soon as possible because there’s need for peace for all; we need love, rebirth and hope for the future. My Earth isn’t the homeland of terrorism. What is certain is that the speech is rather long, complicated and, above all, delicate, but I feel compelled to say that terrorism is right to call it international because it is such and what lies behind reveals a reality far more distressing than that which comes presented.”
“My family and my Country are in my heart”
Ismaael is the name of those who live and fight for their loved ones, hoping to find something that can guarantee a small space in a place called “future,” even if they don’t know where it will lead. Ismaael is the name of all those who, despite possessing an identity, decided to remain unknown because fear stays in the hearts of those who hope for a better tomorrow. A hope for tomorrow that isn’t stained with more blood. A tomorrow that is able to give a home to every person in every state, every nation and every country. It doesn’t fall within the bounds of race or of different ethnic groups. It is based on the freedom to live without being judged and, above all, without being persecuted but recognized only as brothers or sisters in mutual respect.
*Name has been changed for confidentiality.