About Refugees, By Refugees
Trigger Warning: Suicide, Homophobia
Tell me, what are you doing now and how’s life being since you’re in Germany?
I’m working here ain like nightclub, I’m deejay, I hosted parties. I do many things in the club, organized parties. I’m doing the Korsakoffs (German- cashier) also I do many of these jobs and the clubs. Yeah, mainly like in the nightclub I’m working.
Why you’re in this branch?
Because like I love it. I love nightlife. And like, I can feel it free in this place, especially I’m gay. Like I can’t find myself in this place. And like most of the people like are friendly and they are coming to enjoy, to do troubles or problems.
So Covid-19 affect your personal life because your work is affected?
Yes,of course. Like we don’t have parties anymore, like before. Like like we just have a few parties every month, not every month or so, like maybe every few months. We have a few parties and like it’s online parties like, not like before. Yes, of course.
The income also. It’s like it’s not like before now I’m doing like Kurzarbeit (German- short time work)
And how does it make you feel?
I feel sad. I just want to walk again. Of course I want to get more money because like I’m living alone, I have to pay a lot like, Kurzarbeit. it’s not enough to pay like my pays.Like whenever I was working I like I arranged my life for my money. Now my money is less than before. I’m like my pays, like a lot.
Um, hmm. How’s life been going since you are in Germany?
Uh, in the beginning was a little bit hard like new currency, new language, a new culture, but, yeah, it’s nice. I love it like I’m in this life.
What’s your challenge?
The challenge was for me, like just the language in the beginning because like I arrived and you know, I have to do many papers for like my passport, my, you know, this kind of things like and not everyone can speak English or not everyone wants to speak in English and like, I was new. Oh, my God. I need to speak in German like, yeah, but I also did it without any translator. Always I was alone but like with a broken German in the beginning and then, yeah. I learned Deutsch.
So you didn’t feel not belonging to here or eh um feel sad? Homesick?
In the beginning, I was no, I feel like I belong to this country but I was like I know I knew that I need a little bit of time to be inside this culture of this country like inside.
And how did you cope with this situation?
Eh, whenever, like, I didn’t do anything I was like just studying German and then I was looking for a job. However, I found my job. All the problems has been solved, actually. Then I found my apartment here and, yeah. Was everything amazing, perfect than what I expected.
Better than that?
Yeah better than, exactly.
OK, and you don’t have any challenge I guess so. I saw your video that you complain about, um, about Arab communities inside Germany and…
Yes, because like, you know, like I’m Arabic. I was living in the Middle East, like whenever I choose to. I was living in Dubai, you know, Dubai. Like for me, it was like open minded, kind of, kind of open minded country for me. I choose to to leave Dubai because I want to have more freedom, especially I’m gay. There is no gay rights in Dubai. I came to here. I thought the situation here to be better as a gay person, especially with the gay rights here, LGBTIQ+ here. And then I, I whenever I arrived, I start to face the problem with the Arabic community. Like I was shocked. Oh my God, I came to Germany to face troubles? I didn’t face this troubles in Dubai like the Arabic communities there. Like I said, remember, they don’t have enough time to to to speak something bad like everyone, he’s working over there. But here, many people like they are talking like bad talking whenever I’m walking in the streets, whenever Arabs is like they see me like start to speak in Arabic. Some bad words, maybe many of them. They don’t know that I’m Arabic. They are saying bad words. I can’t understand it. I feel sad. Like, oh, my God, I came to Europe to hear this bad things? I don’t want to hear anything because I came here to feel free, to feel safe in the streets and now like I’m super famous. It’s the challenge. It’s more difficult for me. Like whenever I’m walking in the streets right now, I’m looking behind if someone like following me, because every day I can read on the Internet many bad comments like “Oh, we will kill you whenever we found you. We are in Berlin. Don’t try to come to Neukölln on this Arabic places we are”. So whenever I’m going there, like I, I feel always like I have to take care of myself to take a look around of me. If someone following me, like if I whenever I’m going down to the stairs like in any open or something, I’m just looking behind me. Maybe someone who will push me or something. Yeah. It’s like maybe it happens everywhere, like because they want to do some bad for me and whatever are important to them. It’s like I didn’t find any good solution, actually. The police, they are friendly with us. But like at the same time if the problem happens, police, they cannot come directly to the place, like they will run away if someone like did bad things to me. It happened before, like someone he start to punch me, something that I like trying to call the police. Then he run away.
