Haddad, a 25-year-old man, says his friends called him crazy when he told them he was going back to Syria, but when he arrived, he told them the crazy is the one who seeks refuge in Europe.
He says he couldn’t stay longer than five months in Austria, the country where he applied for asylum.
SOUNDBITE(ARABIC): SPEIRO HADDAD, Syrian Businessman
“My bad luck had me end up in a camp with refugees from Afghanistan, Yemen, Iran and Syria, and most of them looked at me in a strange way because of my tattoos and because I drink alcohol, something I wasn’t comfortable with. Before leaving Syria, I had a dream of living in Europe to fix my situation and because Europe has always been a dream, but when I got there, things weren’t as perfect as I had imagined. Small sum of money on monthly bases and the fact of being a refugee mean I am a second class human being, and I could remain so for a long time.”
He says that many of the Syrian refugees in Europe would want to return, if they had the chance, due to the relatively ill treatment they receive in the refugee camps there, not to mention the prolonged procedures for resettlement due to the large number of asylum seekers.
On the other side, people from inside Syria have started refraining from seeking refuge in Europe, after “hearing stories about the poor quality of life for refugees.”