Today I helped with another trip to the Museum with another group of residents from the refugee center.
This trip I had time to talk with a refugee from Syria named Abdu about the war, his story, and what he thinks about the crisis.
Abdu originally lived in Damascus, the capital of Syria where he attended college. He said Damascus and the cities near it were well kept and were great places to live before the war. During the Arab Spring of 2011 Abdu watched as people from the less prosperous cities protested the government and were met with violence. Abdu's college education was cut short when the conflict grew into a full-fledged civil war. Everyone who was fit to fight in the war was being drafted, so Abdu left Syria to find refuge in a nearby country. Unfortunately many of the nearby countries weren't (and still aren't) friendly towards Syrians. At that time, Sweden had open borders. If you could make it to Sweden and qualified for refugee status, you could get in, even if you didn't have a passport. After getting to Sweden, Abdu found Adnan and was able to start working for the refugee center's support group. Since Abdu's arrival, Sweden has changed its immigration policy to only provide temporary refugee status. This means that anyone new who immigrates is forced to leave as soon as their home country becomes habitable.
Abdu speaks very good English and he is learning Swedish. He has yet to continue his college education due to more important problems. Most refugees cannot speak English well and I am glad that I was able to talk to Abdu and hear his story.