Oh the Syrians you will meet…

This week was full of new encounters with Syrians from Aleppo to Damascus to Al-Bab. I hope you have been keeping up with my Instagram and Facebook posts because every time I meet someone new, I feel like there is a story I can’t turn away from. As if, it is not my place to judge who’s story is better or more important than another’s.

Each story teaches a new moral and a new way to look at life. Overall, I can make a few observations about Syrians living in Istanbul:

  1. They are fiercely determined to achieve their dreams, at all costs.
  2. They work hard and don’t want any hand outs.
  3. Some want to return to Syria, but many of them also see home as wherever their family is or where they can have the best chance at a future.
  4. They don’t like to be called refugees. The term ‘refugees,’ in multiple contexts, has turned into a derogatory word. Placing the label of ‘refugee’ or ‘illegal’ makes a person less than human.
  5. They are proud of their language and culture, and fear integrating into Turkish society will cause them to lose what makes them Syrian.