And, um, how do you feel about all this shit happening around you?
I don’t feel fine because, you know, like star… Like I was scared. I was not feel comfortable in like Syria. I moved to Dubai because I want to feel more comfortable. I also I didn’t feel comfortable. I moved to here and the same situation. It’s like very hard every time I need to move. And I don’t feel fine with this situation. So but at the same time, I’m happy in my life from other sides. So I’m trying to avoid to see this culture or to see these people somehow like to live far away from Arabic people, not to go to their places. But also it’s not the solution because they they keep repeating the problem because they know even if they do something wrong, nothing will happen to them. Like the police, they will not do anything to them.
And all these things are because you are gay?
Yes, because I’m gay and I’m Arabic. Because, like, they are thinking like, oh, you will give the German people bad image about Arabs. They would think the German people, like all the Arabs, are gays and something like that.
And what’s wrong about that?
Pfh yeah I know there is nothing wrong, but for them it’s like something wrong. That’s a problem. Like, you know, like a lot of gays everywhere, even in Germany, like like, you know, it’s a lot. But for them, no, we are not gays don’t give the German people image that we are gays. Like I don’t know how they think, but because I know because I hear these words every day.
Can you have this positive energy and you have this self-confidence in you, where do you have this?
Positive energy. Because I need to be happy in my life. I live once. I want to live as I want. I want to be happy always. I don’t want, uh, like sadness in my life. So I always think positive. I’m trying to be happy in my life as much as I can. And I’m happy because, yeah, there is some bad people, but at the same time there is some nice people they are giving me like push support and push also.
So, uh, how did you came to how did you come to Germany?
As the same as everyone- illegal way. And I applied for a visa when I was in Dubai. I applied for a visa, but they refused because of they they know that I’m Syrian and like Syrian people, they, they will not go back.
Was there any difficult any particular situation that you want to talk about it in your process to coming to Germany?
Yeah, I told them that I’m gay. They knew already in the embassy, but like it’s the embassy in the Middle East, they can’t do anything.
I have no idea, but like they called me many times, we have spoken, but is to apply to be a refugee or to apply for any reasons, you have to be in Germany. Not you cannot ask the embassy like it’s it’s not the job of the embassy as my information.
Uh, why did you want to leave Dubai?
For many reasons. The most important one, like I left Syria before the war, like a long time ago. There was no war whenever, once I left Syria. Then I was in Dubai. The war happened in Syria. I was not able to renew my passport anymore. So without passport, I’m not able to stay in Dubai anymore. And if in like the companies over there, they start to use us the Syrian people over there because they knew that no one’s giving us visas for no more visas for Syrian people. So whenever the life become very expensive, whenever we ask asking our companies to increase our salaries, they are saying “OK, if you don’t like, go find another job or find another place.” And they knew already that we cannot go to another job because no more visas for the Syrian people. So I don’t want to be like slave over there. They are using the situation of Syria to to give us less money or they don’t want to increase our salaries. So I was feeling like not fine. “Oh, my God, what is this situation?” And at the same time, my passport was to be like to be expired and I will not be able to renew my passport. If I don’t renew my passport, they will send me back to Syria and see that they will catch me from the airport to the army direct. And it’s not… I will never go to the army to kill someone or to fight it’s….
And why did you leave Syria if you want to talk about it?
Yes, of course I left Syria because I didn’t like the situation in Syria, actually, because it’s not a life over there. Like my dreams was bigger than the situation in Syria or their lives.
What was your dream?
I want to live better life, more freedom in my life, more rights like here. We are, not here, but in Dubai, like you have insurance card, you have good situation. You can have a contract with your job or something. And Syria, like whenever you want to work, you can work without contract or something. Like if the owner, he doesn’t want you, “ok bye” directly without anything. So I was like, oh my God, I don’t want to have the situation. So that’s why I left Syria. I want to live in a country with with rules, with laws, contracts, with insurance, with something like that.
And what was your dream now?
Um, my dream right now to feel more safe in Germany.
In which way?
