- ‘I am sorry that the war has happened, and I'm sorry that I had to leave just like all the other kids who had dreams’
- Thanks to the sea who welcomed us without a visa
- Thank you all for feeling sorry for us...
"Thanks to the sea who welcomed us without a visa... Thanks to the fish who will eat on my body without asking me what's my religion, or political status..."
This was the line in a good-bye letter allegedly found in the pocket of one of the thousands of Syrians who drowned in the Mediterranean while fleeing to Europe from the war in Syria, after all the other countries rejected them and denied them the visa. Amr Kahhaleh, a software engineer in California, had translated this alleged letter and was surprised by the attention this got. He used it as an opportunity to raise awareness about those refugees who had lost their lives at sea.
"Dear mom, I am sorry that the boat has drowned and I wasn't able to make it to Europe. I am sorry that I won't be able to send you back the money you had to borrow for my boat trip. Don't be sad if they never find my corpse in this wild sea; it won't bring me back to you, it will only bring you more debt and more funeral, burial, and transportation expenses.
I am sorry that the war has happened, and I'm sorry that I had to leave just like all the other kids who had dreams. Although my dreams weren't too big; I only dreamt of affording a bottle of medicine for your illness, and some money to fix your teeth.
By the way, the colour of my teeth right now is green because of all the algae stuck on it. I still believe they're better looking than the teeth of our dictator though...
I am sorry that I built you an imaginary house in my dreams; a cozy wooden hut like the one in movies. A hut that is very far from barrel bombs, airplanes, and all the sectarianism we were surrounded with.
Dear brother, I am sorry that I wasn't able to send you the $50 I promised I will send every month to buy yourself something nice before you graduate.
Dear sister, I am sorry that I wasn't able to send you a nice smartphone with all the wi-fi and the technology that your friends at school are buying.
Dear home, I am sorry that I will never ever hang my jacket behind your door again.
Dear divers and rescue teams, I am sorry for all the trouble you have to go through to find our bodies, as I don't know the name of the sea I'm drowning in.
Dear United Nations and government agencies, please stay comfortable and please rest assured that I will never be a burden on you anymore.
Thanks to the sea who welcomed us without a visa... Thanks to the fish who will eat on my body without asking me for my religion, or political status...
Thanks to all the TV channels and news outlets who will share our news for a few minutes everyday to make some money off our story while it's still hot and interesting.
Thank you all for feeling sorry for us...
I am sorry that I drowned..."
According to World Vision reports, this March 15 marked the sixth year anniversary of the Syrian refugee crisis which had broken out in 2011. Since then, 5 million Syrians have fled to other countries as refugees and more than 6 million displaced within the country.
Death by drowning is the fate of many of the refugees who are on the lookout for a better life. As recent as January, this year there were reports of more than 100 refugees having died after a boat sank into the Mediterranean Sea. The boat went down in waters between Libya and Italy, a crossing which seen a huge number of deaths since the crisis began.
Reports put this number at over 5,000 lives being lost in treacherous boat journeys to Europe in 2016, the deadliest year on record, with people drowning or being crushed or suffocated in overcrowded smugglers' boats. Three-year old Syrian kid Aylan Kurdi came to be washed up dead on a beach in Turkey and that heartrending image alerting the rest of the world to the refugee crisis.
Recently on June 2, a 6-minute animated film “Sorry I Drowned”, was created by the Beirut-based Studio Kawakeb and Doctors Without Borders (MSF). It was inspired by a letter allegedly found on the body of someone who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea due to the prevailing cynical politics of our day.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:55 PM