Lilas Hatahet

I am 100% Syrian and proud of it. I don’t think I have to be 100% Danish in order to be well-integrated.

Material things have always been important to me. As a former TV presenter it was important for me to have a nice appearance. I would often spend half of my wages on a cool handbag or a pair of fantastic shoes. When I fled Syria I only took the most necessary things with me, and three pairs of stilettos. I might be a refugee, but I was still me. When you lose everything, your view on materialistic things change completely. I have had to abandon my home twice. I did not only lose all my belongings, but also all the memories and dreams of the future associated with them. When I moved into my present home, about six months ago, I decided that this was to be our home. The thought of it made me happy, but it also filled me with fear. I fear that we might once again be forced to flee, but most of all I fear the grief associated with losing everything. So I am afraid to put down roots.

Many people tell me that I should see my situation as a sort of rebirth, where I get the opportunity to start afresh. I see it more like a bloody abortion. My life was ripped out of me when I had to flee from Syria. It was bloody and gloomy, and now I stand here and I must start anew with an open and positive mind. I have put down roots, though, and in the two years I have been here, I have made fantastic friends who have supported me such a lot.

37 years / female / single / children / trained theatre critic / works as a journalist / Nivå / from Syria / came to Denmark in 2014 / residence permit same year