In 2011, following a series of uprisings later referred to as The Arab Springs, protests and street clashes broke out through Syria. This was the start of a civil war that has continued to this day, displacing over 8 million people internally and forced another 5 million to flee to either neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Turkey, or make the treacherous journey to Europe. In Syria, millennials were born and raised in peace. The majority of them had access to some of the best education across the region, and endless opportunities to map their own futures. The result of the outbreak, has seen this reality completely disappear, with a bleak and shadowed future. A selection of these youth were ‘lucky’ enough to reach Germany in search of safety and normalcy. According to statistics, approximately 500,000 syrians reached Germany by the first quarter of 2017.
These youth, who were taught at early ages that they had a prosperous future, with education and opportunities, were thrown into an abyss, where each day was taken one at a time. They were forced to re-start life in a country which was both welcoming and concerned with their presence, ever suspicious of their ‘true intentions.’ Even more challenging for these youth, is the reality that they had little choice where they could call home. Some were sent to rural villages across the country, with no knowledge of german or what was socially or culturally expected of them. Some however, were lucky enough to be sent to larger cities like Berlin. At least in these cities, the presence of ‘migrant communities’ was already present and generally accepted - such as the large turkish array of turkish communities.
Another life illustrates a generation of youth, loyal to their country, but forced to flee to secure their lives and futures. The project highlights the daily struggle syrian youth in Germany have, defining themselves and their purpose in a foreign land and a country which is undecided in the level of support and understanding being given to new arrivals with the current rise of right wing nationalist ideology. It became clear throughout this project that many of the youth who have arrived in Germany, are eager to return home to their families and motherland, and would do so as soon as the war finished. Keeping in mind the current length of this war, and little endline in sight, to what extent can we really expect and ask these youth to return to a land which has been both physically and mentally ravaged by war, and expect them to start over? (2015-16)