The Death Road

The journey over sea brings danger and risks, but the situation in the Middle East is so bad that those obstacles are even worth carrying.

Imagine, you are 29 years old. You have a wife, two children and a job. You don’t earn a lot of money, but you get along. Once in a while you can afford a dinner in the city, besides the traditional ones in your cosy apartment. That’s normal life.

Suddenly the political situation changes in your home country. Only a few months later soldiers are running through your streets and they won’t leave. They tell you, if you don’t fight for us, we will shoot you.
Your neighbour refuses.
A gun shot. Silence.
You notice that one of the soldiers approaches to your wife, whispering, telling her to spread her legs.
Somehow you have the power to get rid oft hem, but at night you find no sleep rethinking all your options.

All of a sudden a huge bang makes you jump out of your bed. Your house has no living room anymore. You get your wife and you children, running out on the streets, but it is completely destroyed. You manage to bring your family back inside and then decide to ran to your parents’ place just the street further down.
But it’s gone. Your parents also.
You look around – pause – and you see an arm lying in-between the wreckages. It’s your mothers. You just know it, because it has her wedding ring still on the finger.

You can’t think anymore. No straight thoughts running through your head. You find you way back home where you command your wife to get the kids. The little bag lying on the floor just fits for a long journey where you can barely take anything. You have in mind that it must be carried the whole time. Two pieces of clothes for each – what else?
You might never see your home again. Nor your brother, nor you neighbours, nor your colleagues. But how can you possibly stay in contact?
Hectically you throw your smartphone and the charger in the bag, it doesn’t need much space. Clothes, bread, the favourite cuddly toy of your daughter, that’s it.

The distance to the border takes two weeks by walking.
You are hungry and almost haven’t eaten since one week. Most of the time you have to carry your little daughter. She is only 21 months. You feel weak as your wife does, too, but your main concern is that your children are all right. The two little ones cry the whole time. After two more weeks you reach the sea.
In the middle of the night you get squeezed onto a boat with hundreds of escaping people. But this time you are lucky, your whole family gets on.

But the boat is so extremely stuffed that it almost capsizes. You pray not to drown. People around you are screaming and weeping.
Some of the little ones already died of thirst.
They were thrown over board.
You look after your wife and find her sitting in a corner, apathetically. She hasn’t been drinking since two days.

With the coast appearing on the horizon you get divided onto the ship’s boats. Your wife and your youngest daughter get separated from you and your older daughter. Everybody gets admonished to shut the fuck up, because nobody is supposed to perceive our arriving. Your older girl knows that she has to stay quiet, your little one doesn’t understand. She doesn’t stop crying.
The other refugees start getting nervous. They yell at your wife to calm the child, but she can’t succeed. One tall man seizes after your daughter, wrest her away from your wife and throws her over the ceiling.
You jump into the water trying to find her, but it’s too late. You won’t find her ever again.
In three more months she would have turned two years.

How you and the rest of your family made it to the country that offers you asylum, you almost can’t remember. Since the death of your daughter your wife hasn’t spoken a word. Your older one carries the cuddly toy of her sister the whole time starting to get really apathetic.
But you need to stay strong, you almost made it to the emergency camp. It’s ten at night. Finally a man talks in foreign language and leads you in a huge hall. Here you are supposed to sleep. Camping beds stand in line, one after the other. At least 500.
You try to find your orientation, but it’s loud and hard to breathe. What do the people want? You can’t understand.

And then the weakness overcomes you. You feel as if nothing could hold you up anymore. There is this thought that asks why the hell weren’t you the one to get shot?
But then you gather yourself together and with new motivation you start unpacking. The two pieces of clothes for your wife and daughter – and your smartphone. This will be the first night to stay secure.
The next day people come and hand out new clothes, even designer brands and a toy for your daughter.
Surprisingly they give you money. 140 Euros for the whole months.

You step outside and walk around on the court. Somewhere has to be a signal. You raise your smartphone up in the air. This is the only way to reach your contacts back home. You need to know if they are still alive.
A guy is passing, one you don’t understand, but he is yelling at you. You try to find someone who can translate. He’s telling you that the man wanted you to fuck off and go back to where you left. You don’t know what to feel.

The only thing that you know is what you feel and what you have:

Quelle: Tina Beckmann
Darf geteilt werden.
Kopiert von: Matthias Gawron

Translated by Laura

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