Only You

Mahdi Hashemi

Ghazni, Afghanistan, raised in Iran


We now see times
In which you are there,
And only you.
You love and you are not loved.
You feel intimacy and nobody is there
To lean on.
You have everything, and yet you have nothing.
The wound hidden
Behind the veil of tears,
The secret remains unread.


more: Mahdi Hashemi

On Tehran

Yasser Niksada

Panshir, Afghanistan


I myself am only the story of a refugee in Iran.
I have burdened myself with the guilt of generations,
and am compelled to work it off.

Iranians, your lack of love is directed at me.
Because I am an Afghan.

Learn not to be tyrants,
to act not only as nationalists.
We have to know how to
view all people with one eye.

I taught myself not to let the injustices
that I experienced at your hands
seep into me as resentment,
so as not to become another tyrant.

Fate has not provided for all people to be happy.
As a refugee I became a character that you make fun of.

Would you like me to explain Iran to you in one sentence?
»For you, everything is forbidden!«


more: Yasser Niksada


Yasser Niksada

Panshir, Afghanistan


Compared to my pain, you are small.
You tell me I take everything away from you.
Perhaps I am bad.
Perhaps every breath I take annoys you.
I wish no evil to my worst enemy.
But be aware that you too
could possibly lose everything one day.

The dirt from the path of my escape still sticks to me.
But maybe I can save your life one day.
Maybe not.
It’s not your fault that I am alive
and eventually came here.
It’s a pity that my existence is inconvenient to you.
If I were in your position, perhaps I too would not want
to be friends with someone like me.
I sacrifice myself in order to make the world a better place
and you sacrifice yourself in order to destroy me.
A boy, fifteen years old, whose face is not yet lined
and whose hair is not white.
But whose heart has already been torn into a thousand pieces
by the egoism of his fellow men.
He has put everything behind him.
And now he will test your character.

My mother said:
When the people whom the world has disappointed lie sleepless, unprotected,
the man-eating wolves will awaken.


more: Yasser Niksada

The Only Son

Shahzamir Hataki

Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan


There were 65 people on the boat.
The smuggler gestured to a mountain,
There is Greece, he said.

The water fell around us like walls.
The motor stopped.
There were many kids on the boat.
It capsized.

I can’t swim.

I stayed under water for two minutes,
The red vest pulled me to the surface.
I was terribly afraid.

It was
Very cold.
Everybody screamed. Me too. There was a child in front of me.

I consoled him.
You don’t have to cry, but I knew better.

A mother sank before my eyes,
Her child in her arms.
Two hours, then the boat came to rescue us.
Twenty people survived.
All of the small children were dead.

One boy, he was my age,
Sat next to me in the rescue boat.
He screamed and screamed
»Mother, Mother!«
I asked him, why are you crying?

He said that his whole family, seven people,
Had died.
I wondered, who would have told my parents
If I had drowned in the sea?
I am the only son.

Doctors were waiting.
My legs couldn’t support me.
They recovered only eight of the dead.
We survivors went to the hospital.

Eight days and eight nights I slept,
And each day in the hospital passed before me like a year.

When I left Turkey I had 100 dollars.
They were lost in the water.

On the 20th day I called home.

My mother said, »Why didn’t you call?
I haven’t eaten in three days out of worry!«
I told her that I arrived safely,
But simply hadn’t had the money to call.

How could I tell her
that for 10 days, I could only drink hot chocolate,
because my body was so full of salt water?


more: Shahzamir Hataki


Samiullah Rasouli

Ghazni, Afghanistan


We sat on the flatbed of the truck,
In the desert of Nimruz, when we saw seven corpses.
Who had killed these poor people?
We got off to look at the dead.
The men were young, 20, 21 years old,
All dead, except for one.

He was still breathing.

The blood on his body had already dried.
We asked him, »what happened?«
He said, quietly, »thieves.«
They had been ambushed and robbed.
The dying man warned us: »robbers, robbers, take a different route.«
We fled and left him lying there.

