My Last Summer in Afghanistan

Kahel Kaschmiri

Ghazni, Afghanistan

 

…was hot; the rays of the sun burned so much
that I could barely work.
But is it possible not to work?
Not working means to go hungry and live on the street.
Where would my family and I have found shelter?
I sprinkled water on my face, put on a thin white shirt, and went to the bazaar to attend to the customers at the shop.

In Berlin, on the other hand, I didn’t even notice the summer. It was almost always cold. Only a few days were hot. And on those days, everyone walked in the streets naked. Or lay in the parks. Or went swimming. And I was astonished - how could it be that they nakedly walked in the streets or lay in the park and still found something to eat in the evening?

But the summer in Afghanistan was not just hot.
It hurt. There was the suffering of my mother. The poverty and desperation of my father. The hopelessness of my sister, forced to shield herself from greedy stares by covering herself from head to toe. In the end, she was married off, although she is younger than me. And now she already has a son. I ask myself, is that her son - or is it her doll?

During my last summer in Afghanistan, an armed motorcyclist shot a policeman on my way to work. He fled. The policeman had just been married. It was the beginning of his life. All he wanted was to do his job and earn money.
He died within a second.
By the time the police came, he had already parted from this world.

Do you want me to tell you more about my last summer in Afghanistan?

I loved riding my motorcycle, roaming around and speeding up.The air was blowing in my face and the sun was shining and I opened the throttle. I was only thinking of Ghazni’s beautiful nature as I accelerated.
Suddenly, a car overtook me. It was driving slowly. The driver gave me a sign. Stop!
I was afraid. I stepped on the gas and fled. I called my cousin: I shouted: “Open the gate, there are people following me. They want to kidnap me.”
It was the ones who are after pretty boys.
At incredible speed, I flew in his direction, towards his house. He opened the gate and I burst in. I took a deep breath and thanked God.

Do you want me to tell you more about my last summer in Afghanistan?

After a year away from home, I was relieved to finally have a place to stay, a room just for me. Four walls to myself, and a key for a door, which I could dispose of as I wished.
I sighed, opened the door, and fell asleep from exhaustion.
My eyes were not quite closed yet when a door opened and I felt the heavy presence of someone. I kept my eyes closed, the blanket over my face.
Suddenly I felt the heaviness of his body on my body, and I broke out in a sweat. I began to shiver.
I opened my mouth, but no sound came out.
I heard the being say: What are you doing here and why did you come here?
I began to scream so loudly that I woke up from the sound.

He was gone and I asked myself, who might it have been?

 

Brief portrait Kahel Kaschmiri

Michael Krasnov answered to this Text with »My last Summer in Berlin«.

Like An Arrow

Mahdi Hashemi

Ghazni, Afghanistan, raised 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.
Released.
Which should return
To its bow.

Brief portrait Mahdi Hashemi

 

Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth

Love

Samiullah Rasouli

Ghazni, Afghanistan

 

If you love me for my beauty,
Then love me not.
Love instead the sun and its rays.

If you love me for my youth,
Then love me not.
Fall in love instead with the spring,
For it comes again each year.

If you love me for my money,
Then love me not.
Love instead the Pari.*

If you love me because I am the right boy,
Then you should love me.
Love me as long,
As long as I can return your love.

 

Brief porträt Samiullah Rasouli

*mythological fish that carries rubies and emeralds in its mouth

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.

 

Brief portrait Mohamad Mashghdost

Here and There

Salah Ali Ngab

Tripoli, Libya

 

Between here and there
There is no difference
Believe me, humans are humans

In my country
The nationalists fill the streets with hate speech
And here – sixty, seventy or eighty years ago –
The nationalists filled the streets with hate speech
There, everyone hates the Jews
And the neighbours
And dark-skinned people
And the prematurely born
Here too – sixty, seventy or eighty years ago –
Everyone hated the Jews
And the neighbours
And dark-skinned people
And the prematurely born

