'Two uncles have made the journey to Europe in the last months. With boats.'
Five years ago I lived with my family in a big house. In the garden there were so many grapes, almonds and walnuts growing that every summer we would sell the surplus on the market in Aleppo. I had my own bedroom where our family pictures were hung which we had made every year at a local photo studio.
My school was close by and I loved to study. Other children like to play football, but not me. That is why my teacher would give me lessons from grade 6 from time to time while I was still in grade 5.
On the television we saw the disturbances in Daraa and Homs but in our village there was nothing going on. But then things started to change. The electricity was going out more often, and food had become so expensive that it was almost impossible to buy. A bread which had cost 15 lira now cost 1000 lira. Standing in line for bread became dangerous. And there were criminals from the prison walking around who were abducting people. After 4 o’clock in the afternoon no one in the neighbourhood ventured out into the streets.
On March 13, 2013 at 9 o’clock in the morning I was sitting on the step in our garden. My father was there too. He was a taxi driver but did not want to work that day because it was too dangerous on the streets. At least at home it was safe, he said. I wanted to walk inside, heard someone call my name and I turned around.
The next moment I was laid out on the ground by an explosion. I tried to see where my father was and saw him lying there too. Another moment later we were in the car with my uncle behind the wheel. Everyone was screaming and crying. My cousin had lost a foot. At the beginning of the drive my father was still speaking but he kept fading in and out and then died in the car. And when my father’s body had been pulled off of my leg I saw for the first time that my lower leg was no longer there.
The bombs from the airplane had in an instant, in a second, destroyed my family. Ten people from the village were killed, including my little nephew. Why the government had dropped bombs onto our village remains unknown. The airplanes returned for a second round but did not drop anything else, probably because they had discovered that they simply had bombed the wrong village.
We gave our Facebook-friends the opportunity to be part of our conversations by posting questions. Bashar answers the question of Atalwin: What gives you strength? (23 sec)
Our entire family fled after this attack to Beirut. Where in Syria each family lived in their own house here we we are now living with 40 family members in an apartment of 70 square metres on the sixth floor. That means that a few days before you wanted to go to the bathroom you 'have to take a number'. And that you have to 'apply in triplicate for a shower'.
The first months I was unable to speak due to the shock. I laid in bed for a year and a half. I missed my father so intensely and my school too. It was one great misery. Then I received from a foreign organization a prosthetic leg.
His uncle adds: The rent for this apartment is 600 dollars and we have forty mouths to feed. We do everything to earn some money and have started a curtain shop around the corner where we make curtains to order. But in this poor Palestinian neighbourhood (Shatila) we are looked at disapprovingly because we are thought to be taking the jobs of the Palestinians. Along with this something went wrong with our paperwork resulting in only a portion of the family being officially listed as refugees and the majority of us have no rights to anything, not even healthcare or education.
Bashar goes on: Two uncles have made the journey to Europe in the past months. With boats. One is now in Spain and the other is already in Germany. The hope of the family now rests with them. I too want to go to Europe. I want to go back to school and I want a future.
If everything would return to like it was before, then I would like to go back to Syria. But it isn't. From our house it is said that there are only a few walls left standing. And I will never get my father back.
Bashar also answers the question of Jacqueline: What is your biggest dream? (30 sec)