Could I have done anything differently?


more: Samiullah Rasouli


Abdikarim Mohamed Ali

Mogadishu, Somalia


You are responsible for yourself
Whether you laugh or cry

No one can know what you feel
When you are happy or sad
No one can know
That you constantly fight to become better

Even when people sit around you
And want to help you, they cannot bear your feelings
You are the only one who can feel your problems

You are the only one who can fight for your path
And you must do it yourself
You must bear all your disappointments and problems yourself
And make your way with them
You must do good for yourself

If God gives you a new start
Don’t repeat the old mistakes


Abdikarim Mohamed Ali (18)

from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, has been living in Peskow for about a year. Apart from his native language, Abdikarim speaks English and understands Arabic. He likes to listen to Somali and German rap. Football is his big hobby. After leaving school he wants to be a specialist retail salesperson.


The Reason for Her Silence

Batol Almawed

Damascus, Syria


A girl flew with the wind like a flying leaf.
Those who saw her thought she was flying because she wanted to.
The smile never left her face.
So that her secret could not become visible.

Inside, she was dead.
Darkness in every place inside her.
I could not see it.
I looked at her as she flew.

Her silence surprised me.
The reason for her silence was her birds.
Because she did not want them to become sad.
»Why does she not speak? I hope she will speak.«
Then all will honour her.


Batol Almawed (16)

Batol was born in the Syrian capital but grew up Palestine. She has been in Germany for three and a half years and attends class 10 at the Georg Herwegh School.


Youmna Hamdan

Damascus, Syria


When I arrived in Germany, I had many positive emotions.
First of all I was very pleased to meet my sister.
Soon negative feelings crept in: boredom, loneliness
Influenced my accustomed life.
I encountered many difficulties because I wore a headscarf.
When my language school began, everything was new for me.

I felt yearning and homesickness.
The war had destroyed my home.
I remember every small thing that happened after the war.
Of all events from the past,
The death of all six of my uncles was the most crushing.
Sadness flows from my heart.

In Germany I have no friends except my family.
But that is rather boring.
I would like to have a conversation with friends.
And I would like to share my sadness and joy with friends.

I would be a happy person if I could fulfil my dream.
I wish the war in Syria would end.
Then I would like to go back and live there forever.


Youmna Hamdan (19)

comes from Damascus, Syria, and arrived in Germany in 2017 through family reunification. After completing school at OSZ Palmnicken, she would like to start training as a dental technician.

Silent Tears

Glory Osazuwa

Edo State, Nigeria


Each day as evening starts to set
The ache builds in my chest
I know that I must go to bed
And try to get some rest

I hug my tear-stained pillow close
When no one is around
And cry for one I love and lost
And scream without a sound

Others see me in the day
And think I’m doing well
But every day as evening sets
I enter my own hell

Time hasn’t healed my pain at all
Or quieted my fears
So every night, alone in bed
I shed those silent tears


Glory Osazuwa (18)

comes from Edo State in Nigeria. She has lived in Germany for three years without her family. In summer she will complete her school certificate in the upper grade in Fürstenwalde. Glory dreams of becoming a doctor or lawyer. In her homeland she attended school for six years.

Night Time

Glory Osazuwa

Edo State, Nigeria


Night is cold
Night is sad for some
Night is so dark
Night comes and goes
Like my love for you

Night is time for me to sleep and dream of you
Night is everywhere I go
Night is time for some people to have fun
Night is so alone for me

I hate the night because it reminds me of you
Night was when we had fun
Night is so alone now

Night is what you love
Now the night is what I hate
Because of you


Glory Osazuwa (18)

comes from Edo State in Nigeria. She has lived in Germany for three years without her family. In summer she will complete her school certificate in the upper grade in Fürstenwalde. Glory dreams of becoming a doctor or lawyer. In her homeland she attended school for six years.


