“It was either we stay in the country and die or escape our lives.”
Firas Zakri, Syrian Refugee
BERLIN, Germany (Big 2/FOX 24) – A Syrian refugee shares his emotional story of risking it all to escape violence. In fact, Firas Zakri never wanted to leave his country.
“It was either we stay in the country and die or escape our lives. We don’t have much of a choice,” says Zakri. “I survived in the country for four years during the war, during the siege, during the bomb, during the missiles, everything.”
His dangerous journey to Germany took two grueling months. Along the way, his boat sank. So on that stormy, cold, dark night he swam in the sea for three and a half hours. He says thoughts of his wife and child were what kept him going. Two of the escapees with him died in those waters.
“It was always a 50/50 chance of surviving,” says Zakri.
His story is similar to what we’re hearing here in America, Many Central American refugees fleeing for their lives and just like in the United States, there’s major controversy surrounding immigration policies.
Beatrix Von Storch is part of a German party that wants to tighten control over immigration. Among their arguments: refugees committing crimes and her party also stresses Germany can’t help everyone.
“We have to separate between migrants and refugees. We want to help people in need but if we take in people as migrants, we want to have clear rules on that,” says Von Storch.
To give you a perspective on the situation, since 2015 more than 1.5 million people have arrived in Germany seeking asylum.
The country itself is about half the size of Texas.
“I remember I was bringing my wife from the bank. We’re getting home with my son in our car. Then, I was waiting at the traffic light. it turned green, we took off,” says Zakri. “Thirty seconds later, a bomb landed in the same spot killing 8 people at once. That moment I realized that every single second I’m staying in this country, I’m risking the life of my family.”