“I could talk about my last few years of life. How many minutes do I have? Ten, twenty, one hour? After the revolution, I have lived in many countries for a long time, and being a fifty-two-year man I am a dinosaur!” The voice of Fadi, a Syrian Druze from Sweida, – a Syrian town bordering Jordan territories, seems relaxed and happy, now that he and his family reached Italy six days ago. He is in Venice, “a beautiful place, “he said. Fadi landed on April 28 at the airport of Fiumicino with the flight of the humanitarian corridors project, that has been promoted by FCEI and the Community of Sant’Egidio.
Along with Fadi and his family, the ecumenical staff of the promoters welcomed two new groups of refugees (mostly Syrian) that arrived safely with an Alitalia scheduled flight. They are 125 people and 48 of them are minors. Among them, 51 will be assisted by the FCEI, the Waldensian Diaconia and their collaborators: 13 families will find their home in Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Tuscany, Calabria and Puglia. “Fadi and his family are the first Syrian citizens to be welcomed in Veneto” said Giorgia Corò, Responsible at the Waldensian Diaconia, for the reception of the beneficiaries of humanitarian corridors in Veneto. This reception and integration project will be carried out by the Waldensian Diaconia together with a group of volunteers of the association In-formazione.
“Over the last few years, I have spent my life between Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. In Syria I left my family, my wife and my son. In Syria I was an English teacher, but in 2013 I was fired because I took to the streets with my students to ask for reforms, justice and dignity at the beginning of the revolution in 2011. I was an activist who believed in the ideals of a clean and peaceful revolution. I was detained twice. I cannot say I was tortured, like many of my fellow countrymen, but I was heavily abused and treated with violence. I believed in the revolution, I never thought of abandoning Syria, even during the years lived abroad, I wanted to go back home. Then, when I came back again to Lebanon crossing Jordan, I met the staff of the Mediterranean Hope project that after several interviews, told me incredible news, that I could reach Italy through humanitarian corridors. I hardly accepted this news, it seemed to me an impossible dream. And then Italy, a country that has always fascinated me. I have studied Italian history, I have always been interested in Italian culture, I loved reading Dante Alighieri.”
Now, Fadi has realised his dream of a better life and finally, after so many years, he could travel by plane again. He has always travelled for work, and just on a plane he met his wife. “The first emotions of these days have been many and intense: first of all, I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the people who have welcomed me and who have been particularly interested in listening to my story. In Italy, I realised that since a long time I was no longer used to kindness and smiles. In Syria, there is no longer life. Can you remember the Titanic movie? When the ship was about to sink, you could see how the people were only concerned about their own life and the one of their loved ones, in their huge effort to survive. That’s what Syria is now: it’s a hell. When I was in Lebanon, an UN officer, an Italian speaking a perfect Arab, asked me if I thought there was still hope of peace for Syria. I remained silent for some long seconds. I did not know what to say. Then, the answer came spontaneously: No, it is too late now. Perhaps one day Syria will return to a quite regular life but it is impossible to think about peace in that land pretending to forget the past. The damage has been huge, too many perished. The country is destroyed. In this moment talking about a future peace it seems to me a utopia.
To the question “What do you expect from your life in Italy?” Fadi’s voice revealed emotion: “People who have saved my life and that of my family are Italian. I can never express my gratitude to this country. I know here I can have a settled life and my son can study, for this reason, since my arrival, I have pledged allegiance to Italy and its people. I am far away from my land, but I feel at home. I will do my best to give all my human contribution to the people who live in this country.