Zeina Hamada

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I am a Kurdish Syrian, but I feel embarrassed about confessing to being Syrian or Kurdish. I have not chosen sides in the civil war. I aspire to be 100% Danish and to stay here. I feel that there is compassion here, something that has ceased to exist where I come from. I was just about to start my Master’s Degree at the University of Damascus when I fled. I wanted to become a professor of archeology.

Our history is our most important asset. The oldest letters in the world originate from Syria. I had so hoped to be able to pass this legacy on to my children. Now I will never be able to say: “Children, look, this is Damascus, the oldest town in the world. Feel the atmosphere of the ancient churches and mosques”.
To begin with, war was something that happened elsewhere. Then suddenly unpleasant things started to happen. Neighbours would suddenly be picked up without anyone knowing why or by whom. On the street, people could be subject to controls and stop and search raids. You did not dare to challenge it. People who used to be friendly neighbours became enemies and fought each other. When we fled to Turkey, we thought that it would just be temporary. But we soon saw that things became worse, so I fled across the sea with my daughter in my arms. It was awful to think that if she dies, it will all be my fault. But if we stay, we will have no future.

I am happy to be here in Roskilde. At first, we lived in a large house with other refugees, and I was pregnant. My daughter withdrew into herself, and she nearly stopped eating. Through the council I got in touch with a volunteer. She reminds me of my mum. She helps me with everything. I am lucky to have good people in my life. They held my hand and said “You are strong. You can count on us”.

30 years old / female / single / children / bachelor’s degree / language school / Roskilde / Kurdish Syrian / came to denmark in 2015 / humanitarian residence permit 2015