About Refugees, By Refugees

Portrait of refugee Siavash wearing a red jacket with a hoodie using his left hand to hide the lower half of his face

Siavash Dehghan

Pictures taken in:



Photo and interview by:




Hannan Dormiyani

“My dream was to have a peaceful life, raise a family, and love my child,” says Siavash Dehghan (pseud, 28), whose political views forced him and his wife to leave Iran before their child was born, becoming refugees in Germany. The journey to Europe was difficult and stressful; Siavash prefers not to talk about it “because my nerves will break and I will be mentally tortured… I am trying to forget these memories.” He feels “homesickness and hatred” to be away from his family, but finds peace and security living in Germany. Siavash has also maintained his fearlessness, a strength which helped him survive and reach Europe. “I didn’t have the ability to face these things but since I was forced to and had no choice, I adapted myself to the challenges,” he says. He copes with hard times by hoping for a better future, and finds happiness, strength, and support in his child who will soon be born: “Only because of my child, because he is about to be born and all my efforts are for him.”

Trigger Warning:

full interview

Good day. Are you ready?
Yes, I am ready. 

Can you tell me what kind of accommodation you live in?
We live in a camp in Germany and they gave us a room and we live there. 

Who do you live with?
With my wife. 

How do you spend your time?
I am trying to learn the language because I am jobless and there is nothing I can do. For now, I’m just learning the language. 

What makes you happy here?
Well, we are expecting a baby and the birth is really close and this is the cause of my happiness. 

Since you entered Europe how has been your life?
Since we came to Europe, we haven’t really lived our lives. Till this very second, we haven’t lived a life in Europe at all. We have enjoyed our lives. Just we came and overcame the hardships.

What are the benefits of being here?
Being here… In terms of security, it was very good. I feel secure here. 

What are the hardships here?
A lot of difficulties. For example, we didn’t know the language, we didn’t have money, and we had empty pockets and we have been displaced. The situation was really difficult for us. 

Can you describe how living here has made you feel?
The only feeling I have here is that my life is not in danger and I am safe, and I have never felt anything before.

How does being away from the rest of the family and home make you feel?
Only homesickness and hatred.

How does the feeling of not belonging and discrimination make you feel?
It gives me a bad feeling.

Can you explain why?

Did you ever imagine that you can cope with these conditions?
Well, it was very hard for me to imagine that one day I have to flee my country and become a refugee in a country, and that too under such conditions that my wife was pregnant that we had to flee. We went through many hardships until we reached this point where our lives are not in danger.

How were you able to cope with these problems, overcome the challenges and move on with your life?
Just because of my child.

Do you think that you have learned the ability to face these challenges or was it already in you?
Honestly, I didn’t have the ability to face these things but since I was forced to and had no choice, I adapted myself to the challenges.

Now the questions are related to your past. Why did you leave your country?
I had a problem.

Would you explain it?
I don’t want to talk about it a lot.

What feeling did it give you at that time? 
I felt very bad because I had to leave my country.

How did you travel to Europe?
It was very difficult and stressful. It is better not to talk about it because my nerves will break and I will be mentally tortured.

Is there a particularly difficult experience you can tell us about?
It was a really bad experience and the whole path was difficult. I said in the previous question that I don’t want to talk about this question because I am trying to forget these memories.

How did you feel at that time?
It was a very bad feeling and really cannot be described.

Do you often think about these events?
It is something that is recorded in our memories, but we try to avoid it. We try not to think about it and forget these memories very soon.

Is there anything in particular that you think about often?
I try not to think because there were bad memories.

How do you feel when you think about it?
Being away from my family, country, and my memories gives me a bad feeling.

Does the situation you faced today affect you?
It does not have a bad effect because unlike my country I have peace and security.

Have you ever imagined handling those situations?
I did think about it but I can’t manage it.

How did you cope with it and overcome it?
With great difficulty.

Have you created a mechanism or a solution to overcome difficult days and memories?
Yes, in strength and support… Thinking and hoping for the future.

Where do you find strength and support?
Only because of my child, because he is about to be born and all my efforts are for him.

What was your dream before the event that led you to run away from home? I want you to start with the phrase that this “My dream was…”.
My dream was to have a peaceful life, raise a family, and love my child.

What did you wish for the future when you left your home? I want you to start by saying that this was “My dream was…”
My dream was to survive and reach my destination.

I want to summarize the questions. Before leaving your country, what points would you describe as your strengths?
Being fearless.

Have you preserved it?

Because I was able to reach my goal by not being afraid and fighting.

What you went through sounds really difficult. Did you feel that you grew as a result of this experience and did something positive come out of it? 

Can you explain a little more?
I understood that fighting and trying to reach the goal.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future? I want you to start with the phrase that “My dream is”.
My dream is to live healthily with my family and love my child.

Thank you very much for answering all these questions. Is there anything you would like to add to help Europeans better understand the lives of refugees?
I am happy to talk with you. I would like to add a small point. I want to tell the people of Europe that refugees flee their country just to save their lives and come to Europe hoping for a better life. If an immigrant does something illegal, account it on the name of all immigrants. If a nationality does not respect them, then other nationalities should not be accused.

Thank you.
You are welcome.

Many 1000 Dreams interviews were not conducted in English. Their translation has not always been performed by professional translators. Despite great efforts to ensure accuracy, there may be errors.