Dear Angela Merkel,
It isn’t easy for me to tell you my story. Each of these sentences takes a great effort. I am not well, I have panic attacks and doctors have prescribed tablets for my nervous stomach. Nevertheless, I want to report to you what has been happening to me these last months. Even if it makes my despair all the greater. Because I am being reminded of everything.
Reminded that my wife and my four sons are stuck in my hometown of Aleppo. That bombs are falling there and it is getting worse every day. And that I have to return to the war to see my family again.
It is paradoxical. I came to Germany because of my children, to be able to offer them a future. Now I am going back again because of them.
I am a Syrian father, my youngest son is three, the oldest eleven. I traveled through Turkey, Greece and half of Europe to reach Germany. I know full well how many refugees have entered this country in the last months. I only have to look around in my camp in Hamburg. I live in the warehouse of a former DIY store that is divided with fences and tarps into sections. On our parcel of floor space, I have been housed with three families. Sixteen people live on 40 square meters (430.6 square feet.) It is completely overcrowded.
I have been in Germany since November, and in these three months, I haven’t had the feeling that the situation has improved. On the contrary, it gets worse day by day.
Coming here was the biggest mistake of my life. In a couple of days, I will set off to head back to Aleppo.
The first city I saw in Germany was Frankfurt am Main -- a wonderfully beautiful place. The people were friendly and smartly dressed and well-fed. The skyline impressed me. And all the new cars! From Mercedes, BMW, and Audi. Shining as if they had just been driven off the showroom floor. I called up my wife and said: "This is paradise. I’ll get you to join me as fast as possible. We can build a future for ourselves here.’’
But only two days later, I was told I had to move. No idea why. I came to Braunschweig, in a city who’s name I can’t pronounce. The people there were no longer as friendly; it was cold and crowded in the camp. But still better than in Hamburg. To be honest, where I live now is almost unbearable.
The worse thing about the camp is that we are treated like children. We are not even allowed to decide how to hang up bed sheets in our plot of floor space to have our own little private area. We are not allowed to have visitors; we are not allowed to cook for ourselves. We are grown men! Many of the women are never able to take off their headscarves because they have no privacy. And the days are always the same: Get up, eat breakfast, charge the cell phones for three hours, lunch, sleep, charge the cell phones for three hours, dinner, charge the cell phones for three hours, sleep. We are wasting our time while our families are in mortal danger back home.