Belgrade…Or the threshold of dream!
By Hazem Darwish
When you find yourself in the middle of an asylum trip, you become part of the journey, and its endless suffering. You only think of completing the crossing safe and sound, and for the next stage, carelessly ignoring the biggest goal ahead — the final arrival. In that very moment, Belgrade is born like a dream; one you have to reach in order to calm your fears.
What do you fear? You ask yourself. You feel shameful, as you cry like an infant, while staring into your tired friend’s face, aboard the famous Macedonian-Serbian train.
What do you fear? You repeat the question, to your soul this time… and fear seems to crack open from its trap, soon melting, and leaving your self since the time you departed in the same rail some 10 hours ago.
Didn’t you cross the Mediterranean sea, and survived? The soul knocks. Didn’t you cross the Greek/ Macedonian borders and survived? You are reminded.
As the train moves forward in speed, the view of the vast Serbian fields leave their marks on your memory. But you are on a constant move too, from one window to another like a lunatic, wishing to spot passers-by; everyday people drinking coffee, playing with their children, running to their jobs. People who take life for granted, knowing nothing about the country you left behind
You hear your friends around you talk: ‘we were cheated, when we booked train tickets from south of Serbia to Belgrade, where we were supposed to meet a smuggler who would have taken us to Austria. We were cheated! The ticketing officer cheated us, and booked us tickets to the Hungarian border instead, so we entered and gave the damn finger prints which all refugees are scared of. We boarded this train that does not stop on the way and goes direct; but we don’t know when we will arrive to our final destination’.
I keep myself occupied, so I don’t hear their conversation. I try to visualise the whole travail to be a dream; a nightmare maybe, out of which I will wake up, and be safe.
I cannot take the resounding mental pressure around me anymore. I run away from the shudder that develops in my body. But I keep contemplating the same question: What have I done to deserve this? Instead of an answer, silence prevails, which leaves me haunted, but I don’t think I did anything wrong.
*Translated: Amir Darwish
*Editing :Mariam Khan