As a gay, as like in the streets, as a gay, just I want to feel safe. I’m happy in my life here, but I just want to feel more safe, like. Every time I meet new people or chat new people, like I’m afraid from everything to say anything. Like, as I told you, I’m very famous on the Internet. Sometimes I’m hoping to talk to the people, cameras or something. They are starting to ask me a maybe private question or something about me. I’m like, I’m afraid to speak with anyone because they maybe they would record the screen, maybe they will do troubles for me, especially like I’m in a place maybe, many of the Arabs, maybe they would do troubles for me. So I’m I’m afraid about that.
So why do you go public, although, you know, it’s dangerous?
Why? Because it’s my right. Why I moved from Dubai to here to do whatever I want. What I like.
Uh, you do drag?
You think it helps you to came out like how does it feel to be a drag queen?
It’s a nice feeling actually. I love it. Yeah. It gives me also good energy to do a drag. Eh, but anyway, like I’m going as a gay person and everywhere, like so. Everyone knows me as a drag or not like they can know me right now.
Um, how did you come out? Do you want to talk about it?
Uh, Actually I was in Dubai, not in Syria, the main thing. So I was like, I have my work, I have my apartment. I was I have my situation. Like I was also a little little bit far away from my family. So I had a boyfriend and like my family, I was telling my family, he’s my best friend, he’s my best friend, and they ask me, why do you take care of him like, very, very much? I thought. Then I told them, he’s not my friend, he’s my boyfriend, I’m gay, blah, blah, blah, because I was relieved maybe they don’t want to talk to me anymore and maybe they will block me. Maybe I will have trouble. But anyway, like I have my own life, I can. I have my job, I have my salary, I have my apartment. If something happens, I have my life. So and I don’t want to live life with double faces. I need to live in only one face. That’s why I decided to tell my family. It’s easier for me to live in one face, especially I want to be open the social media or public and I have to be in public because anyway, I’m artist like I’m drag queen. I’m D.J. I’m doing parties, I organize parties. I need more people in my parties, more guest because I have to be famous. Whenever you are famous, you will get good business.
Yes. so due to all difficulties that you’ve been through, uh make you uh to have growth in you, make you other person changed, you any way?
Kind of, yeah. It makes my heart as a stone or no more heart. Yeah. Actually yes.
It’s a good thing or bad?
Eh, I don’t know, maybe it’s bad things like I don’t have heart or feelings anymore. And at the same time it’s good thing because I’m strong, like nothing can break me or destroy me. I have no idea if it’s a good thing or not.
But do think about it?
It’s better for me. I think it’s better for me, like I don’t want to be destroyed. Wherever you are living alone especially I’m alone. I don’t want something to make me down. So if I don’t have like or if my heart is hard, no one can make me down.
I miss my old Mudi. like my old me, but I can’t live with that person anymore.
How about the old Mudi?
It was like broken, destroyed, stuff not hard. With any if any bad situation. I cry, I, I become down. I just like, but now, not anymore.
But how is it when you are not in a good mood now?
Nothing like I listen to music. I dance. I love that shit. Even if I’m not in a good mood and I have to change my moods.
What brings you joy?
What brings me joy?
Uh. My fans. My fans on the social media and everywhere like…
Because they are the one who’s supporting me even my family they are like makes me happy. Whenever I feel maybe maybe kind of like not in a good mood. I talk to my family. I feel OK.
So being famous give you the power that you think, OK, you’re powerful, you have fans?
Not it’s, not it’s not about the fans like I have fans. It’s about the supporting whose coming from the people, like many people, like they are telling or you are giving us a hope. You are make us smiling. And that’s why I become happy, because I’m giving hope for many people like they are not how they are feeling sad, maybe some many of them that are living in the Middle East. Many of them like talking to me from Saudi Arabia, from like very close countries. Like I feel happy because they are doing their best to support me in somehow. Like the homophobic, I have like I had an account in Tik-Tok, I had like 12 million views on 15 days. I like millions of views everywhere on my accounts. I have I had like half a million followers in like two months, like a very short time when the homophobic start to report my profile, then I lost it. And then like I felt very sad because I worked very hard. And then, like my fans, they came to me, OK, you can have our accounts. We have a lot of followers. You can take it. We can give you the password, make a new account. We will support you. And I can see it like everyone supporting me. So I, I feel happy because maybe I’m giving hope and everyone’s want me happy in life.
