Omdat dodenherdenking en Bevrijdingsdag naderen wil ik jullie meenemen in een gesprek dat ik een paar jaar geleden had met een man die nog niet zo lang in Nederland was. Een man die een oorlogsgebied had achter gelaten. Een Wartaaltje in het Engels. We begrepen elkaar daardoor iets beter. Met dank aan schoondochter Loes die zo lief was de grammatica na te kijken en aan te passen.
Did I tell you about the bomb on my head or…… in my head? A bomb in your head? No, you didn’t tell me. You only told me that you are a very intellectual person. Almost the most intellectual person in the AZC. Did I say that? Yes, you did. No, I did not. Well, you said something like that. Maybe I said that I am smart. That’s the same, isn’t it? But what about the bomb on your head? It was about just a year ago. I was sitting in the bus, which I took every day to my work, when a bomb hit the bus and destroyed all of it. I saw a disaster in front of me and I fell on the floor. I thought I would die. The only two person I was thinking of were my mom and my wife. It seems terrible to me for them to loose me… Because… I’m so smart. You can still see the scar on my head, it’s from here to after the right side of my head, for about 10 cm long my head was injured. Did you became more smart after the wound recover? Ja. Do you remember what happened after the bomb hit the bus. What did you do? It was crazy. I lay there on the floor and thought I was going to die, but after a while I began to realize that maybe I will survive, so I walked out of the bus and walked to people in the area and asked for help. They brought me to a hospital and after they brought me there I became very dizzy and I fell down. But do you know that I could have been dead for four times? No, I didn’t know, I just met you. But you could have been dead for four times? Ja! In the months before the bomb hit the bus in which I was travelling I walked through a street when right in front of me a bomb exploded. I saw the explosion and the disaster. Another time I was walking through a street and a bomb collapsed in the street on the left where I was walking, and again another day a bomb exploded in a street right where I was walking. So you can say some people did their very best to kill me, but they not succeeded and I think that’s because I’m very smart and I think I must be a very important person. Don’t you think? Yes, I think so. You are very smart and very important. But what kind of person are you beside smart and important? I think all the time, I can’t stop thinking. It’s a disaster in my head. And I don’t like changes in my life. In Syria I lived in a town and for years I didn’t change a thing on my daily rhythm. I lived a good life and I was sure I’m going to die in that place and that house and that was just fine. Well, your life changed badly the last year. Ja! And I stay here. I will never ever, never ever move again. Whatever happens, I stay here. I think this town is a good place to stay. Don’t you think? Yes I think so, but I’m the wrong person to ask because I like changes and I changed a lot. They told me that the water is the biggest threat for the Netherlands because you live under the sea level. That’s right. Yeah well, I decided when the water comes, I stay and let the water come. Are those the thoughts you think with your smart brains? Ja! Did you know that I almost drowned the first time I wanted to escape by boat? No, I don’t know. What happened, because it’s clear that you didn’t drown. Well, the boat broke in two parts and there we were, all alone in cold water. I saw how people became blue in their faces and I was very afraid. For almost five hours we managed to keep our heads above the water. Were the other people nearby and were you able to support each other? Sometimes we shouted to each other. What did you do to stay above sea level? I was angry. I don’t want to be food for the fish and after that to become shit from the fish. I couldn’t stand that idea. Such a smart person as food for the fish. So I felt cold and very, very angry. Suddenly big lamps shined in my face and I knew the fish in the sea would not eat me. I won. And I thought: I’m not allowed to die. When we were saved by this big boat, they put us in a space on the boat where it was very cold. We were wet and cold and there we stand, shivering and almost dying of the cold. So I didn’t die in the bus in Syria, I didn’t die in the water, but here I’m going to die on the boot in this cold room, after I was rescued and thought I would be safe. But I didn’t die. After they brought us ashore they put us in prison. There we stayed for about ten days. I don’t know why it took so long for us to stay in prison, I heard something like it was an holiday and the authorities who makes the decisions for letting us free were on holiday. What did you do after they send you from prison? I lived in hostels and went from place to place. After about a month I tried again to escape by boat. There were about 80 people on a small boat, old people, man, woman and children. I felt afraid but also I didn’t care for me to die anymore. There was nowhere to go, only this boat and the only thing I could do, go forward because I couldn’t go back anymore. It felt like my life was already over. So I stepped into this boat and for about twelve hours we were on the water to go to the other shore. Nearby the shore the pilot could not find a good place where he good lay his boat in a save place, so he went several times make rounds nearby the shore and the fuel ran out. I thought, because of the loss of fuel, he should throw people into the sea because we were with too many. And I was afraid that he should choose the smartest people first to throw overboard. And because I was for sure the smartest person on this boat I try to hide behind all the people in the boat. But suddenly he found a place where we could go ashore. All of us. I felt so very, very ,very happy when we were off the boat and walked on land, safe land. I could dance, but I didn’t know if smart man could dance in Europa. Do you think you will ever go on a boat again. Nee…..I hate boats and water. But now your life started in a land with water all around and lots of boats. I once had a rubber boat. Oh, really? Yes. It was my birthday. I turned eight and my parents had a surprise for me after de curtains. Early in the morning, the whole family was singing for me a birthday song and after that, I have to open the curtains to see my birthday present. And there it was a big orange rubber boat. I was so surprised of this big present, I couldn’t say a thing. I only thought: What a big present and it’s all for me. Een boot voor je verjaardag….. What did you say? I said a Dutch Sentence. I just said something in Dutch. And I’m not going to learn this fucking language. But you have to. No, I’m not. Yes, you have to. No, I’m not, why? Just because. Just because? Yes, so we can speak Dutch, in time. Why? I’m going back to Syria. You are going back, and you didn’t want to move? Yeah well, someday I’m going back. But meanwhile you better try to learn Dutch. Why? It’s easy for me. You’re crazy. No. Yes. No. I’m not going to learn this fucking language, it’s too difficult! It will be better that you learn Arabic. I think I will. Really? Why? I want to visit Damascus some time. Why? Because you love it so much, it must be a very beautiful city. You can come with me, then they will shoot us together. Oh, that will be nice… I don’t think they will shoot us dead. Oh, that’s a relief. We will get injured. That means I lose my leg or my arm or an eye? Yes, maybe. And you? What about you? Don’t know, but I think you will love Syria. But maybe you have to leave with only one leg. And you thinks that’s funny? No, that’s life. But seriously, I want to do something. You want to do something? About what? Don’t know, just something. You want to sleep less? No. I like to sleep. You want to eat less? No, I like cookies. Oh. You want to drink less. Maybe……but really, I have to do something. I think nobody knows about our troubles. Well, why don’t you tell them? I think we need people like you to explain how it is to lose everything and have to start all over again. Don’t want to explain……….It will not end the suffering of all the people who die because of war. It will not end their pain. And I want to stop it! It just has to stop!!………I fled away and now I’m laying and sitting here and doing nothing. What are you going to do about it? My friends died because they had the courage to do something there. And you also want to die? Maybe. And then? Don’t know….my mind is going crazy, can’t stop thinking about that I didn’t have the courage to do something. I was too afraid. What could you do? Don’t know, just something more. And now you think you failed? Yes of course, I failed badly. That’s what’s going on in my mind: I failed, I failed, I failed!!!!! Round and round and round, can’t stop it. Do you want to stop it? Don’t know. Can’t think straight anymore. But now you are here in Holland. Yes, lying on a seat, doing nothing Don’t think anybody understands me. It makes me crazy