There, neighbours destroy whole cities
Thousands die and everyone fights everyone else
On the holy ruins and at the doors of hospitals
To rule the world
Or what remains of it
They are the best nation on earth, thanks to the chance of where they were born
And a little bit because of oil and because of an inheritance,
Half of which is holy, and the other half of which is built from daydreams
Here too – sixty, seventy or eighty years ago –
Neighbours destroyed whole cities
Thousands died and everyone fought everyone else
On the holy ruins and at the doors of hospitals
To rule the world
Or what remained of it
They are the best nation on earth, thanks to the chance of where they were born
And a little bit because of oil and because of an inheritance,
Half of which is holy, and the other half of which is built out of daydreams

There, children dream of victory for the national football team
And girls dream of the day when they may fly
Without surveillance by the beard of their younger brother
Or of a religious leader, surrounded by fatwas of prohibitions and bans
But here, children celebrate the victory of the national team
And the girls fly between continents
In search of a different life
Without surveillance by the beard of their younger brother
Or of a religious leader, surrounded by fatwas of prohibitions and bans

And that is the difference between here and there
Believe me, my friend
Only sixty, seventy or eighty years

 

Salah Ali Ngab (37)

comes from Tripoli in Libya. A publicist, researcher and human-rights activist, he has devoted himself to criticism of fundamentalist extremism and religious hate speech. He founded, among other publications, the arts magazine Armat, which means “justice” – but this, according to Salah, has never existed in Libya. It did not exist under Muammar al-Gaddafi and does not exist at all today. In consequence of his studies on fundamentalist religious thought and his membership of the Libyan Liberal Democracy Forum he was threatened by the Ansar al-Sharia group. The Democracy Forum had to close as a result of threats to murder its members. Salah’s readings to enlighten audiences about Islamic scriptures led to his persecution during Gaddafi’s regime. He was prosecuted for libel, blasphemy, heresy and atheism. He was listed as a “dangerous political activist” by various Arab government organisations and was arrested at airports several times.
Finally, in October 2014, armed militiamen of the Muslim Brotherhood abducted him on the street. He was beaten and threatened with death. Salah owes his life to influential friends who worked for his release. For him and his acquaintances, he says, there is no longer room in Libya; he is surrounded by enemies. In 2015 Salah succeeded in fleeing to Tunisia and then to Germany through an invitation to the Open Eye Award of the German foundation MiCt (Media in Cooperation and Transition) thanks to his work as a journalist. In the same year he applied for political asylum in Germany.
Today Salah lives in Düsseldorf with his wife and two daughters.

The Germans

Amira Gudegast

Berlin, Germany

The Germans are punctual, orderly and reliable.
They work for society.
They work a lot and with pleasure.
That gives them strength.
They are open and direct.
Germans accept a lot,
but they also demand
what they think they have earned.
Their money, their liberty, their tradition.

For my mother, being German meant
being able to separate yourself from the family,
weighing out the food for guests
and going to work on time
the day after your mother’s death.

But I
see the Germans differently.
Germans do much for the common good,
even if their own families first have to wait.
The Germans are not frugal.
They just don’t want to waste anything.
And Germans don’t love less.
They simply grieve differently.
They are not only the ones
who were born here,
but everyone
who is pleased to be here.

 

Amira Gudegast (17),

the daughter of an Arab family, grew up in Germany. As her father died young and her mother cannot take care of her adequately, Amira lives in a charity-run home in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. Later she would like to be a nursery teacher.

Women

Samiullah Rasouli

Ghazni, Afghanistan

 

When I say women, I mean real women,
Those with eyebrows, real noses, and shoulders.
Who belong only to themselves from the beginning,
Who are not selfish but proud of their gifts,
Who love themselves in their simplicity,
And want to be only themselves
And not resemble another.
These are the women I mean when I say women.

The light in her gaze is like the scent of Kobeko*
Her tender hand is incomparably precious.
Her wisdom shines forth from beneath her make-up.
She walks with beauty in public.
The watering mouths of the gawkers do not bother her.
The self-confident, strong woman pursues her gifts and talents.

Some women stay at home, they dissolve
And turn to water.
And the ones who go out turn to bread and food.
And when I say women, I mean these women.

