I feel like a bird in a tree. I am petrified of the day the wind will come and blow me down. Sometimes I feel foreign in Denmark. The big political storms in the Danish foreign policy, and in the rest of the world, mean that I cannot feel confident about a stable future for me and my family.
I fled from Syria to Lebanon and then to Turkey. And finally, on a fishing boat from Mersin to Sicily. The journey across the sea took 11 days and 11 nights. I wore a large, green rubber ring which I was ready to inflate if the boat should capsize.
We were around 300 people stowed away on the boat. Large families, small families, young, old. Everyone from Syria. The last two days we only had potatoes to eat. We cooked them in sea water. The children were crying. Some got their Qur'an out and prayed, when the hull crashed into the high waves. The night was one black blur. The strange, monotonous darkness at night. I was scared of dying in the sea, afraid the fish would come and devour everything.
Syria is like a garden, with many different flowers and plants. But the Kurdish culture was trampled upon again and again. I had painted it all before it happened. Art is prophetic. I lost all my belongings, my car, my paintings. My studio in Damascus. I lost my dreams of Syria. But I have gained my freedom in Denmark, although I have to split my identity into two. In Syria, I was an artist. In Denmark, I am an artist and factory worker. And I must constantly work with my foreignness.
Hasko Hasko / 44 / male / married / children / artist and factory worker / Aabenraa/ from Syria / fled in 2014 / residence permit 2014