When the war broke out in Syria, Abdullah had just enrolled in university to study law. The war intensified, and his home town of Dier Ezzor became a major battleground in the fight between Assad's forces, anti-government rebels, and eventually Daesh. Russian and American-led airstrikes were devastating entire neighborhoods. A peaceful life became impossible. Abdullah had only been in university for a week when his family, alongside many others from Dier Ezzor, decided to leave Syria for Turkey. They left their lives and their homes behind, under assault from aerial bombings, public executions, and the forced drafting of men of fighting age.
In Turkey, Abdullah's family set up a school for Syrian refugees. Alongside his parents and older brother, Abdullah began to teach the oud (guitar) and piano to the students. They subsisted for over a year, but earning enough money to feed the seven-person family proved difficult in a foreign country.
Abdullah became aware of Syrian refugees making the crossing from Turkey to the islands of Greece. It seemed the only way to escape the past, and to secure a future. The journey would wash away the memories that haunted him, he thought.
By this time, the images of bodies on Greek shores and the realities of life in refugee camps were world famous. He knew the risks. A great number of refugees who got on the overcrowded zodiac boats were never heard from again. It was desperate, irrational, and expensive. Depsite the odds, the gamble seemed worth it for the promise of a better life in Europe.
Through Abdullah's Eyes chronicles Abdullah's journey from Turkey to Greece and the conditions of the refugee camps in which he and many others lived. We witness the struggle of maintaining dignity and hope. We witness the refugee crisis, through Abdullah's eyes.
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