A bullet on the important road

03 February 2022

I am one of the people who used to live in my beautiful country with my family and friends. We were happy, comfortable and lived our lives normally until the war in Syria started. Oppression, fear, hunger, and displacement began, from one country to another.

I had two young daughters. My first daughter was two and a half years old, and my second daughter was one and a half years old when the Syrian regime arrested their father. He was on his way to work, but didn’t come home and we haven’t heard from him since September 2012.

I was with my family when in March 2013, I got a call that said the father of my children died under torture. They told me that they took his body to a hospital. On my way to the hospital, a police patrol stopped me and interrogated me about why I  was in the area. I told them that I wanted to go see my husband’s body. They took me in their car, and I was arrested and interrogated.

I spent two months in detention. I was tortured in many different ways – electricity, fingernails, burning with cigarettes – and threatened with weapons. The torture was both physical and psychological.

When I was released, I went back to my family and saw my daughters. They were very afraid when they saw me because I was very weak; my soul was very tired.

We stayed for another week, and then I decided to leave Syria with my family. We were smuggled to Jordan in June 2013. When we entered Jordan, we registered with the United Nations Commission and rented a house. People constantly threatened me that they would kidnap the girls; that someone would come to kill me and take them away because I have daughters from another man and couldn’t take care of them on my own.

But my second husband loved me and my daughters, so I decided he would be their father. He promised me that he would protect them from anyone who thought to harm them. From the day I got married, my husband’s family threatened us and abused my daughters. When someone from my husband’s family came to visit us in our house, they would say a lot of bad things to my daughters, a lot of ugly words. My girls, my daughters, were afraid that I would leave them or that someone would keep them away from me. Their father’s parents in Syria promised me that they would send someone to kidnap them and bring them back to Syria. Every month we needed to change our place of residence so that the girls could feel safe, but the pressure on them had increased and the stability of their lives was harmed.

They started telling me: “We don’t want to stay in this country, we are not comfortable here.”

At their school, they were subjected to ridicule and bullying because they were refugees in Jordan. My daughters were under great psychological stress. Both of my daughters are still seeing a psychiatrist to this day.

I decided to leave Jordan with the girls. They were now my responsibility.

I spoke with my husband and decided to go to Europe alone with my daughters, and he would later join us. But because of the Corona outbreak in 2020, my husband couldn’t come.

When we came here to Bosnia and Herzegovina, I was pregnant with my third child from my second husband. We did not know any smugglers or the smuggling route.

We were told there was a young man that could help us in exchange for a substantial sum of money. He asked for 15 thousand euros to take us to Italy. We gave him 10 thousand, and my brother said he could help with five more.

He left us in a forest and told us we were in Italy. We were walking on a scary road. It was dark, and the weather was damp and cold. We were lost for two days there. But we weren’t in Italy, we were still in Bosnia.

We then came to camp Borići. From there, we returned to the refugee camp in Sarajevo, and were then taken to Mostar, where I gave birth.

Since then, we tried ten times to cross the border, but the police brought us back every time. My children got sick, so I decided that we would wait out the summer until my daughter gets a little older.

I thank God every day despite everything.