Karim

December 2014. It's been three months I came back to Switzerland from Palestine, but it still feels like three days. I miss Palestine and keep it present wearing my Kuffyiah and Falastinyia t-shirt all the time. Even if a new assignment stays before, in another part of the world. Everything is ready.

The sun rises every day


The sun rises every day, even in Palestine. (Yanoun 07/04/2014)


In front of the train station, I notice a Palestine stall and start talking with the guy there. He likes my Kuffyiah and my three Arabic words. We meet again in the evening to have a beer. His family had fled the Nakba. He was born and grew up in Syria, where he studied at university before war broke out. Now, his asylum request in Switzerland was just approved, he is allowed to stay. Hamdullillah!

Two days later, I am on my way to somewhere else. Today's technology though allows us to keep in touch easily, and we connect regularly.

July 2015. Coming back to Switzerland is not easy, which is not surprising, but still… I always enjoy being the foreigner, and I miss hanging out with people from all around the world. Luckily, I have good people here too. Karim is among the first I meet. Randomly on my way home, which all of a sudden requires several hours and beers. Although we had barely spent one day together before, it feels like finding a friend again.

When we met the first time, he hardly spoke German, and I am deeply impressed hearing him talking fluently.

We keep meeting, and friendship becomes reality. Karim's joy of life is highly contagious, and spending time with him makes me happy. He does not speak much about his past, and I don't want to push him. He is 27 and I suspect he has experienced things I cannot imagine.

But one day, it is as if trust is there. He tells me he does not feel well. Maybe he does not have many people around to confide in. In any case, it is as if a tap was opened, and he talks. His family is stuck in Turkey, and he wants to bring them here. There is no guarantee they are safe over there. He is trying to obtain humanitarian visas for them, which is an attritting procedure. He has not got an answer yet, but he fears they will not get it, so he is trying to find other means already. Europe might soon close its borders for good. His mother wants to take the sea. He talks of finding a “good trafficker”.

Karim's good mood, his jokes, his laugh hide despair, fear, worry far beyond what I know. He faces responsibilities hard to bear alone. But he will try everything to give his family the same opportunities he finds here. He talks and talks and talks. I don't know what to say. I just realise once more how fortunate I was to be born here. And I am here for him. To listen. To give some comfort. That is what I can do for him. I am scared too. I try to get him off his idea with the trafficker. These days, hundreds of people try to flee across the sea, hoping for a better life. But all they find is death. I don't want Karim to lose even his family.

He left Syria four years ago. What happened on his long journey for Switzerland, I don't know. What I know is that the only time I asked, tears would drown his words.

Karim is not his real name. I chose it because I think it fits. Karim means generous in Arabic. And how else could you describe a person with such a big heart, he cannot not help.

I still enjoy Karim's company a lot, and he found his smile again. I wish he can make his dream come true, and become an interpreter. I wish he will finally find some peace. He has worked so hard for it, now he deserves to get it.

its beautiful and i really

its beautiful and i really liked the spirit of you guys, best of luck to you and i a am quite certain you will get all for what you have worked hard. thanks for sharing.

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