Each day appeared longer than it was and, on the time, I couldn’t converse English so I couldn’t open up to anybody, clarify what I used to be going via, or ease my thoughts. I felt alone, like I used to be in jail in my head.
With Father’s Day simply behind us and through Refugee Week, I wished to share my experiences as a father, a refugee, and as a resident of Scotland as a result of it’s uncommon that anybody hears the experiences of individuals like me, particularly dads who depart dwelling alone to allow them to discover security and sanctuary for his or her household overseas, one other a part of the world.
There are a variety of myths about individuals like me so I need to present why, as a father, I took the steps I did as a result of I feel any dad would perceive.
The theme of Refugee Week this 12 months is therapeutic and I do know I couldn’t have even begun to heal from my experiences in Syria if I didn’t have my household with me.
I needed to depart as a result of I used to be being threatened in the course of the warfare and I knew I needed to get each me and my household as distant as doable if we had been to be secure.
Refugee Week: Time for UK to ditch right-wing xenophobia and recognise the worth…
You could have examine males taking harmful journeys or crossing the Channel on boats however that wasn’t my expertise. I used to be fortunate as a result of I had a UK visa and didn’t need to danger my life to get right here. I acquired on a airplane.
Others I do know did die alongside the best way, having by no means been reunited with their households.
However simply because I used to be in a position to come to Scotland by a uncommon secure and supposedly “authorized” route, that doesn’t imply my expertise looking for asylum in Scotland was a straightforward one.
Arriving within the UK was only one step in an extended course of, one which examined me to my limits and had a profound impression on my psychological well being.
It took a 12 months for my asylum declare to be processed and, working with the British Crimson Cross household reunion staff, it took one other 12 months on high of that earlier than my spouse and two youngsters may be part of us in Glasgow.
It was an actual nightmare; there was a lot paperwork and a lot proof to assemble. Fortunately, I used to be a journalist in Syria, so I used to be in a position to be clear about my story however, once you stay in a warfare zone, primary, sensible issues like private paperwork get misplaced alongside the best way.
And nonetheless it took months and months. I do know different males whose households have been killed whereas they’ve been ready. I’ve identified different males who’ve killed themselves.
Any father or mom would perceive the feelings – the ache, nervousness, the horrible uncertainty.
Think about having to show that your youngsters are literally your youngsters.
However any father or mother would additionally perceive why I persevered as a result of, after two years away from my spouse and youngsters, they had been in a position to be part of me in Scotland and at the moment are secure ultimately. It could have been aggravating nevertheless it was a memorable second once they acquired right here.
There have been challenges since, together with transferring my household into homeless lodging as quickly as they arrived right here and residing in a house with mould and damp that broken my well being and the well being of my youngsters. I’ve been via a lot in these previous few years, I’m now registered disabled.
The entire course of appears designed to finish in failure for households like mine however, when your security is threatened, you’ll look to get to the most secure place you possibly can whether or not that’s Scotland, Germany, Canada, France.
It’s solely once you perceive what individuals have suffered at dwelling that you would be able to perceive why they put themselves via the issues they do, why they take the dangers they do, and why they endure the torment of household separation. It’s exhausting to outline a father or mother’s compassion however that’s what drives you always.
Was it value it? For me, it positively was.
I’m grateful that I used to be in a position to get my household to a secure nation and that we had been in a position to begin a brand new life.
I don’t assume I might have been in a position to transfer ahead with my life if I didn’t have my household with me. I’ve seen what’s occurred to different fathers who haven’t been so lucky.
How may I heal with out them?
In my tradition, once you get married, you make a dedication to your spouse and your youngsters. As a father and husband, it’s my responsibility to make sure my household is OK and residing in a peaceable and secure setting, on the very least.
Now I really feel, collectively, we are able to transfer previous the trauma now we have skilled and we’re nearer to therapeutic.
I nonetheless have relations in Syria and I fear about them however, now my spouse and youngsters are with me, I’m troubled much less by lack of sleep, despair, and nervousness.
I’ve discovered English now, studied in school, and am concerned with organisations, just like the Crimson Cross, in my group. I’m in a position to higher myself, to stay a traditional household life in peace.
While you consider the experiences I and so many others have been via, you possibly can’t assist however assume it ought to have been simpler to attain this than it was. It ought to have been faster, extra humane; our housing wants and the wants of our kids, particularly their well being, ought to have been correctly thought-about.
Fortunately, only a few individuals in Scotland will ever need to undergo what I and others like me have skilled.
However I might ask any father or mother: in case you had been mendacity awake and worrying that this may very well be the day you misplaced your loved ones, how lengthy would you need to wait? How a lot scrutiny would you need to be put beneath?
How may you even start to heal till you knew that you just had completed your responsibility by your loved ones and located them a secure place the place they might heal themselves, develop, and – finally – flourish.