Rojin Namer 

Kamishli, Syria


How shall I describe Damascus?
How shall I describe paradise to those who do not know it?
Syria’s heart.
My soul.
Others’ hope.
That is Damascus.

Where there are wars.
Where bombs fall every day.
Where people are afraid.
That is Damascus.

What I dream of every day.
Where my roots are.
That is Damascus.

Where I ask the guilty one who is guilty.
Where no medicine stems the blood.
That is Damascus.

Where tourists went everywhere.
Where the streets are destroyed.
Where blood now flows.
My Damascus.

I miss your streets.
I miss your lights.
I miss your music,
which we hear every morning.
I miss your nights,
which are warm and full of life.
That is Damascus.

A city full of love.
A city full of blood.
turned into a battle.

Where people shed tears of disappointment.
Of fear.
Not of joy.
That is Damascus.

My Damascus.
I want you back.
Back to me.



The Poetry Project, Foto © Rottkay

Rojin Namer (*2002)

fled alone from Damascus three years ago. She originally comes from Kamishli, a Kurdish town. She came as an unaccompanied minor to Berlin, where she attended the Friedrich Ebert High School. Her parents, brothers and sisters are living in Iraq as refugees. Rojin is a successful participant in debating contests, loves photography and wants to study philosophy. Foto © Rottkay

Like An Arrow

Mahdi Hashemi

Ghazni, Afghanistan, aufgewachsen in Iran

It took a month: the trip
That wasn’t a trip at all,
But rather a horror
Towards the land of hope.

Now I am waiting for a paper
That may contain bitterness and grief.
And I feel like an arrow.
Which should return
To its bow.

Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
The Poetry Project | Foto © Rottkay

Mahdi Hashemi (*2000)

When he was an infant, his family fled from Afghanistan to Iran. There, he grew up as a refugee, close to the capital Tehran. Mahdi Hashemi writes about why Afghan refugees in Iran even apologise for breathing the air there. Photo © Rottkay


Yasser Niksada

Panshir, Afghanistan, raised in Iran

Be next to me and see
What has happened to me.
It is over, the trace still in my heart.
No room for me to sleep on this bus.
Withered feet, the dream sunk into the eye.
The police said stop.
Go back, go back.
All then in the train car, just me alone on the tracks.
The rubber boat sank and my heart, hot for Europe, turned cold.
The world slept, only we were awake,
Hungry, thirsty, tired.
We left; it will be more difficult to return.
All this tearing oneself up for a little bit of rest.
Not my rest.
The rest of my family.


Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
Foto © Rottkay

Yasser Niksada (*2002)

Yasser Niksada comes from the Panshir valley in Afghanistan. Ten years ago, the Niksadas fled to Teheran, where the family live as refugees. But that's no life, says Yasser. That's why the family sent him on a journey to Europe. In Germany, Yasser misses his family. Photo © Rottkay

Beginning of life

Mohamad Mashghdost

Bandar Anzali, Iran

The beginning of life was
That I did not exist.

There was a mother.
She was my God.

It was an unrequited love.
There was a father.
He was never there.

The body came to rest
But not the mind.
I was without solace.

The sister wanted to be a mother to me.
But she was tired.
I loved the mother.
She died.

I wanted to leave
And I stayed.
I wanted to stay
And I left.

Leaving was not important
And neither was staying.
I was important,
I, who did not exist.

Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
The Poetry Project, Foto © Rottkay

Mohamad Mashghdost (*1997)

The son of a taxi driver from Bandar-e Ansali, Iran, set off for Europe in autumn. At home, he was afraid of being drafted into the war in Syria. In Berlin, Mohamad Mashghdost wrote some outstanding poems about the lack of meaning and his native Iran. Today he lives in Husum. Photo © Rottkay

Guilty feelings

Rojin Namer 

Kamishli, Syria


Daddy, Mummy,

do you really think I would not help if I could?
Do you really think that I am happy now because I can still be outside after 6 pm without being afraid?
Do you really think that I get 300 euros pocket money, as my cousins claim?
Do you really think that I forgot you because I lead a better life here?
How much money have you spent on me? 5,000 Euros?
That you sold our house to get passports?
Do you think it is my fault that you still haven’t been able to move here?
Do you really think that I do not want you here?

Shall I tell you something!
I get 50 Euros for pocket money. Not 300.

I feel at fault when I hear that you are not doing well.
I feel guilty when I know that I can not help you.
But the important question for me is:
Do you really think I would not help you if I could?



The Poetry Project, Foto © Rottkay

Rojin Namer (*2002)

whose family fled to Iraq before the war and who was sent to Germany three years ago, in the hope that her parents and five siblings could join her as soon as possible. Foto © Rottkay

Without You

Shahzamir Hataki

Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan

Living my life here without you
Is difficult, father.
I am thirsty for your tears.
And to cry here among these people is difficult, father.
When you stride there and walk over thorns, father,
I feel the pain of your feet.
I wish to throw myself into your arms.
To kiss you from this distance is difficult, father.
I would tear my lips off to do it,
But to mourn without lips is difficult, father.

You are the most beautiful flower in a field of flowers.
You are the color of the sun, which bows at night.
You shine like the stars, my father,
And you are light as the moon.


Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
Foto © Rottkay

Shahzamir Hataki (*2000)

Shahzamir Hataki from Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, is his parents’ only son. They wanted to secure his survival and his future and therefore sent him away. On the passage to Greece, the boat sank and Shahzamir barely escaped death. Photo © Rottkay