“I feel as if my life was stuck between two walls. Behind me, the Syrian war forced me to leave. In front, the European bureaucracy prevents me to enter. To escape, I have only two options: by sea or by plane.”
Nabil, a 33-year-old Syrian lute player, married his beloved Helene in Damascus, on the eve of the deadly chemical attack of August 2013. Six month after, Helene obtained a scholarship and went to study in Portugal. So he moved to Beirut, decided to get a visa for Europe and join her as soon as possible. But as the 1.2 million Syrian refugees of Lebanon suffer from a growing wave of violence and marginalization, he had to flee again, to Istanbul, still without any visa. However hard he tried, only 4% of the 3.34 million of Syrian refugees are hosted in the European Union. Many died trying, drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, while others are stranded in Istanbul, after several illegal push-backs from overprotected Bulgarian and Greek borders. Even if he considers them as “heartless cowards”, from now on, Nabil puts his fate in smugglers’ hands to gather with Helene in Portugal. After having fled a war that already killed more than 200 000 people, the road of Syrian asylum seekers is ambushed. I followed it from Lebanon to Greece, following Nabil and his friend’s tracks.
Project by Emmanuel Haddad