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:
- They are fiercely determined to achieve their dreams, at all costs.
- They work hard and don’t want any hand outs.
- 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.
- 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.
- They are proud of their language and culture, and fear integrating into Turkish society will cause them to lose what makes them Syrian.