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Friday, October 30, 2015

A report from Luna & Basel, Syrian refugees in Germany: "Waiting is not Healthy"

Luna and Basel Watfa were recently interviewed by SWR (Südwestrundfunk), the state radio, TV and news website for the federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg. They are currently living in a Syrian refugee camp in Kusel, a small town in Rhineland-Palatinate of not more than 5000 residents. Reported by Alexandra Dietz. The German to English translation has been done by Ralph Apel and edited by Clay Claiborne. Originally published on 28 October 2015. Also available in Spanish at Linux Beach.

Syrian Refugees in Kusel "Waiting is not Healthy"

Basel and Luna Watfa: he is a translator, she worked in Damascus as a political journalist. For weeks now they have been living in a refugee shelter in Kusel. Condemned to wait, but with hopes and aspirations.

Luna Watfa lives with her new husband Basel
currently in the refugee shelter in Kusel
She is looking at her wristwatch over and over again as she nervously pulls on a cigarette. She feels restless, says 34 ­year-old Luna Watfa from Damascus. Time just does not pass and it is getting worse from week to week. “There is nothing to do here, this is only about killing time." This Syrian journalist has now been waiting five weeks for her registration to be completed.

Because of the seemingly endless waiting, some people are even thinking about going back to Syria, Luna Watfa reported. Waiting, uncertainty, lack of privacy and no prospect of seeing the children again soon, make her feel hopeless. “Many people who we spoke to here say they had imagined all this quite differently. Even so they think Germany or another country in Europe is a good place to start a better life, a life with rights!"

"Privacy zero"

Refugee shelters in Trier "This is a total mess."
Until they know where they will be staying in Rhineland-Palatinate, Luna and her husband Basel are trying to use their time as best they can. While many men are playing football, kids are driving around with bicycles, scooters or doll carriages, the couple often sits apart. They are looking for quiet corners, which is almost impossible among 700 other refugees. "Privacy is equal to zero," says Basel Watfa.

The nights are terrible too, adds his wife. "All the time there is noise, loud music, screaming kids, always, day and night. Some don't speak our language or even some other language we know, so they don't respond to our prays for quiet."

Waiting, only Waiting

The journalist rarely gets around to writing. Having lost her computer and the camera while fleeing to Germany, she is typing her texts, with great difficulty, on her small smartphone. "I do miss the feeling of being a journalist, talking with people makes me feel what they feel, I do understand what they are feeling and what they are talking about. And I can let the whole world know how much each of them is suffering." The couple is indeed grateful to finally be safe and having made it to Kusel, one of the better refugee accommodation. Nevertheless, they are tired of waiting. "One has been constantly waiting on the long journey. When you arrive here, you think, so we have waited enough, it must now finally come to an end." Waiting is not healthy, Basel also says. But it has been good for something, he adds: "We believe that we will get what we have dreamed of, a safe life in Germany, to be able to finally go back to work and live with the whole family in a small apartment." Luna and Basel Watfa would like to finally write again, to educate and to inform – on Syria, the regime and ISIS. They would like to be back to their professions as a translator and a journalist. And above all they would like to learn German as soon as possible.
See also: Basel & Luna made it from Syria to Germany safely but they still need your help
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

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