Individual inner images

What can a refugee see in those photos?

There is an important thing we need to add to our set of common knowledge, we are different in the way we observe things, places, people and even time, each and every one of us has his own perspective and his own balance, you cannot take the same emotions you have in a situation and assume it’s the same for everyone else.

In a beautiful green park where you find a stream of water, singing birds and everything that you could consider peaceful and beautiful could very well make someone feel the exact opposite.

It could remind someone of how he lost his spirit which he used to feel its presence in a similar scene before, the beautiful view you see only brings him the reminder of how broken he feels, broken enough that he can’t feel that peaceful feeling in a peaceful scenery.

When the refugee comes to these, self-called, civilized societies he doesn’t feel his individuality, which is the most important thing in a human’s humanity, to feel a sense of self, instead he gets asked to express his pain or his loss, and some ask him with empathy in their question, but he knows in his heart people are treating him under a certain label.

He is a refugee, he is different, and some people make sure he remembers that. he feels like an animal in a new shiny cage, or in a new lab to be under the microscope to have studies done about him, that’s why you see the reports from organizations or the government, involve a set of questions they asked to get the expected answers.

The refugee doesn’t realise that these questions are asked to hundreds of other people like him, they are designed to get the same expected but sacred answers, answers which whoever put the questions was waiting to hear “correct answers” to be said. Which makes it an illusion, a lie to these deeper human emotions, it makes it feel fake and detached from the individual reality.

It’s like that flower growing from between the wreckage of destroyed buildings, with a neat caption under it talking about hope and how good things have a way of resisting.

I can’t help but think if that flower had the ability to talk would it shout and say “stop taking from my hard life and experience what you want to take, I haven’t grown in a hard situation to give you hope. I grew because I want to live, stop using my life to justify your ugly reality”.

That flower shouldn’t have felt the need to grow from the rocks, but our ugly reality forced it to. Hope, of course, is always there, “hope is a good thing and no good thing ever dies”, but don’t make that hope grow in lying and hypocrisy.

What can a refugee see in those photos? The answer requires the question to be changed, for a start we need to add the word “human” to that question, and then you will find a thousand possible answers that could go with every perspective and every individual creativity of the human mind.

To me personally, these photos you see in front of you don’t bring me a lot of emotions, not rejection nor acceptance. As a person who lived and survived the hell of war in his country.

As a person who saw the dream of Europe and its glowing image, which you could only see through the tv or through colourful photographs, with its wild passions and its gorgeous women, all that to me is an alternative reality, a world to escape from my broken reality, to travel through this world without touching it.

You grew up in this world and you see its beauty as a normal thing, to me it is a mirage, an image in the sand for a traveler in the desert, you live in this beauty and you are able to touch it, as for me, I can see it, but i can’t touch it.

Maybe why I can’t is because of the dreams rule in my mind, dare to dream but don’t dare to touch it. Maybe this comes from a deep fear of the mirage to disappear, like the heaven i used to live in and it turned to hell in a blink of an eye, and I will be left lost again in the desert.

“A new light is always as frightening as darkness”.

The poet, the author, the photographer or the painter simply try to express their point of view and the meaning they see in other things, their hope, their pain or their story in an artistic way so the society can take and accept that idea, but if a person doesn’t find creative ways to express how he thinks, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a unique understanding, an inner image, behind every action and every photo.

Me personally, I see this tree with eyes, replacing the ears in the walls to hear our whispers and catch our mistakes, i see that flower growing behind a metal fence and wonder how can it be this beautiful and live in a cage, doesn’t it wish to be a poisonous mushroom free from people’s touch instead of being behind a fence?

from that discarded horse chaotically thrown away, to my photo near the BBQ evening which taught me the importance of passing moments, and how melancholy I will be when I remember people I used to live with, and how I will remember every joke and every comment from these friends.

I see and give things meanings to things you don’t see, so my space to express myself is wider, my individual inner photo lays on the other side of my beautiful camera, like our dreams. Maybe this is the only living truth in one’s reality, we are all individual humans and our inside world holds thousands and thousands of photos.

photos taken by: Wissam Jaber
article written by:
Shams aldin Abdulazim
translated by: Wissam Jaber