*Perfume named “Mountain to Mountain”
Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
Samiullah Rasouli | Foto © Rottkay

Samiullah Rasouli (*1999)

Samiullah Rasouli grew up in Ghazni, Afghanistan. The region is highly contested today. His father died four years ago. Samiullah was on the run for four weeks. Now he has begun training as a trade merchant. His poems are about love and longing for his father. Photo © Rottkay

Headscarf

Sarah Safi

Kapisa, Afghanistan

 

I thought you could fulfil your wishes in Germany
No barriers would be put in your way if you really want something
I thought I could take my future into my own hands here

It is not like that at all
There are many distinctions here
Between Germans and refugees
Between a Turk, an Arab, a Russian and a Rumanian

Every other person in the supermarket can go shopping quite “normally”
But I, in this crowd,
Am the difference for them
All sorts of people are there
But the security staff
Lurk behind my back

Why always me?
Because of my headscarf
Because I am a Muslima
Can’t they put themselves in my place?
How bad it feels when you are treated like this
What taunts I face from their children
When the adults behave like that

You walk along the street normally
And they barge you away with their shoulders
As they walk past you

You are in the subway
All sorts of people are there
When the ticket inspector comes
You are the first person that he checks

How am I supposed to feel then?
Like a free human being?
Like a strong woman?

Sometimes I think I have lost my way
My entire confidence in myself

 

Sarah Safi (17)

has been in Germany since 2017. She fled to Germany alone, coming to Berlin by air from Greece. Her family, too, has been in Germany since summer 2018. She attends the Peter Ustinov School.

Don’t Mention Me

Ali Alzaeem

Idlib, Syria

Don’t write
That I am a refugee
I came to you with a life jacket
Without a suitcase
Don’t mention me on the streets of Anatolia
Or in the Greek houses
Don’t record with my registration
That I am the best letter of your alphabet
Don’t speak to me in the language of princes
Because I am a shepherd, who knows the valleys
And the wolves fear me
Don’t give me a passport
That embarrasses the airport
Or geography lessons
To teach us that oil streams from the ground in our land
Don’t write my name in newspapers
Or on the doors at the events:
What showing-off would that be
Don’t regard my homeland with the eyes of a compassionate journalist
Or in the sympathetic embrace of a woman passing by
Don’t read my poem, read my story
Don’t comment
Move on to your drinks
For I have a long night ahead
Thinking of the olive days

 

Ali Alzaeem (19)

comes from a village in Idlib. He had a pleasant childhood as a shepherd, schoolboy and footballer. In summer 2015 he came to Germany. He likes to act and write poetry. He is extremely interested in politics and economics, which make him both annoyed and addicted. He attends the Elinor Ostrom School.

Homeland

Mohamad Mashghdost

Bandar Anzali, Iran

 

I’ve left my home, my heart.
Now it is like sleep and dream
And burns in the depths of my body.
The weeping mother has sent me forth.

The troubles are over, I said.
I packed and went on my way.
Body and soul I left to the ocean,
God, I still exist, thank you.

May God curse the sea that devours bodies.
Prayer and love for my sister helped me arrive.
But my eyes have seen the colors of despair.

 

Brief portrait Mohamad Mashghdost

No Borders at All

Tristan Ludwig

Mannheim, Germany

 

Hallo, hallo, where do you belong, where, where?
No place inside Germany’s borders
No place inside borders at all
No, beyond them
Beyond what is supposed to be thought
Beyond old houses and suburban buildings and armchairs
The snow may look like ash
But if so, then still new and fresh
Covering everything, but no, what was covered, disappeared
I am at home where you no longer need to be at home
Where the imprint of my body in the snow stays undeformed
Wherever a snowball flies
Or at least in the place where we dare to speak about it
At least where everything has not yet melted and steams poisonously
I like flags for their fabric, and cities for their streets
But most of all I like the snow that covers them
Free, white, unbuilt-on areas
No borders at all

 

Tristan Ludwig (18)

is currently doing a voluntary social year at the Nationaltheater in Mannheim. He likes still water and thinks it is important for the ability to express feelings in art or music. He does not yet know what he would like to do later.

Beautiful Munich

Fanny Haimerl

Munich, Germany

 

How should I describe Munich?
How should I describe its splendour
to those who do not know it.
A place for beautiful people.

