[i] Hello [name]

[r] Hello

[i] How are you?

[r] Well, thank you.

[i] Do you want to introduce yourself and tell us who you are?

[r] My name is [name] and I come from Syria and I have been living in Turin for about 3 and a half years, I live with my law studies and I am a human rights activist.

[i] What city did you live in in Syria?

[r] Damascus the capital.

[i] So for 3 and a half years you’ve been coming from Damascus to Turin

[r] No, I did a month and a half earlier in Istanbul because there is no Italian embassy in Syria and I had to go to Istanbul to apply for a visa there.

[i] And when you got to Turin, how did you find this city?

[r] A beautiful city, I have been in other Italian cities but until now Turin is my favorite at the beginning I had some problems because I didn’t speak Italian I only knew a couple of words and then immediately after my arrival I wrote to two Italian language courses to learn the language as soon as possible.

[i] And did you manage to learn Italian?

[r] I would say yes.

[i] If you hear and beyond that what do you do in Turin?

[r] In addition to that I am a collaborator with an international NGO is called project “Mondo Mlal” I do training in schools in Cuneo I talk to students practically about issues that are not addressed in schools such as gender equality social inequalities immigration in general are these issues

[i] And how do you find this experience?

[r] It’s beautiful I like it a lot but in some cases it’s difficult sometimes it gets even heavy

[i] Why?

[r] Because unfortunately this generation a part of them have a closed mind so when we talk to them for example about gender equality the first word you say in the class is “women must stay at home to cook and clean or when we talk about immigration they say “but no illegal immigrants have no rights have only weapons” immigrants come so when I’m in a class like this I feel uncomfortable and I’m not well sometimes also psychologically I feel bad because this generation thinking then that it will grow to become the future leaders of our country I feel bad because already growing have all this oh God in what we wait then in the future?

[i] Now hearing you say “our country”, do you feel an integral part of this country? Do you feel Italian?

[r] Yes and no

[i] How?

[r] This topic is difficult to deal with for me too, that is myself because I can not consider myself Syrian or Italian because when I’m with Italians I’m different for them I’m Syrian when I’m with Syrians I’m also different, for them I’m almost Italian on the cards I’m neither Syrian nor Italian all a mixture I’m a Syrian refugee in Italy so it’s a difficult topic for me

[i] Is this thing confusing for you here?

[r] Yes

[i] And how do you plan to solve it? What do you need to do to have a fixed identity?

[r] On the card I lack a citizenship or a residence permit without limits for example a few months ago I was in Bruxel for a training on immigration in the European Union all the other participants were Italian 2 of them were Spanish at the end of the last day was at the European Commission the last meeting was with an Italian commissioner at the end of the meeting I approached him and I told him a little ‘of my work my study and so he makes me good go ahead and then I asked him to give me some indication on how to join the European Commission because I like it very much and during these days we have told a lot of new projects that are doing I also feel the need to be part of these projects he looked at me badly and says “but you are not Italian” I told him I do not have Italian citizenship not yet and then “but you do not know that in 99% of the work in the European Commission to have European citizenship?I look at him immediately, I don’t know because I told him “but you don’t know that this is a violation of Article 21 of the Nice Charter that doesn’t discriminate against people on the basis of their race or nationality or political opinion or what it is”? I come out of there I cried for 2 hours ahead of the committee because all the participants who were with me we did the same course some of them study law others study languages journalism and these things some have experience others no but the less we are at the same level they can easily do this work I can’t do it because I don’t have European citizenship but the less we are at the same level they can do this work I can’t do it because I don’t have European citizenship”.

[i] So you feel discriminated against?

[r] I felt very sick and very sick.

So you mean not only do we need skills but we also need European citizenship?

[r] First you want to respect European law in all European countries, second you also need to have… that is, I was discriminated against by a commissioner

[i] So by whom does he represent the law?

[r] Yes

[i] Does that make you unhappy?

[r] Yes, of course.

[i] And to this next generation, what can you tell them?

[r] Information before you talk when you read an article when you also see a picture anything on your mobile phone before you open your mouth go to information

[i] And in your opinion, that’s the job of whom, beyond themselves?

[r] Parents of course because having this contact with their children most of the day also affect what they think children and also how they think then of course in schools ie I went to some class where the teacher already working with their students already deal with these issues and then I found a difference when I enter a class where a teacher when a teacher hear a student who tells me immigrants come to steal our homes if he laughs this is not okay the teacher his role not only teach his subject but also make this generation grow well because it would not only be enough the role of parents at home even outside the home in schools must have this figure that should be the teacher but most in those classes does not exist

[i] Do you think then society can influence in a negative or positive way on these kids on this generation?

[r] Yes very much, also let me give you a small example in a class we were talking about gender equality I practically drew two faces of a male and a female and I gave notes to the guys where we wrote for example career lawyer political teacher tears words of the kind and then I asked the students to put the tickets where they want one of the students took the note where written career and put it on the side of the male and then when I asked him why you decided to put this leaflet so he replied that it is easier for men to make a career women still have problems with the laws can not have meternity risk other things so even the student was convinced that the laws society that make this impact but living in this society you did the same idea

[i] So you adopted them in a way?

[r] Exactly even without thinking about it without thinking about it himself, and went to put the sheet of his career on the drawing of the man even if he was not 100% convinced he told me that even women should have the right to have a career if they want but without thinking about it went to put us on the side of the man and even here the company has a very important part

[i] And in Turin have you ever had problems with integration?

