Belgrade…Or the threshold of dream!
By Hazem Darwish
My heart is weak to take all that compulsiveness. I lay still on the train floor, between the seats. I have to kill time by sleeping. I have to sleep in order to wake up from this nightmare. The refugees, popeyed, followed me as I try to sleep.
Why are we scared to that extent? How do killers and terrorists who ruined our country live fearlessly while we, here, are frightened? Does the sin of running away deserve all that fear, or is it the guilt for those we left behind?
I count gazes… glares I now know by heart. I remind myself to sleep, and never wake up.
I wake up an hour later by the buzz created by my fellow travelers, who tirelessly try to open the driver’s door before the train reaches the Hungarian border. The act was repeated all night but in vain. The driver did not budge to the ruckus created by the refugees until we stop at a station, and he steps out.
A few complaints to the Serbian police, while others start throwing themselves out from the window, one after another. Around 10 of them start screaming: ‘We don’t want to go to Hungary, we don’t! Send us back to Belgrade’. The police hit them hard and sent them back to the train crying.
Yes, I saw them crying.
One of the men who pushed himself out the window did not cry. Why?
A father to one, was questioned by his son: ‘How do you throw yourself from the window? Didn’t you think of me? You are not alone on this trip, you must understand that’.
Being a silent observer of all the agony, made me dizzy. I let out a muffled scream: ‘Oh God! This is too much to bear! Oh God, this is too much, far too much.’ I collapse into a seat, crying. The pitch of the refugees keeps increasing, asking to get off. The policemen come on board and start hitting them right, left and center. Soon after, the police got off, and let the train continue ignoring all our pleading.
That instance left the dream shattered. We will spend the rest of our lives according to their will, despite all the sufferings, and getting ripped off by the smugglers.
Little before the Hungarian border, the train stops and opens its doors for us to get off. We step down, not because we know our direction, or what awaits us but to free ourselves from a train that became a prison. In which novel or film does that happen? In which nightmare, to which nation?
In front of the train carts, a few bald headed Serbian men walk towards us with their cars, making us an offer to assist us to return to Belgrade without informing the police, but for a huge sum of money. We agree immediately. We take a plunge into their cars headed to Belgrade, with its wheels making careless turns, not caring about our pain, neither of those who were transported before us. On reaching Belgrade, the refugees now sleep in the city’s parks, awaiting to continue their miserable journey towards their dreams.
*Translated: Amir Darwish
*Editing :Mariam Khan