So you choose to see more the support than the homophobia?
Yeah, I have the homophobic. It’s actually more than the support. But I’m just looking to to support people or to the good people. I don’t look for the bad things. I just look for the positive things, not for the negative things.
And did you experience racism?
Where you mean?
I’m the only one who didn’t face it. No.
Maybe because, like, I have a different situation, I think I’m very open minded for everything. I have no problem with anything. So like I’m into that with the German, with everyone, like, so yeah, that’s why I didn’t face it.
But how does homophobia make you feel? So you I know you ignore that, but?
Yeah, sometimes I affects me like I guess I’m just for whenever they are saying something about killing or sometimes they are telling every time you are in the hell you are who the hell you are in the hell anyway. In the hell or not in the hell- it’s my business. Why you care if I am in the hell or not? Do I, just focus on your business like. Yeah, it’s annoying actually. It’s, doesn’t make me down, but it’s annoying. Like every time I have to read it or I have to hear it, like sometimes I meet people whenever I was in my course, like the teacher was asking, asking everyone, like do you eat Schwein (German- pork)? Do you drink alcohol? Do something like that? Whenever I’m answering any questions like like in the next class looking at me, “oh what the fuck? You are going to the hell? What is that? Why you do that? Why drink that?” It’s like I have to work in the nightclub and yeah it’s annoying. It doesn’t make me down but it’s annoying for me because like I cross seas, I like danger my life to feel like free. I don’t want to someone to annoying to annoy me actually.
And what’s your strength?
What do you mean?
That it’s annoying but it doesn’t make you feel down? So how?
As I tell you it’s annoying because I have enough things in my life. I don’t want to keep talking and like whenever someone is telling me you are in the hell. What should I answer him? I know what it’s annoying for me, but if I answer him, I will be I will talk and talk and cook talk for no reason, at least like will not find a situation. So I just try to not speak anything. OK, as you like. I would then be happy. I would not be with you in heaven. And that’s what I will answer. Yeah. I’m just answering like that.
So if you could say something to these people or the people that don’t accept you, what would you say?
Live and let the others to live.
Yeah, that’s it. What should I say? I cannot change their minds. I’m so tired in my life I can’t explain to everyone. Yeah.
Is there anything, do you want to talk about about your refugee experience?
My refugee experience, like whenever I was in Dubai, like I was did not refugee like. I was working. I was living. I didn’t know what means of refugee. Even I came to Germany. I don’t know what is the situation here, but my experience was OK, was fine as a refugee. As I told you at the beginning, I found I faced some problems, like with my papers. It’s like the procedure a little bit slow. But I can understand a lot of refugees, especially in the beginning. They put us in camps, Heim (German- refugee acommodations) on something like that with the same community. Also, every time I have to complain “Oh I run away from the Middle East with the Middle Eastern people, again with the homophobic. Yeah, but everything was fine. Slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly. And the government was very helpful with me. Whenever I’m just asking them for anything or for any help or any support, they are supporting me. I’m just. Yeah.
And I am very easy.
You are very happy and that makes me feel good.
Yeah, and look, I know not everyone in Germany have this situation. I have enough troubles, of course, my life. But as I told you, I’m just trying to be happy. I’m just looking for the positive things. The most important thing in my life for me, my family, and my my life as like my job, my my personal life both are fine. I don’t care for others.
So how does that make you feel being away from your family and home?
It’s very difficult. Like close to nine years, I didn’t see my mother or 10 years I didn’t meet them. And like every day we are talking. I just want to meet them. Like sometimes I just really want to meet them, but I can’t. It’s not possible at all, and I’m sure I will not meet them in my life, I don’t. I feel sorry for me and I feel sorry for my mother than me, like I feel sorry for her because she really wants to meet me again. But I can’t do it. I can’t go back to Syria. It’s not possible at all. First first thing, the situation in Syria. Second thing, as I told you, I’m a gay. I’m famous now. I’m famous, like, if I go there, I will really have troubles and, yeah. That’s it. I can’t go, I can’t I feel sorry for my mother, I maybe this is the only challenge. I was like, I just want to meet them some somehow or somewhere, but all of them every day. “We miss you. We miss you.” But what can I do? I’m just I can’t go there, not even as an adult, as a situation, as a refugee. It’s not allowed for me to go to Syria anyway. You know, the situation.
