I am Lilas Hatahet. Like many other refugees, I fled the war in Syria. I believe in the revolution, but I also want safety and security for my two lovely sons. I worked as a journalist, art critic and communications manager for the Opera House in Damascus. When the revolution started, I began to write about politics. Because of that, I had to flee to Egypt, where I got a two-year contract with Egyptian Television as a reporter and presenter. In October 2014, the Syrian embassy in Cairo refused to renew my passport, which made my residency in the country illegal… so I turned into a searcher for legality. I came to EU and I am now working at the International Media Support. I have two sons, and their smiles are my eternal sunshine. They are safe and happy. We made our house together, it’s full of colors and mixed culture from all the countries we love; Syria, Denmark, Palestine, Egypt, Germany, Morocco and Spain.
COVER PHOTO BY CAROL ALFARAH
When you decide to flee, it is not just a decision you make on your own behalf - but also your children's. Human smugglers look at you as if you're a sack of money. You are told that you cannot travel with your kids, that travelling separately will enhance your possibilities. Many people are so desperate that they are willing to take that chance. It feels like you are drowning, and you will do anything to be saved. But I could not travel without my children.
My heart is bigger when they are happy, safe and secure. They taught me how to enjoy life with them, play and love nature even though I was a city girl. They show me how to face difficulties and not to drown in the darkness. They call me "cool mor", or "party mor", because I can’t hear music without dancing. They are all the family I have now.
When my psychologist asked me to describe my depression I brought this photo of a woman crumbling, but still with joy in her eyes. I look at her face every day and melt into it, seeing myself as if it is my own photo.
I believe that friends are one's true home, and I am so lucky to have a wonderful friend, Eva. We have memories, emotions, gossip and stories to tell each other. She makes me feel safe.
In the past, I thought I was like Bamboo. Even if I got cut and planted elsewhere, I would be able to survive and plant new roots. Now, I discovered that I am like a tree thousands of years old.
My corner which is for writing only, not for work or studying. Old soulful wood I bought from a secondhand store. There is the picture of the woman crumbling, my lovely sign “the sun”, and my flower. I have had this flower since I came to Denmark. Every year, it becomes dry and then comes back to life, loaded with more flowers. Her roots are in and out, like mine.
I want to enter my 40s with some muscles and a lot of strength. My work at IMS (International Media Support) as a media adviser for the Syrian programme, gave me the possibility of being here and there, between Syria and Denmark.
Every day, I try to create familiarity with this place. The roads are still unknown to me, despite the fact that I got rid of my phobia of getting lost or taking the wrong train.
about the project
INSIGHT is a series of photo essays taken and written by refugees living in Denmark. With financial support from the Danish fund; Hjælpefonden Journalistgården, Refugee.Today has been able to give 10 refugees the opportunity to show us their lives in Denmark.
The participants in INSIGHT live in various parts of Denmark, from Hjørring to Bornholm, and are of different nationalities and backgrounds. They are all reefugees with a residence permit in Denmark, but first of all they are individuals. In the course of 7 days these people have documented their everyday lives through photography and words.
By letting refugees be in charge of the camera, Refugee.Today offers an insight into a world that is not always accessible to the public. Refugees and integration are heavily disputed topics in Danish society, but rarely are the voices and viewpoints of the refugees themselves visible in the debate.
Through these photo essays the viewer is offered a gaze into everyday life as a newcomer in Denmark. How does the Danish society look through their eyes? How is everyday life as a refugee in a new country taking place? How is the past and present balanced for people who have had to flee their homes?