Essay: Quest for home away from home
International Refugee Day is observed by UNESCO to honour the courage,
strength, braveness and determination of people who are forced to flee their homeland under the threats of conflicts and violence. Many of us probably do not know that Delhi is home to several refugees and asylum seekers – mostly Somalis, Syrians, Afghans, Burmese et al who are registered with UNHCR in India. Here is the story of one such refugee, Samin.
Samin seems inconsolable when asked about his family. A refugee from Syria, he lives alone in Delhi. While talking about his past the profound pain was apparent on his face. Still he is willing to talk about his past.
“I am Samin from Syria. When I was just 21, my parents died one after another within a span of six months, leaving me practically lost and heartbroken. There was no one except me to look after my sister, so I took a job in a nearby restaurant. Things started off well but soon took a turn for the worse. The country descended into civil war as rebel brigades were formed to battle government forces for control of cities, towns and the countryside. Several people started fleeing the civil war between President Bashar Al-Assad’s government and the rebels, as well as extremist groups.
One morning, I along with with my sister went to the nearby market. Suddenly a roar shook the entire market place. It was an intense bomb blast which hit the entire market and its nearby places.
While remaining down on the ground, I lifted my head up and looked around to find everything completely changed. Almost all the shops had been mangled and tossed around. I suddenly realized my sister was not there beside me. I searched for her here and there among all the dead and injured. I found her, yes. But amongst the debris. I lost my only sister. The bomb had destroyed all the adjacent buildings, one of which was my house.
All my neighbours decided to flee the brutal conflict in Syria and the repressive government and decided to start the perilous journey across the Mediterranean into Europe. It was then my old friend Emnauel suggested that it would be better to move to India as India has been a host to a small group of refugees who sought to avoid the crowded countries that share the borders with Syria or the perilous sea journey to Europe. India is one of very few countries where we still have a Syrian embassy.
So Emnauel and I took visa and came here,” Samin shared his dreadful past. Initially, Samin and Emnauel had to struggle here as they used to face discrimination.
Even after facing several hurdles, refugees live with the dream of going back to their own country.
We all must remember that a refugee is someone who is forced to leave
their country and we must also realize that no one in the world would
willingly leave his home and homeland unless he is forced to do so.