Yeah, is there something that we want to say?
Uh, you can ask me, I can answer because I think it’s very quick right ?
No. It’s OK. And so what would you say to people like refugees like us that they are not as happy as you are with the situation in Germany, but help them to?
Uh, the life is not easy. It has a lot of challenges. It’s up and down. Everyone. Even my life, it’s up and down. Before Corona it was up, after Corona, it’s like very down. Eh, the main thing the people have to think about the positive way. Second thing, I think they have to try to do something else to work very hard. And somehow they have to focus about their problems like when I arrive in Germany, my first problem was the language. I focused about the language. Second step for me was like the job. I focused about the job. Then I found it. Third problem was about to find the apartment. I focused about the apartment. I found it. But like, you have to focus about your problem, solve it, go to the next one. But to focus everyone, to focus about all problems together, you will…it’s not easy to solve all the problems and to stay just blaming and like crying or something. It doesn’t help. I do have to accept that some of them like, oh, we don’t like the life here, we don’t like the situation here. Anyway, you are here. You have to I mean, you have to live there like you don’t have another choice. Like you cannot go back to your country and you have a new life here. You have a chance to to have a good life. You try to accept your life, try to accept your situation and try to accept yourself and try to build you life. Even if it’s slowly, slowly, you will get your target. You will find it.
That’s was my opinion, because I did that and you are telling me, like I don’t have problems like the others are troubles because like, uh, as I told you, like, I’m I’m out of Syria, like 12, 13 years old. Like it’s a lot. I had a lot of experience in those years. It gives me more experience. That’s why, like, I have a different situation, maybe a little bit.
So it helped you to adapt yourself to situations?
Yeah exactly. Because even in Dubai, I faced many problems, many troubles. Like it wasn’t, sometimes like the situation was very bad. And many times I was like thinking to maybe to end my life or to kill myself. I had, yeah.
Because of the situations. Sometimes it’s like a very bad situation.
How how it’s?
How? Maybe got kind of my work, kind of my maybe salary, or sometimes how the people use us. Uh, yeah, especially whenever you are gay in like some countries, like there is no gay rights. There is many people, they start to use us. OK, we will find you a good job. We will find you a good situation. We will do something for you. But like try to come with us or go with us. Maybe they want something from me, like maybe I don’t know if it’s allowed to say mabye, but they want sex or something. Like they want to use me in somehow or they want to be with me like in relationship, even if they know that I don’t love them, they want to use me somehow. OK, we will help you. But you have to do what, what we want. Here, it happens to me whenever I arrive Germany. Some of them like a little bit OK, come marry us. Who will give you the passport, the German passport or something. But here I know I have rights, I have everything. But it’s not allowed for anyone to use me as a person. But in like other countries, I don’t have rights.
And that make you feel sad? Angry? Or?
Yeah, of course it makes me sad. And like many times I told you I was planning to end my life. Yeah.
But you didn’t do that.
I didn’t do that because of, like, the supporting of my family.
Yeah, yeah, because they want me happy and I will do everything to be happy and to show them that I’m happy in my life and I did everything like.
For you and for your family?
To me, to my family, because whenever my family see me like success in my life, they would be happy because I can’t go there to them. I can’t meet them at least at least at least I want to show them, like, OK, I did something in my life. I’m happy. I’m success in my life. So at least I can know my like our son, he’s happy. He has his life. He’s happy in his life.
Thank you. I appreciate your story.