[r] With the Italians or with the Syrians?

How can you feel at ease? Since when you speak you say “my country, our country” so you consider Italy your country as is your cohabitation in this country as you live here?

I don’t have a house anymore I don’t have a job anymore I don’t have anything there anymore here in Italy I started to build my future I started to build a life for myself so by now it became my country when I just arrived in Italy I didn’t speak Italian and I had a bit of problems to have. contact with the Italian society, let’s say so, but when I started to learn Italian I got a bit ‘in the field of work and I also got along well with another thing that helped me a lot that I met a lot of good people who are also sensitive to the issue of immigration unlike other friends of mine I did not have experiences of racial discrimination when I just arrived here.

[i] And to these young people who come here we say maybe they have no clear idea about what they want and what awaits them here? how do you see this thing here? what could you say?

[r] If you want to commit yourself to learn the language and to integrate, make an active part of this society ok come if it won’t be a problem both for you and for the society for all.

[i] So the key word will be integration in the right way

[r] More inclusion than integration

[i] What about the Italians?

[r] On the part of the Italians I say informative, that is, do not take what comes to you from a government that does not think in the same way for everyone and all go to inform yourself to understand what is really going on build your idea without supporting others and then we will manage to have a healthy society.

[i] Of course, and as an immigrant what is missing here in Italy and in Turin precisely for immigrants?

[r] At what level?

[i] At the social level, do you practice official documents in these places here

[r] At the social level I would say looking for new methods to include all new arrivals in society because not all of them are part of immigrant arts a beautiful reality in Turin where 2 times a month we all meet together we dance we sing if they also recite poems and simply if he is together Italians of all nationalities is a wonderful thing to spend time together to get to know each other but it would not only be necessary to do what at the highest level to be able to include all of them. and all to be part of this society at the level a bit ‘with regard to the laws for example I also do training on the Italian constitution in schools I really like the Italian constitution one of the most beautiful constitution in the world the problem is that it is not fully respected sometimes even is not respected by those who have to respect it by the government is a problem it is important to have laws that do not discriminate against people of the laws that protect people in general but it is also important to respect these laws ]

[i] Sure, and how do you live Syrian culture here?

[r] Hardly

[i] Why?

[r] Because I work and most of my work and understand Italians so I do not have this contact with Syrian society in Turin every now and then once a month twice a month if they do events and if they meet us however beyond that even at home we have a little ‘every one has his work every one has its own commitments we can not always find time to be together as Syrians for example to talk about culture so it’s a bit’ difficult

[i] For example, food, what if it eats, music at home at least if you can’t live it with the Syrian community in Turin at least live it at home with the family at home we don’t always cook so much just the mother who cooks Syrian food and even working all day I don’t always have time to go home to eat I go home at night I don’t always find Syrian food sometimes I find French food Italian food of food from all over the world because also growing up in Syria my father who grew up in Italy and then returned to Syria when he was 17 still has this Italian culture with if my grandmother was also cooking Italian dishes in Syria for example I grew up also eating Italian food here in Turin when I go home to eat if there is Syrian food welcome if there is Italian food welcome the important to find something to eat

[i] Does it depend on what the day offers so let’s say a part of the Italian culture you lived in Syria through your father?

[r] Yes but not much, because I knew that this is different not all my friends for example eat Italian things at home if they want to eat an Italian thing they go to an Italian restaurant for me I felt something different but I did not understand what it was so I also felt different there but I did not know why

[i] And what dreams do you have that you want to achieve? What are your goals?

[r] You said the right word “goals” I don’t like to call them dreams because for me a dream is something that stays far away I could get there I might not call it goal, and my goal is to make the euro parliamentary and then maybe why not go to the Italian parliament

[i] Let’s hope well enough is enough commitment

[r] Sure.

[i] Do you think you’ll ever return to Syria?

[r] Maybe

[i] Do you miss him?

[r] I hope to go back there a lot but as long as there is this government now I can’t go back to Syria because I have political problems it’s a bit complicated the situation

[i] And how’s the current situation in Syria? Do you still have any relatives there?

[r] Yes I have grandparents uncles all still in Syria all in Damascus

[i] So you haven’t seen them for long since I got to Italy.

[i] And how do you live this part of your life the fact that you can’t go back to your country of origin where you were born where you grew up?

[i] It’s very difficult it’s really very difficult I always say it for me Syria is my mother i.e. I grew up there all my memories I went to school there my friends my relatives I had my first life in Syria so for me it’s like a mother Italy I could call her my aunt because here too I had another life and I like living here I hope one day I can return to Syria I don’t know if I can but I really hope I can make it to see my relatives my friends

[i] The land where you grew up

[r] never say never

[i] Do you think Italy at this time will manage to find a solution on what is happening on immigrants the right way of their integration and how people here can live peacefully without problems? Do you think Italy later will manage to achieve this goal? maybe not now but later, how do you see this thing?

[r] I hope it would be enough to engage and love each other, first of all not to look at the different as an enemy and everything could happen because no one day I hope to have a healthy society where we all love each other where all are respected have the same rights the same duties no one is discriminated against for any reason would be a paradise.

Thank you [name] , thank you for answering my questions.

[r] Thank you.

[i] I wish you a good future.