Envied by others.
That is Munich.

Where there is wealth.
Where people drive a Porsche.
Where people love themselves.
That is Munich.

A place I never have enough of.
Where I have my roots.
That is Munich.

Where the richest wonder who is the richest.
Where no price stops the greed.
That is Munich.

I miss your streets,
I miss your museums,
I miss your beer gardens,
where we went every summer.
I miss your nights,
which are warm and full of life.
That is Munich.

A city full of beauty.
A city full of light.
Where poverty is suppressed.
Where people close their eyes
to the misery.
Out of egoism.
Not out of fear.
That is Munich.

 

Fanny Haimerl (16)

would like to study literature and art history or documentary film after taking her Abitur school-leaving certificate. She lives in the centre of Munich with her brother and her parents. In her free time she often writes, draws and makes collages. She also likes to watch documentaries and listen to podcasts. But most of all she likes to travel, and when she is at home, she always longs for distant places.
This text relates to Rojin Namer’s Damascus.

Lie

Maya Taherpour Kalantari

Moers, Deutschland

 

“She looks so happy!”
“She´s always so confident!”
“I wish I was her …”

Everything you see of her is a lie.
The only one who knows the truth is she.

Put on a smile and everything will be okay.
Right?

 

Maya Taherpour Kalahari (15)

is living in a house with her mother and three brothers and sisters. For the future she does not have any firm plans yet, but she would like to travel the world. She likes to draw, dance and sing, but not many people know this, as she describes herself as being rather shy. Since her first Poetry Workshop she has also enjoyed writing her own texts.

Imagination

Johin Nüsse

Ueckermünde, Germany

 

Imagination creates mythical creatures
Mythical creatures create friends
Friends create family
Family creates generations
Generations create change
Change creates the world

The world creates war
So is war created in our imagination?

 

Johin Nüsse (17)

lives in Ueckermünde, right by the Stettiner Haff lagoon, and took part in a writing group of the Poetry Projects in Schloss Bröllin in March 2019.

Easy

Hussein Kasha

Aleppo, Syria

 

When I was little,
life was easy.
To get up in the morning
and have a nice day
with the family was simple.

When I grew older,
it was no longer easy.
The first time I saw my father crying,
I realised that life is not easy.

It was not easy
when I said goodbye to my little brother
and he said to me:
»Bring me some sweets
when you come back.«

It was not easy
to say goodbye to my second soul,
my twin sister.

It was not easy
to lose a member of the family,
without being able to do anything,
because you are more than 3000 kilometres away.

It is not easy
that it is easy.

 

Hussein Kasha (*2000)

arrived in Germany in September 2015 – after a month-long journey via Turkey, the Balkans and Austria with his uncle and aunt. He is now attending a specialist high school and would like to take his school-leaving certificate in the subject of Health. He shows his social commitment not only in promoting religious co-existence, but also works for the integration of other refugees in the context of the Sports for Refugees programme.

Sound of the Piano

Ahmad Al Rifai

Daraa, Syria

 

The smoke flees from my lung
like my soul.
The clock no longer ticks,
I have fallen into a dream.
I can see her at last.
The angel has died.
I can no longer distinguish
between illusion and reality.
She is missing from both.
There is no proof that she still exists.
I can see her face in the smoke.
And feel her kisses in my lung.
Rituals.
It hurts so much when she dances.
I wanted to keep her next to my heart,
in my lung.
This was Mephisto’s advice.
She is destroying me, she is trying to kill me.
She has taken shape in me as lung cancer.
This is the last gift.
A date with death.

 

Ahmad Al Rifai (21)

is a school pupil. He loves theatre and singing. He has taken the stage at various cultural venues as both an actor and a singer. He also likes to cook and read.

The Velvet World of Writing

Shahad Albayroudi

Hail, Saudi Arabia

 

I was so full of this feeling, this overpowering impression of not belonging to this velvet world of writing.
Until the moment when I saw myself and the others in my spirit.
I would never have thought I could find the words, phrase, create and then write them down so that they compensate for what I see and feel.

But then something happened, and the only way to process it,
to understand it, was to recognise it and let it out through writing.

