A Short Walk Through Europe

It was hardly six weeks ago that Walid announced he’d finally saved enough at his part time construction job in Lebanon to pay the smuggler’s fee.  After two years of wearily waiting for conditions to improve in his homeland, it was time to move on. Since I knew him in 2009 when he was completing his degree in literature at Damascus University, Walid often spoke about visiting foreign lands. It was not as a refugee fleeing his proud land of Syria. It was not with a single knapsack his back. It was not before he heard news of whether his brother, a young military officer and trained lawyer in Palmyra had survived captivity during the ISIS assault on that city. It was not without completing his degree. Or knowing the fate of Karim, his childhood friend, who since the earliest days of the uprising had joined opposition forces. It was not without an embrace from his mother.

Two weeks passed. We spoke the night before he and four close friends left for Turkey. On August 30, on his Facebook page, he posted: “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in light.-Hellen keller.”

Then, finally, these daily messages arrived along with some grainy photos on my viber account.

This pic in serbian hungarian borders

Now I am in budabesit in hungary

We are wating for train to go to germany

My journy was good and safe untill now

need just ur prayers and ur encouragment

Now iam in hungary we are stuck and wait to go out without take our fingerprints in hungary

Here in the kelti station there was a gathering of syrian young to let us go by train

We buy food from around us

nowdays hungarian people give us water and sweets and plankts

I think I could pass the way I still just have little step to get to germany

Hello dear freind dr, I am happy now I am in Austria they are a goodhearted people
Today I will take train for germany; If God wanted.

B. Nimri Aziz is a New York based anthropologist and journalist. Find her work at www.barbaranimri.com. She was a longtime producer at Pacifica-WBAI Radio in NY.

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