Yeah, like my family was like I didn’t expect, like, they are like very strict. So whatever I told them I’m gay. I didn’t I didn’t know what would happen. Of course, they didn’t talk to me. They stopped to talk to me. They are angry. They sent me many messages or what? What you are doing something? But slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, I start to explain to them and they they open I think the internet, they read about homosexuals or homosexuality. And then they called me. They talked to me. “What do you feel? Can you marry a girl? Can you have a kids, kids? Uh, is possible for you to change your sins? ” They start to understand me like. I was telling them about my feelings about such things. They are the first problem I have solve it with them. They understand what means of homosexuals. They understand it’s not a sickness. Then I start to face the second problem. My cousins, my other family. They start to come to my family, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. “See your, son. What he’s doing? What he’s making? Something…Then my family, like they got a little bit angry because they started to tell me, “oh, what you are living far away. And the people,, they are they don’t talk to you. They talk to us. They make like a headache for us. They start to do something to you to show the people. Like I look at my mother, I just run away. I want to live my life as I like I what I live for once in my life. She told me “Ok. Tryto hide it from the social media”.
But you didn’t do that?
I didn’t do that. I told them “why?”. In the beginning, also, they got angry. They stopped to talk to me again like they wanted to stop from the social media. But slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, they accept it. And they are fine with it because they know it’s like anyway, like, I mean, anyway, it’s like my business right now and I’m doing parties. I have to invite the people. I have to do events in the Facebook everyhere to make advertisements. It’s my work. it’s my life. Even if it’s not my business and if it’s not a business, it’s my life. And I have told them, my mom, my body and my life and Europe. I can’t live in Europe, my body in Europe. I’m to do the same thing in Middle East like and they want me to stay in Europe and to have my life as a Middle East. I told them, no, I crossed see I danger of my life to do whatever I want. What is the use of like I’m living in Europe and I’m doing what I was doing in, like, Middle East. So why I moved from a Middle East, if I have to do the same thing like not so I’m not talking about saying I’m gay. Not you’re not doing drag or gay.
But you didn’t expect that that your family…?
Yeah, I didn’t expect because like my family at this moment, they want me to be happy in my life. Of course, at the same time, they don’t want me to go back to Syria because they know if I go back to Syria, I will be died easily. And from there, from many place like from the people in there, from the homophobic. And yeah. So they are afraid. They don’t want to go back because of the dangerous situation. And at the same time they want me to be happy. They are supporting me. That’s makes me more strong.
So you think that you’re a strong person?
Yes, because of my family. That main reason.
And not because of yourself?
Because of my experience in my life also. But also they give me like 50 percent. They make me strong and they’re 50 percent of my experience, like, what is the use if I am strong and I have no family. Like, they don’t talk to me or they don’t support me. What is the use like? I have no family. Even sometimes, but don’t write it, write it everywhere. Sometimes. I read comments and the Internet on social media are telling me we are sure that your family, they don’t talk to you like they are ashamed of you. Like, I just want to tell them “No! My family, they love me and is supportive. “, but at the same time, I can’t say that because I don’t want to have, I dont want troubles to my family. If I say that of course they have trouble or the people, they will go there, they will fight with them and they will tell them “why you support your gay son. Just be ashamed of him” or something like that. I don’t want to take because they are very good with me. They are support me. I don’t want them to have any trouble because of me.
OK, but you don’t find the people think that your family people know that your family supports you because they should be ashamed of you?
Yes. That’s why I don’t tell everyone, because everyone thinks like my family’s ashamed of me, ashamed of me, and I don’t want to change this image for the people anyway. It’s the people that are not important, for me. The most important thing that the situation between me and my family are fine. So I don’t care for other people. If it’s if it’s if that makes my family safe, that’s fine for me, but at the same time, sometimes with fans or like friends of a friend, sometimes sitting together, they are asking me about my family, something here I can be a little bit open, but at the same time, I’m a little bit afraid. Maybe someone recording, maybe someone filming, maybe someone big problem for me.
So you don’t want us to share that your family is OK?
No don’t share they are ok
You can share maybe some parts, but not everything. Yeah. Maybe you can say like he had trouble with his family or something. I don’t know what you can share.
You can just choose some part maybe you know. You can say he’s talking to his family or say they stop to talk to him in the beginning and he’s talking to his family again. But you don’t have to say like they support him and they may, yeah.
OK, because we want to don’t make trouble for you.
Anyway, I think not because you are going to make it in English. Right?
Or in Deutsch?
English mostly. But it might get translated in German when we do.
I don’t know if they would see the article. I think so. That’s why.
But it could happen.
Yeah, but I’m sure not like millions of views I’m sure. Not like Deutsche Welle.
Because Deutsche Welle ask me before to do interviews like…