Border Crossing: a Syrian’s story

Damascus Sep. 2011, ‘when the revolution started I came from Lebanon where I had been studying to join the protests. I believed things could change. In the protests I was taken by the police, and tortured, 3 times a day. They wanted me to sign my allegiance to Assad. After 17 days I signed, and 5 more months I spent in prison. I remember the feeling of comradeship amongst us, drinking tea in a cell with no window’.
My family paid a lot of money for me to be released on bail, but then I got sentenced to 37 years in prison. Straight away, I contacted a smuggler and made it across the border in the North East. I remember the moon, and the darkness and the smuggler cutting the barbed wire and saying “you see those lights in the distance, keep heading for them”.

This story came to us when one of our Syrian friends approached me in Istanbul and asked if I could draw his story. It was both a way for him to be able to talk about what he has gone through, but it also became a way for his friends to ask questions about his story, giving all of us a way to slowly  understand this journey.

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