A Syrian refugee’s heartfelt open letter to the UK

In the last two weeks we’ve seen shocking scenes of Britain First visiting hotels to intimidate and insult refugees. One very special refugee saw a video of this and wrote the following incredible response:

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

First of all I would like to thank the great people and the government of the UK. Even though I don’t think my words are fairly enough, I would like to express the grateful feelings I have, and every single refugee or asylum seeker that has come to the UK, has.

Unfortunately, we had the misfortune to be born in countries where our rulers steal, kill, persecute, torture and enslave us. Ignoring the fact that our countries are extremely rich with many resources.

Please allow me to ask you,

  • Have you ever experienced the feeling of the sky raining bombs, rockets, and every other weapon falling randomly on unarmed people
  • Have you been insulted and humiliated whenever you had to deal with any government institution?
  • Have you ever heard that in your country a few miles away from you there are people literally dying from hunger? Old men, women and children starving to death.
  • Have you ever seen a 6-year-old child who is blind because he has been burned by a rocket?
  • Have you ever watched your loved ones raped and killed by the people who should have protected them?

Can you try to imagine? I do not have to; I have experienced it.

We do love our countries very much. Personally, I never thought once to leave before the crisis happened.  Many people who were forced to flee their homes feel the same. But like many people I had to leave my home, just so I could live, without either being forced to be a part of the killing machine in my country, or becoming a victim of it.

Since I entered the UK I feel like I am a human being again. I was afraid of the police as I always was but soon I noticed that I shouldn’t be because they are doing their real job, implementing the law which is protecting the civilians and stopping crimes.

The Home Office let me stay in a hotel, with a roof and a bed, I stopped feeling scared of any government institution because they are following the law here. Here the law is not just ink on paper, it’s a true living system.

We are sorry but that is why we came to your country. And please let me ask you, aren’t we all humans? Aren’t we all brothers and sisters? When some pandemic happens like Covid-19, aren’t we all in danger? We are all the residents of this planet. Can’t you see how, if we worked together, hand-by-hand we could make this world a safe place for all.

If we don’t manage to live together, we will absolutely die together.

Dear taxpayer,

I beg your pardon but you should be proud.  Believe me you should, as I was once was when Syria was lucky to help its neighbouring countries. You should be proud and happy to be born at this side of the planet, to have the chance to help others.

Dear taxpayer,

Blame me however you want but please don’t try to humiliate me because it was the loss of my dignity that pushed me to leave my country.  Blame me, but please blame me for the right reasons.

Blame me for not being one of the hundreds of thousands who were killed in the massacres.  Blame me for not being dead out of hunger during the siege of Madaya – a few miles away from the Syrian capital, like the children, men and women there who starved to death.

Blame me for not being a prisoner till now in the Syrian prisons being tortured day and night, wishing to die with every single breath I have just to get rid of the torment.

Dear taxpayer,

Please blame me as much as you want, and I will accept your blame with a very open heart because honestly, I already blame myself for the very same reasons. And because I believe that I’m not better than anyone that died in the war or the people who are still in agony in prisons till now.

And dear taxpayer,

Please don’t tell me that we didn’t pay for my accommodation or food because, believe me, you can’t even imagine the bill we paid.

And don’t forget that if you asked any one of those who lost their loved ones ‘what would you do to have your loved ones returned to you?’  Ask anyone what he is ready to give his life for his father, son, or wife to return from death or even just to know if their loved ones are still alive or they died in the prisons? There is no Syrian family that has not suffered from the war, ask any one of them.

Dear taxpayer,

I pray to god to keep you and your loved ones safe and your country away from harm. And I want you to know that I, and a lot of people like me, didn’t come here to harm your country or people. On the contrary, we came to work and provide whatever we can to this country. I can’t disagree that there is a small number of our people who are not doing good here but please let me ask you to not stereotype us, you know that we are not all the same.

At the time of my staying here in the UK I was lucky to meet a lot of very nice and friendly English people and I believe that a bad minority should never affect the good majority.

Goodness is always everywhere and we just should look for it and do as much good and expect good in return.

— a Syrian asylum seeker

About Care4Calais

Care4Calais was founded by a group of volunteers with the sole aim of supporting the people of the Calais refugee camps, providing fresh meals, warm clothing, heating and important legal and medical support.

We are not politicians – we are people like you who simply believe that every human has the right to be treated in a fair and dignified way.

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