OPEC bulletin 10/17
Why did you have to flee?
In 2011 the revolution started. My friends and I founded
a group and demonstrated by singing songs of freedom.
We asked for the killing to stop. That’s how my name
was put on the blacklist. My friends and I were not able
to leave our houses anymore; we even had to give up
studying. The second reason is that I would otherwise
have had to join the armed forces. But I didn’t want to
fight. I hate violence.
Did you leave Syria alone? Where are your
I left with my cousin Omar and my sister-in-law. They are
now in Germany and Sweden. My parents and one of my
elder brothers are still in Syria, as is one of my sisters.
I also have two brothers and a sister who live in Qatar,
and a brother who lives in Linz, Austria.
Could you describe your flight?
We started off in Izmir, Turkey. We stayed for three days
and then took a boat to the island of Samos in Greece.
For this, we had to pay ¤1,200 (approximately $1,400)
eachandwealmostdrowned. InSamos, wespentanother
three days waiting to be registered before moving on
to Macedonia. From there, we took the train to Austria,
passing throughCroatia andSlovenia.Thewhole trip cost
us about ¤2,500 (approximately $2,930) each. I took
only winter clothes, my camera and some documents.
We faced many challenges, mainly because of the lan-
guage. December 2015 was very cold; we were freezing
but couldn’t find anywhere to sleep. Food was almost
always bread and jam.
Why did you choose Austria?
I chose Austria because my brother was already in Linz
and I had read a lot about the country. Nature here is
What was your first impression of Austria?
It was very difficult to communicate because I couldn’t
express myself. Everything was new and the circum-
stances in the campwere rather bad. But the peoplewere
nice, welcoming and helpful.
How is life here?
I have met many people and some of them have become
myfriends. I amaphotographer andhavealreadyheld two
exhibitions.Themostdifficultpartisthe languageand the
laws. If you are not granted asylum, you can’t work. The
onlythingyou cando iswait.Waitingandnotbeingable to
do something is horrible. I try to usemy time studying the
language and supporting friends, if they need help. I am
Samer and other
refugees during their