John saved our lives, but he won’t let us thank him

By Amir Darwish

In Cookham where two Syrian refugees drowned recently, there has been a story which might have ended up with similar scenario a few days before.

Ramy on his last trip to Cookham never thought that he would be faced with the situation which he encountered there. As the Arabs say, Ramy never thought he would be born again.

Ramy came from Syrian as a refugee and lived in London since 2012. He took his family to Cookham in the Themes to enjoy a sunny summer day on the 18th of June.

As the family sat enjoying the view, his brother in law, Mohammed decided to go for a swim.  But Ramy warned him not to do it.

“Mohammed ignored my warning,” rami said. As Mohammed went, Ramy decided to go along with him for guarding. Both swimmers but not professionally as Ramy told me. Mohammed went to the deep end. Suddenly Ramy found him struggling.  “ I went to rescue him, and all of a sudden, I found myself struggling with him too”. At that point  I thanked god my kids are here in London not in war zone Syria, at least they are safe Ramy said to me with a pure look on his face.

My 11 years old daughter Aya saw us drowning and struggling. She shouted for help as a group of men in kyaks paddled in the river. One of them stopped and offered Mohammed his hand while Ramy was still struggling. After he secured Mohammed and asked him to hold into the Kyak, the man pushed another Kyak towards me” said Ramy. He shouted mate hold into this. I did grab it as if it is the grab for my life, and never I remember to hold into something more strongly than that time. Soon enough, I found myself on shore, and the first thing I wanted to do is to thank the man. I asked him for his name. He said, John. I tried tirelessly to take his picture and thank him publicly, but he refused.

John did not want to include his picture, Ramy said. ” I think I can learn from him how we help for humanity and not to wait for something back”. He added.

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