It is terrible to be forced to wear a new mask every day.
It is terrible to have to see before you what you dream of every day,
but your hands fail to reach it.
It is terrible that you cannot do
what you dream of, but every other person can.
It is terrible that you have to wear this smile every second of the day,
so that no one sees the weakness and the pain
that have taken hold in your heart.
It is terrible to be forced to do
what they want you to do, until the moment when you forget
who you are, what your dreams are, all that you could achieve.

You are forced to do all of these things, but every day,
every minute, every second you feel the faults within you.
Then you achieve nothing at all, although everything would be so easy.
Your brain circles constantly around the same thoughts,
until you see your future, destroyed, before you,
and your self disappears.

 

Shahad Albayroudi (18)

comes from Hail in Saudi Arabia. For six months she has been in Leipzig with her father, who has been there for four years himself. At present she is taking a German course at level B1. Writing is her great passion.

I Remember

Anonymous author

Syria

 

I was ten years old. I remember the burning tears of my father. The sadness and fear. That dreadful night. I remember so much that I would like to spew my brain out, so that every memory disappears.

I was twelve years old. I remember my strength. How I could carry on living, even though there were no reasons for that. I remember as well as if I were a fifty-year-old woman in the body of a twelve-year-old.

I was fourteen years old. I remember feeling my heart for the first time. The shine of her wonderful eyes. Her fascinating laughter. I remember her words, which lit up my darkness.

I was fifteen years old. I remember my depression. My loneliness. The people who were closest to me, and enjoyed my burning wounds. I remember so well the circle in which I was imprisoned. Every path led me back to its gloomy centre, every path led me back to the point of zero.

I was sixteen years old. I remember her look in the crowd. I remember the warmth that I felt when I embraced her. I remember how she was my way out, my safety, my soul.

I was seventeen years old. I remember our secret meetings. I remember her laughter. The touch of her gentle hands. Every detail. I remember so well how I felt. My heart and my soul, which drowned with joy in that feeling without calling to be rescued.

I was eighteen years old. I remember my recurring depression. I remember her farewell after our last meeting. All of the feelings that lay in her kiss. I remember her sad eyes. The pain that bored through my body until part of my soul split off and flew to her. The moment when I boarded the plane and the song that played in my head in an endless loop. How I cried. How I was without hope. How my dreams disappeared. I remember how I saw the city from above and left a piece of my soul behind.

I am nineteen years old. My feelings are frozen without you. Now I have given up, have no more dreams, no hopes. I live without a goal, without feelings, from one minute to the next. It is hell.

 

Anonymous (18)

is from Syria, but lived in Saudi Arabia from her third year onwards. Since 2019 she has been in Leipzig, and is now taking a German course at level B1. Writing is her great passion and all that she can hold on to.

Untitled Rap

Shakush

Amman, Jordan

 

Sin Lam Alef Mim to all believers and unbelievers,
Hey guys, wake up from your eternal sleep!
Stop waging these thousand-year wars!
Hundreds of millions are homeless,
Hungry children, humiliated women,
They are dying because of all the religions and their temples.
I do not say that you should become an unbeliever,
I do not say that you should join a particular religion,
But wake up, and see them all as people!

The others look down on us:
Our judges are bribed, there is no justice.
When woman have sex before marriage, their reputation is ruined,
When men do the same, they are heroes.
People follow evil politicians, without thinking for themselves.
The only thing that still matters is waiting in front of embassies.
They all want to flee, nothing else,
Ideally on the next plane.
The schools must be restored, just like our rulers,
They think we are their slaves.
We are proud of our history and our scientists who died long ago
While the country is being torn into a thousand pieces.

Don’t be proud of your nation and where you come from,
Only being proud of your country does not make you better than others.
Do you agree?
Because if you do, don’t delay any longer, and start to change!

 

Shakush (25)

comes from Amman in Jordan and is studying in Germany. In his free time, he raps. Shakush is his stage name.

