My name is Abdulazez.
I am 18 years old and I am a photographer from Syria.
This is my story:
I left my house in the city of Homs after 6 months of the revolution, I left a lot of friends behind me. Since then half of them died and half I don’t know anything about them.
I lived in the Syrian countryside for 3 years, I was in school but there was a lot of things I could not do there because of the situation. My eyes was always looking at outside, out of the box which we were stuck in.
I wanted to do something for my people, but I wasn’t able to whilst still in Syria, because every day I was afraid that maybe I’ll die and no one will even remember who I am.
Finally I left Syria and headed to Turkey with my family at the end of 2014.
At first, I saw hope there, but I was surprised by a lot of things there, maybe racism was the worst in it. But I could go to school there so I was happy.
I began to learn Turkish on the internet, then one of my friends introduced me to photoshop. I loved it and started to make art.
I loved to make art about life, love, hope, smile, but I was always thinking about Syria. I was in Turkey, and many Syrians were still stuck in Syria, without the ability to get here.
I started to make art to represent these people. I spent a lot of hours learning more computer programmes, I love learning every thing, I loved books, and I was reading a lot of novels.
After one year in Turkey, my family decided to leave. There was no money there, no future. We were still just 5km from Syria and there were some missiles coming from the Syrian side to this border village. The Turkish people thought this was because of us, and they were treating us so bad!
We sold everything, we borrowed money and we headed to Europe, for life, for studying and for leaving behind the racism and the war. This is all we wanted.
We arrived in the tent city of Idomeni after facing a lot of difficulties. I asked someone when I arrived…’how long have you been here?’
‘One week.’ He said.
‘Oh how can you stay here so long? That’s really long!’ I said!
The border was closed and the situation was very bad. Some nights I couldn’t sleep. I tried reading books and trying to get connection with internet to download some pdf books but I was in a tent in the mud.
After three days raining in Idomeni, our small tent was finished, water in everywhere! We had nothing.
I was standing, looking, breathing and asking myself..’Would dying quickly be better than dying slowly?’
We left from Idomini with broken hearts.
We came to Eko station camp. I found a new spot for me, new small tent with new people. I don’t know any one of them, new faces and new eyes.
Here I started volunteering. I volunteered with independent and official teams, I didn’t care, I just wanted to learn English.
One day one of the other volunteers asked me what I like doing. After a while I told her I like to make art. I was shy to tell her at first because I hadn’t been able to make any art for a few months.
‘Do you want to see?’ I asked her. She said ‘Yes sure!’
I showed her some old work and she said it was awesome. I was surprised that she liked it, but she showed many other volunteers and one of them got a laptop for me!
I started to make art again! I was really so happy that there is people who did that for me! I loved it!
I want to be a voice for the Syrians, for the refugees. I grew more confidence inside me. A volunteer from Italy sent me a small camera and I was really happy with it! I was trying to take good pictures even it it was so far away from a professional camera.
I did it and I showed people the photographs, the reality, not from the media. People liked that they showed the truth.
I got a second camera from Spain. It was more professional, and I was able to start my own page as a voice of refugees, called ‘Through Refugee Eyes.’
I couldn’t just watch without doing anything, so I captured the stories unfolding around me.
I am still in Greece, still trying to shout, to tell the world the truth, to persuade them.
7 months I have been here. I still remember I was shocked by the man who had been here for 7 days.
My message to Europe, to the whole world, is that we are not terrorists. We didn’t come from nothing. We came forcibly. No one choose to leave his home. We just want to live!
We have everything you have, mind, body and feelings!
I am a Muslim and I’m so proud of that. If you think that because I am Muslim I’m a terrorist, let me tell you that you’re sick!
We were living in Syria, all people from different religions together before the war, no one said something bad about another, all of us love each other.
Today my words to send to Europe are,
‘Open you mind. Try to get the truth before you judge about any one!’
Today I am in the middle of the suffering and I don’t care. I am on the road toward my future Insh’Allah. I’ll be an artist, a photographer and I’ll study. I’ll be back to a normal person one day. This dream is not so big. Breath, study, live and have friends! Is that a lot?!
I’m here today because of the war, but if tomorrow my country will be safe, I’ll be there again!
My name is Abdulazez Dukhan, I am a refugee! Please follow my journey on my Facebook page.