Alidad Jafari

Herat, Afghanistan


Enough of the sea,
enough of the narrow heart of the sea.

how hospitable you were.
you have burned our hearts.

how merciless you are.
you care little for the life of youth.
why can you not stop roaring?


Alidad Jafari (20)

lived in Herat in Afghanistan for ten years, then fled to Iran for several years. Finally he decided to travel on to Europe, arriving in Germany via Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Hungary and Austria. Alidad is about to gain his German school certificate in Fürstenwalde and is looking forward to starting training for a social profession.

What if

Sherin Cavlan

Berlin, Germany


War, all of a sudden.
What if there were suddenly war?
Then I would run away.
But where to?
If suddenly my father were no longer there or my mother no longer beside me?
What would happen to me?
Would I succeed in fleeing?
In bearing all the poverty?
Would I make it?
War could destroy my whole life.
It could destroy me.


Sherin Cavlan (16)

Sherin’s family come from Turkey and Lebanon. She likes to go swimming and dancing, likes being with family and friends. When she writes poems, she can express her feelings, and this makes her feel better.

Rose Heart

Sarah Oheed

Babylon, Iraq


Yarin and Gasma are small but beautiful
I feel my village in my soul
My family around me gives me confidence

The rose is red and wonderful
Like the heart of my mother
There are thorns on the rose that hurt
They remind me of her tears


Sarah Oheed (14)

fled from Iraq to Germany with her family four years ago. She attends the Hector Peterson School, loves roller skating and music. She wrote poems at her youth art school Fri-X Berg because she loves poems and because for Sarah they possess their own feeling that they hold within themselves.


Fatima Chouli

Berlin, Germany


I am alone – alone in a foreign country.
Alone, where no one is with me.
I feel bad – bad, because I have no one by my side.
I see alien looks – looks that attack me.
I see friends – friends that I would like to have.
I see handsome boys – boys that I would like to talk to.
It wounds me to see them happy.


Fatima Chouli (15)

Fatima’s family came to Germany from Palestine before she was born. She grew up in Berlin. Her parents’ home is foreign to her, but she often feels alone in Berlin, too. She loves drawing and going to boxing training. By writing poems she can express her feelings.

Tears of Darkness

Simon Darwish

Damaskus, Syrien


I hear music.
And when I hear music, I remember you.
And I look into your face, your hands, and weep.
And when I weep, I weep darkness.
I would like to be alone.
Feel like a child, need only my mother.
I would like to call her and see her and weep.
And on those days I find nobody who wants to be with me.


Simon Darwish (15)

came to Germany from Syria a year ago. His father has been living here for four years, and the rest of the family has stayed in Damascus. Simon loves to write poems. In this way he also wishes to improve his German. He wants to get his school-leaving certificate and dreams of becoming an actor.

Autumn at Home

Simon Darwish

Damascus, Syria


Autumn in my homeland is the loveliest time of the whole year
When autumn comes, my heart blooms like a flower
I walk among the trees and enjoy the tenderness of nature
Its beautiful colours are balm for my wounds


Simon Darwish (15)

came to Germany from Syria a year ago. His father has been living here for four years, and the rest of the family has stayed in Damascus. Simon loves to write poems. In this way he also wishes to improve his German. He wants to get his school-leaving certificate and dreams of becoming an actor.

My Home is My Paradise

Simon Darwish

Damascus, Syria


My home is my paradise.
My home is the home of beauty.
My home, where I went to school, where I felt loved and felt good.
My home, where I had pleasure in studying with my friends.
My home in Damascus, where I enjoyed warm, good food in the cosy restaurants close to the historic walls of the Old Town.
My home is the end of the street, where I ate delicious ice cream at Bagdash.
My home is the good books at the annual book fair in Damascus.
My home is my beloved mother, who still waits for me in Damascus.
My mother, whose scent and tenderness I miss so much.
I have lost my homeland and all the things that I loved.
I have gone away from my mother.
Only because of the war.