Separation

Katya Haji Ido

Alqush, Iraq

 

First day in Germany
With my mother
And my two little brothers
We were in a park
We were waiting
For my sister and my big brother

They never found us
Because a German called the police
As we had dirty clothes
And many wounds
From all the branches and thorns in the woods

 

Katya Haji Ido (18)

was born in 2001 in the town of Alqush, in Niniveh Province in northern Iraq. Today she lives in Cologne, and in April 2019 took part in a workshop of the Poetry Project with her brother.

Only Together

Armand Haji Ido

Alqush, Iraq

 

On the first day in Germany
I felt I was in the desert
For four days I was in prison
With only sand on the floor

To this day many people do not dare leave the house
Because the surroundings are not like their home
At the beginning I was left completely to myself
If you do not experience the loneliness of a foreign country
You do not know loneliness

When we arrived in Bulgaria
The police were waiting for us
Everyone was afraid of being arrested
And sent back

One woman fled and the police shot at her
She ran away out of fear and fell from a cliff
Because the woman was injured, we were not sent back

Some were arrested
Some fled
Cars came and took us

My mother said to me: run away
I said: I will not leave you alone

 

Armand Haji Ido (20)

was born in 1999 in the city of Alqush, in Niniveh Province in northern Iraq. Today he lives in Cologne, and in April 2019 took part in a workshop of the Poetry Project with his sister.

Parting

Jin Hamo

Afrin, Syria

 

I feel the fresh air
And breathe it in.
I look at the mountains
And nature
And breathe out.
My hair flies
And tears flow.
The day that I feared
Has arrived.
To leave everything,
To describe the feelings.
No words.
The beautiful moments
Stay in mind for ever.
We will meet,
I promise.
It will not be the same,
Perhaps even better.
But I am hopeful,
And I hope you are too.

 

Jinav Hamo (15)

fled to Germany with her family in 2017 and lives in Halle Neustadt. At present she is in year nine at school, and for the future wishes to carry on with artistic activities. Jin loves everything connected with creative expression: learning new languages, drawing, taking photographs, singing, dancing and meeting new people from other cultures.

Walls

Sarah Moles Lyall

Edinburgh, Scotland

 

In Berlin I discover borders
overcome, overturned, undermined.
As the ’89 woodpeckers knew,
walls cannot last forever
when people strive to be together.
In my German class dividing lines
between ‘expat’, ‘migrant’, ‘refugee’
disappear; in our mistakes
all are one. Together we sidestep
imperialism, colonialism, globalism
and find common ground in our
new common language.

 

Sarah Lyall (29)

is a social researcher who is enthused by citizen-led decision-making and concerned about social division. She moved to Berlin to learn German and understand social policy from a fresh perspective.

Poet out of Homesickness

Naseh Qutaish

Idlib, Syria

 

I have never in my life
written poems, but in my foreignness
my feeling is that I need it now.
Out of my homesickness I became a poet,
and separation from the people I love
has made me very sad.
Mother, father, brothers and sisters, I miss you.
I share memories and love only with you.
Oh God, the loneliness is unbearable
after such wonderful days with you.
Sometimes contentment prevails,
but usually it gives way to sadness
and to suffering, and I have to overcome myself anew
again and again.

 

Naseh Qutaish (27)

works as a lawyer. She loves bodybuilding and football, and is always pleased to make new acquaintances. If she had to decide for one style of music, it would probably be Arab music, because she is most familiar with this. Naseh’s favourite colour is white, because she associates this colour with peace and freedom.

To My Beloved

Ahmad Al Mohamad

Aleppo, Syria

 

In the city of dreams
Where people never sleep
One night that no days followed
I met a remarkable woman
Asked her
Who are you?
She answered
I am a woman without an address

I drank the wine and the sugar
Melted in our devotion
I asked
Shall we meet again after this feeling?
She looked at me and answered with shining eyes
Yes

She came to the meeting
In the climbing club
I said to her
I love you and I want you to be
My lady in the palace of rayon
She said
I am your angel from heaven
But not a woman for the public sphere
She smiled
I have a lover, but I am as free as a gazelle
My mind was absent for a moment
And everything melted away behind the walls

She said
It does not matter, life is as it is
I left with my head held high
Because she did not yet know the riders

 

Ahmad Al Mohamad (29)

came to Germany in 2015. He likes dancing and cooking, and alongside his work as an assistant dentist manages to go to a gym almost every day. At present he is improving his German and fighting for recognition of his degree in dentistry. Prejudices are what Ahmad annoys most. Apart from that, in Germany he values the freedom.

