Istanbul, SYRIA - Volunteer

Interview made by Cyril Bruyelle​ in November 2016

I met Abdulwahed at the “NGO Small project Istanbul” which provide integration activities to displaced Syrian families. As many Syrian that we have interviewed, he talks a lot about his country, the war, his family and loved ones. As many Syrian that we have interviewed, his wish is just to be able to go back to his country and live a peaceful life. 3 years after the interview, he is still in Istanbul 

What did you want to be when you were a kid?  

To be honest, in our country, in Syria, our parents expected us to become a doctor, or a dentist, or else a pilot… But on my side I didn't put anything in my mind. Even when I finished high school, and I had my high school diploma, I did not know what I was going to do. In the end, I became a pharmacist. But to be honest when I was a kid, I didn't like to think a lot about the future. I lived day by day and let life go on. 


With whom would you like to have a coffee?  

Zinedine Zidane. I just want to meet this guy since 1998.  


If you could choose something that could be taught in every school in the world, what would it be? 

In Syrian schools there was no gender mix. It was either boy schools or girl schools. So in boy schools, I would've liked to have cooking classes. Because now I am 26 years old and I don't know how to cook anything. For the girls, I don't really know but I'd say also cooking classes. 


To you, who is the happiest person on earth?  

There's a person called Adel Karam, he presents a TV show in Lebanon. I like him a lot and I feel he's very happy in his life, he's very funny. I can't watch him without laughing. 


If you were President of the US, what would your first reform be?  

I would open the boarders to everyone. 


What do you need?  

To be honest, all I want now is to travel out of Turkey and go to Canada. Not just to visit and discover. I want to go to Canada to continue my studies, take a master degree and keep on going. So yeah, just leave Turkey.  


What would you do if we gave you 1 million dollars now?  

I would buy a house and a car. I would also manage to buy the Canadian nationality. I could also invite my friends to do a lot of things. For example now I'm working in an NGO, I would give money to the NGO. But as regards to my situation, my idea is to get a visa to Canada, or a visa to get in the Schengen Union, Europe. After, I would just live and enjoy life with it.  


Which innovation, realistic or not, would greatly ease your day-to-day life?  

There's a movie called "Click" in which the main character had a remote control with which he could control moments in real life. For example if there's a thing in life that happened and I'm not satisfy with it, I could pause and rewind to fix the moment and then play again.  


What’s the news that affects you the most in your country these days?  

The most important piece of news right now is about what is happening in Aleppo and in Homs; the neighbourhood where I'm from. It's been two months that they are bombing non-stop and a lot of civilians have been killed. I see pictures of people burned. It's been more than a month that the news talk about Aleppo and the situation of Homs. I'm very sad about what is happening. The Russians and Assad's army are killing a lot of people, most of them innocent people, using very heavy bombs. 


If you had to create a company, what would it be?  

To tell the truth, as I began to study medicine in Syria and I was good at it, I'd open a pharmacy. It's in my field, I know well about it. 


What are you afraid of?  

What I fear the most is to lose my parents. I'm in Turkey right now and I'm very attached to my mom. I'm afraid that something happens to my mom and dad. I can't go to Syria right now. That's my biggest fear. I can't be with them. More than my brothers or sisters... We had a lot of trouble, but I love them, I love my mom and dad. I don't want to lose them. 


What is your dream?  

I dream of going out of Turkey, complete my master, take the diploma and live my life. It's been 2 or 3 years that my life is disconnected. It was very hard with the war and everything. I've stopped my studies for so long. We could not live the life people before us had the chance to live.  


What is the most beautiful thing that you’ve seen in your life?  

The son of my daughter Ayman. Since he's born, I love him so much. And He's in Syria right now. I'd like so much to be with him just for two seconds, not more.  


If you had to write a book about the current world, what would you be the title?  

What I'd like to write about is a trip into the centre of the earth. One day I saw that movie about that, and I'd love to live this experience and write about it.  


Which of your country's cultural specificities are you the proudest of? 

We have a lot of beautiful ancient monuments in Syria. We have a castle named Surat Al Dinn that I think is beautiful. I'm proud of our heritage. When I go visit the sites, I feel like I'm travelling into history. Living the war scenes, seeing the horses going through the beautiful doors... Yeah I'm very proud of our monuments.  


If you could do any job regardless of money, what would it be? 

I'd have loved to be a trader. But it was not for me. It's difficult and needs a lot of studies. But I would have liked to try, I could see myself on the phone like in the movies. "What happens? It went up and down..." Following the trends, being in movement, feel the pressure.  


If you had to explain our planet to an alien, what would you say?  

I would tell him the truth! You came at the wrong moment because the entire world is at war. Wherever you'll go you'll find communities killing each other. Even within the same communities. For example, if you go to Irak, Sunnites and Shiites are killing each other. You'll go to the US, you'll have people for Trump, others against Trump... There are too many conflicts. So I'd definitely tell him he came at a very bad moment!