Simon Darwish (15)

came to Germany from Syria a year ago. His father has been living here for four years, and the rest of the family has stayed in Damascus. Simon loves to write poems. In this way he also wishes to improve his German. He wants to get his school-leaving certificate and dreams of becoming an actor.


Zanav Subiman

Damascus, Syria


Some people place them in the pigeonhole of
Religion, ethnic group or nation.
For two years they have constantly asked me
about my nationality,
my ethnic group
and my religion.
The answers are always the same,
and the looks that I receive are also the same.
Some show curiosity
and want to hear more details.
Details that change nothing.
I am weary of these repetitions.
Some prefer to be silent,
but their eyes betray them.

The matter is much simpler.
I believe that I belong to myself.
Why don’t we ask each other
at the first meeting what we love,
what we want to do, what we want to become?
No one asks me at a first encounter:
What were your experiences, how do you see the world,
how does the world see you?

I am what I love.
I am what I experience.
I am what I do not experience.
I am what I expect of the future.
I am my dreams and my disappointments.
I consist of all joys and pains that belong to me.
I feel in a way that belongs only to me.
I am an independent being.
And it is enough for me to believe in myself alone.
In my identity.


Zanav Suliman (20)

Zanav, who comes from Syria, goes her own way and resists categorisation of all kinds. Her texts are testimony to the search of the »I« for a balance between the inner and the outer world – a difficult undertaking.

Images of you

Zakariyya Al Obydy

Bagdad, Iraq


Like a grave, the plane takes from you those whom you love.
After your embrace I could no longer walk, like a child with fever.
You and my tears, you kissed my face.
I want to see you again, and again.

You are a bird and I am the earth.
One day the bird will fall to the earth,
and I hear sad songs.

Everything was hard: life, the decision, and the word »either«.
Either die or live on as always.
But »always« is even worse.

I have lost your smile and still miss it.
This way, life is like a room.
Everyone has now left: you, friends, the house.
Only the images remain.
Can we live together (only with them)?

Thinking of you, like a smoker who smokes every five minutes.
I need you and I needed you.
The air moved the door, and I thought:
there love has come.
But the air and the door: both lied.

My father will be sad at parting,
and I am sad at both,
the parting and my father.

The prisoner laughs in prison sometimes,
but regrets it at the next moment,
and my heart is sometimes like a crater.

In the night:
Your images and the smoke,
and I smoke your images
when I have no more smoke.

My dream is that you stand in front of my eyes.
I want to see you before you go to the grave.


Zakariyya Al Obydy (17)

Even though Zakariyya, who was born in Iraq, wrote his poem in German directly, the pent-up emotion that often characterises Iraqi and Arabic poetry cannot be overlooked.


Bahaa Ghazalah Al Haar

Hama, Syria


Yes, right, it was Monday yesterday. And what day is it today?
Today is Monday, too.

Scientists claim that time is the measure of change.
If there is no change, that means that there is no time.
And that also means that yesterday was Monday, and today is Monday and tomorrow will be Monday.

What?! And when will it be Tuesday?
Yes, an important question.

Tuesday will come
when repression in this life diminishes.
Tuesday will come
when justice in this world increases,
when people love one another,
when people respect one another,
when millions of children do not have to flee from the horrors of war,
when people do not die of hunger,
when humanity takes a step forward,
when people do not have to flee from their country,
when a man does not set himself alight because he cannot buy food for his children.

Then Tuesday will come.


Bahaa Ghazalah Al Shaar (30)

who gained his first experience in the theatre in his homeland, had the opportunity, shortly after arriving in Germany in 2015, to act at the Theater Willy Praml, and engaged intensely with this completely new experience of theatre. This definitely marked his linguistic and personal development. Bahaa lives in Frankfurt am Main.