Secret Dreams

Hanna Riegenring

Berlin, Germany

 

Elisa, five,
dreams of peace,
that the world will stop making war
she no longer wants to lie awake every night.
If she could make the law
they would stop their daily firing.
She would help her mother
whose tears soak her T-shirt each night.
Where is her father, you would like to know?
For her, that was always far away.
She wants to conquer grief, fear and hunger,
but she always kept silent about all of that.

Betty, nine,
has it all.
Her fortune was to be born to a perfect family.
Her parent were able to give her everything,
clothes, dolls and, in their view, a perfect life.
She could have all that she desired,
but her wish for affection and love was always denied.
Each day her parents work long into the night,
and her constant companion is Hannes the dog.
Her pain rose higher and higher inside her
but she always kept silent about all of that.

Anna, ten,
wants most of all else to become an astronaut
to see the world from above
to get closer to her mother in heaven.
Simply to leave and disappear, as in a dream,
into the hazy blue depths, into space.
She would like to float on clouds, simply live free
and surrender herself to weightlessness.
She would like to chat to the tooth fairy,
and in-between zoom to the man in the moon,
to fly on unicorns,
but she always kept silent about all of that.

 

Hanna Riegenring (16)

lives in Berlin. At present she is cycling, running and swimming for a triathlon.

Cake for Everyone

Fabian Reuber

Berlin, Germany

 

Chocolate cake for me
Parrot cake for God
Apple strudel with custard for mum
Vanilla cake for dad
Lemon cake for my brother
Strawberry cake for grandma, my baka
Muffins for Helene Fischer
Apple and cinnamon cake for my school class
Pancakes with chocolate on holiday with my parents
Even the dough is chocolate

 

Fabian (17)

comes from Berlin, originally from Croatia. He does not let his handicap stop him from seeing the world on his travels. One day he might possibly have tried every kind of cake that there is.

Looking Back

Hassan Zir

Idlib, Syria

 

I stood at a stair,
two or three steps.
A small stair,
next to a small street.

Later

A snail,
with no head
and no neck
It only had a back,
and lay on the asphalt.

One last look back
a fruit,
perhaps?
It was blue.

Behind it

An empty gate,
a space,
a football pitch.
I had no ball.

 

Hassan Zir (13)

was born in Idlib in Syria and now attends the Hector Peterson School in Kreuzberg, Berlin. He loves swimming and likes to try out every new smartphone game.

We Kill Our Dreams

Hani Shebel

Idlib, Syria

 

At that time he sat
in the dark, lonely cell of a prison.
The warder used to ask him:
Do you think that our power will end one day?
That your dreams will come true?
That you can shape your own future one day?

Then he laughed:
A mere dream, a mere dream!
We will burn down your lands,
kill your dreams!

Don’t you know
we are the gods of time.
If you want to live in peace,
look for a new home!

 

Hani Shebel (21)

comes from Idlib in Syria and is a member of the editorial board of the magazine Was Geht?!, where he is responsible for short films. His last short, War of Colours, attacks the racism that is currently prevalent in society. In the future, Hani would like to work in design.

Foreign Soil

Diana Hamido

Aleppo, Syria

 

Yearning follows me like a shadow
a chain of memory that pulls me into the past.
I would like to cry.

When I think of my grandfather…

I hear his voice.
I see him sitting in his field,
proudly contemplating the infinite number of leaves.
He was like that.

Now he lies in foreign soil, in a foreign country.
I can hardly believe that he took leave of life.
I hear his dry voice.

I have seen countless fields,
but my grandfather’s field was the most beautiful.

Grandfather,
I know that you put much love into this soil,
much work.
Oh, you did not know
that you would have to give it up,
the plants, the river.
Everything.

 

Diana Hamido (20)

comes from Aleppo in Syria and is now attending class 12 in Berlin in for her high school graduation. She likes drawing and intends to study architecture after leaving school.