April 24, 2017

Nawras

Basma: We met through a mutual acquaintance at the Caritas in São Paulo. When I arrived, I was told to visit Caritas for my protocol. Because I did not speak the language, Narwas who arrived almost 2 years before me, helped with the translation. After our initial meeting we talked for a week on the phone.
Nawras: After I told you we should get married.
Basma: I said yes! And we got married. It was just that week talking by phone. It was very easy, but it’s really is difficult for me to tell you!
Nawras: I don’t want to waste time!
Basma: But in fact in our cultures and our religion, we cannot date without getting married, but it wasn’t an arranged marriage. We loved each other before we were married, but we could not have a physical relationship without marrying. We know that the Brazilian custom is different.
Nawras: When I arrived in Brazil, I was with a friend of my friend. He asked me if I was married. No. He asked if I had any children… How could I have children if I wasn’t married? This is a very normal situation here, but it’s quite different from Syria.

The cultural differences don’t bother us; I’ve had a lot of experience with other cultures. We knew these things before we arrived to Brazil. I also used to work in the duty free shop in the International Airport in Damascus for almost 7 years and I was able to travel internationally frequently before the war.  I met many nationalities through work. It’s the same for Basma since Morocco has a strong French influence and she lived in France, too. But it is very difficult for the Syrians who have never left the country before the war and come to Brazil. They’re going to struggle. My family still lives in Syria; I left alone because a journalism company was looking for people who have higher education and they sent me an offer after applying three times. My father told me to go – immediately – so I went to Lebanon first. I stayed a year, but the Lebanese unfortunately do not like the Syrians because there are almost 3 million of us Syrians in the country now. When Brazil started offering visas to the Syrians, I think I was the first person to get it. Now, I don’t want to go back to Syria nor any other Arab country. I prefer to stay in Brazil. There’s everything here.

Basma: It doesn’t matter to us that Trump accepts refugees from Syria into the US. We care that he only ends terrorism in the country. We as refugees do not want to go to the USA. We only want the US to stop giving more weapons and money to terrorists. We want to live in our own countries. That’s the truth.
Narwas: I mean, I would like to get a visa to go to Disney World, Miami, and Las Vegas, but I think it’s incredibly difficult. Basma has one, but I can’t go with her.
Basma: I have a Japanese-Brazilian friend who went to Las Vegas last year, and she’s planning to go next year. She wants us to go with her on the next trip, but I think it’s going to be next-to-impossible now. But understand that I’m glad Trump won the presidency. Obama offered money and weapons to terrorists groups in Syria.
Narwas: But not Trump, he wants to take them away. I think Trump has a good relationship with Russia, and Russia likes Syria. I think Trump will having a calming influence on terrorism in Syria. Hillary would have been a continuation of Obama’s policies. We hope Trump will be better for us Arabs and that he represents a new paradigm.

It’s sad to see what’s happened. This conflict won’t end until Russia and the United States sit together and decide how they will end this. Turkey is also very important. They need to close their border because each day about 1000 people for around the world come to join the war via Turkey. Without Assad, the country will disappear. It will divide. Forget what the media says, Assad is well liked. He’s done great things for the country. He would go around Damascus without his guards. I even saw him and his wife without a security detail in restaurants a handful of times.  Syria used to be a paradise. It was safe. We could be out on the street and no worry about personal safety. We could have money or gold and it was fine. I made a good salary and could buy whatever I wanted. There was a gasoline subsidy, we had a public health system, and the government supported education which allowed me to study 4 years in a university.

It’s sad to see what’s happened. This conflict won’t end until Russia and the United States sit together and decide how they will end this. Turkey is also very important. They need to close their border because each day about 1000 people for around the world come to join the war via Turkey. Without Assad, the country will disappear. It will divide. Forget what the media says, Assad is well liked. He’s done great things for the country. He would go around Damascus without his guards. I even saw him and his wife without a security detail in restaurants a handful of times. Syria used to be a paradise. It was safe. We could be out on the street and no worry about personal safety. We could have money or gold and it was fine. I made a good salary and could buy whatever I wanted. There was a gasoline subsidy, we had a public health system, and the government supported education which allowed me to study 4 years in a university.

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