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“I became 22 on the same day of the attacks. It was my birthday”
Samer Marash is a Syrian refugee living in Munich, Germany. In the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, Youth Radio talked to Marash about how things have changed for him.
Youth Radio: What was your reaction when you first heard of the Paris attacks?
I was really shocked. I instantly knew…there would be really bad reaction on the refugees. The whole move, it was supposed to do that… They [ISIS] really hate the people who went away, the refugees. So they wanted to [target] both — the French and the refugees — to affect them.
Refugees ran away from them, from ISIS… They just want to recruit people, take control. So people fled. And I think they hate refugees for it… And maybe they’re hoping the European Union will take action against refugees, or something like that. Big game, big plan, I don’t know.
YR: Are you afraid of how Europeans will react?
Yeah, I’m afraid of the reaction of people. I don’t want them to hate us. We are just normal people trying to adapt to a new environment.
YR: What’s the mood like where you are?
The mood? In Germany I don’t feel a big difference. I feel a big difference on Facebook, the comments of the people. I have a lot of pages. I can see the reactions of people: “We don’t want more refugees. The refugees are coming bringing people from ISIS.” Maybe they feel endangered. They feel afraid for their families and everything.
YR: How do you feel?
I feel frustrated…I just want to continue my studies. I don’t want anything to do with the stuff that’s happened. [I want to] continue my life in peace, make my own family, [and] help my family back in Syria. That’s all of my dreams… The majority of the refugees just want to continue their lives in peace. Work, study, whatever.
YR: Why did you leave Syria?
It was awful. I had no choice. I just wanted to continue my studies. I could not do that in Syria. They demanded me to go to army. I did not want to do that. So I had to leave. My parents wanted that, because I’m only child of them…It was a strange experience.
YR: When you were in Syria, did the violence affect your everyday life?
Everyday when I went out to college, I had a 50% I won’t get back to home. Maybe I’ll get shot or something. Because the bombs and the bullets were all the time. There was a chance everyday.
YR: What were you studying?
Electronic engineering [at] Aleppo University
YR: How did you learn English?
I watch a lot of movies, listen to music, and read books, too. I was interested in English since I was six, seven years [old].
My favorite movies: Die Hard, I like horror movies, not so much the action ones, [I prefer] the comedies. And How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, that was awesome! I watched that like 10 times.
YR: Are you in school now?
[I’m] not in school. I’m just doing the language courses I need to reach really high language course in German, so I can apply to Munich University. It’s really hard to get in, even for Germans, so how would it be for [a] refugee?
YR: Are you trying to bring your parents over?
Now I can’t. Maybe when I can get a job, I can help them. Reunion of the family is possible only when the person has a job with a big salary and has a place, so that’s my plan.
I think i will continue my life here, because in Syria it will not get normal in 10 years, maybe more.
YR: What are your parents lives in Syria like now?
Not that good. There’s no electricity. Not that much water. And everything is really expensive, like the food, I mean, basic food. So it’s really hard there.