[i] Hi.

[r] Hello

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

[r] My name is [name] born in 1949 in Syria. My family was displaced from Palestine in 1948. We went to live in Homs and during that time everything was fine. And I completed my studies until high school in Homs. and after I finished my studies we moved to Damascus to continue my studies in the pharmaceutical institute And after I finished my studies I was taken to do compulsory military service for 2 or 3 years After military service I worked for a year in Syria in the central pharmacy After I had a contract of employment in Saudi Arabia. I worked in Najran with the Minister of Health. I did the same job in hospitals and pharmacies. And during that time I got married and my wife joined me and worked as a girls’ teacher.

[i] How long did you stay in Saudi Arabia?

[r] 19 years After that I quit my job and they told me that we are people to not give up easily. But I told him that I am forced to resign because I noticed that sometimes there is division between the Saudis and the contractors for example my wife was a teacher had taken only 15 days of maternity instead the Saudi woman takes 4 years of maternity this is discrimination but as a people we have a good relationship we love each other, the problem lies in the governor. After we have finished, we have returned to Syria. And I worked in my field as a pharmacist I was fine everything was fine we had no kind of problem and there was no differentiation between Syrian and Palestinian We had a good life but in 2011 was the beginning of the crisis There was a group of pilgrims who went to Saudi Arabia. I went with my niece and my sister who was paralyzed and then we returned and during this period in 2012 the crisis has increased and the violence also There were continuous bombings that forced us to leave our homes our jobs and everything. and we went to an area called “Duelaa” in Damascus And during this period we rented a house and we had no entrance because we had left everything and escaped And in this period began my daughter’s illness because of errors of doctors who removed his spleen by mistake Was the beginning of his bloody disease

[i] What’s wrong with your daughter?

[r] She suffers from a blood disease they call it pure reproduction. And after the removal of the spleen the white blood cells if they are increased in a remarkable way. And the number of platelets has increased to one million And the doctor of bloody diseases who had there gave her tablets like those of chemo to lower the number of platelets and white blood cells And this medicine we procured with great difficulty And the doctor said that you need a transplant operation to heal otherwise you will have to take this medicine all your life

[i] How old is your daughter?

[r] She is 29 years old.

[i] How long have you been suffering from this disease?

[r] Since 2012 he has been suffering from this disease.

[i] What is your cure?

[r] Your cure is a bone marrow transplant. They gave him a biopsy in Damascus. And during this time we went back and forth to the hospital every day under bombing and everyone says that he needs a bone marrow transplant. And every now and then he did transfusion and during this period the level of hemoglobin dropped too much for that he had to do transfusion.

[i] How long have you been in Italy?

[r] First of all we came from Syria after the doctor’s request because the operation in Syria is very difficult And the chances of success of the operation in Syria are very low 20% He said it’s better to go to Lebanon and gave us a full medical report of his case. we translated it into English and German and we went to Lebanon And in this period when we were in Syria my wife died because of medical errors. They implanted an artificial joint without success. and in one year they implanted three artificial joints that didn’t work and the disease worsened leading to kidney and liver failure. Until he died on August 15 and one month after his death we took the documents but during that time we changed the houses the last house we paid his rent with great effort We took the paper from the doctor and left for Lebanon. In Lebanon, they asked us for tests at the American University Hospital in Beirut. The tests cost $3200 and we struggled to get the money with the help of many sources. And in this period we met in the department of doctors without frontiers the union of Protestant churches we met with a group of doctors. And among them there was Dr. Grison who saw his case and analysis and told us that she needs control by us And after almost 15 days we returned to the hospital asked us to make polio vaccine. He said you have to go to Italy are you ready? We said yes. During 15 days we had a meeting in the Italian Embassy in Beirut. They fingerprinted us and took our passports and on 30/11 we came to Italy.

[i] In what year?

[r] In 2018 we arrived in Italy first we were in a village and then they brought us here in Turin Now we are in Turin there is good treatment and good medical supervision and we thank Italy for this medical help they are offering us.

[i] And when you first arrived in Italy how did you find this country and how did you see yourself in a European country?

[r] We were not happy to leave Syria but because of the current situation in the country and my daughter’s illness we were forced to leave it. And thank God in Italy we were well received in Rome or Turin and we thank them for that. Medical care and economic aid even if it is little but thanks the same for everything.

[i] What are the difficulties you encountered during the trip and your arrival here?

[r] There were no difficulties during the trip from Lebanon we travelled through the humanitarian corridor and the medical committee we met in Beirut. But we encountered the difficulties in Beirut when we did not find those who help us to do the operation to my daughter. But in Italy we have sufficient medical aid really. There is only one thing and that the analyses if they repeat despite the fact that we did it in Damascus and the same we did it again in Beirut and the same we did here in Italy.

[i] And what is the current state of your daughter?

[r] Her current state of health is that the doctor of the San Luigi hospital at the thalassemia hospital asked us to have her do a blood transfusion for 2 or 3 months to activate the bone marrow generator and then they think they’re doing the transplant operation.

[i] Have you found the donor for this operation?

[r] They told us that they will try through the blood bank they have here in the thalassemia hospital or through a family donor if there is one. But we are afraid that there is the donor from the family has the thalassaemia in this case the donation is difficult. And we have another problem in Syria and in the Arab countries the marriage between perents. People get married some time ago but without medical examination to see if this person has thalassaemia or carrier of it and if their children are in danger of having it.

[i] So this is hereditary?

[r] Yes. Maybe in my exams I was a thalassemia carrier but my hemoglobin was 14 or 15 but I was a carrier. And if as I am married to my cousin maybe this influenced the transmission of the disease to our daughter.

[i] And during this time that you are here how do you live and manage to integrate?

[r] Thank God we are adapting, we only have difficulty in following schools. Because the longer we are in hospital with my daughter to do medical examinations and tests. Sometimes you go out in the morning and come back at 15 or 16 in the afternoon back tired and destroyed for that we can not follow the lessons Our goal is to learn the language to be able to find work in Italy and integrate better.

[i] Since you have a degree in pharmacy and worked as a pharmacist, what would you like to do here?

[r] My profession was a pharmacist but since I don’t speak Italian I can’t work with patients. But I can work in a drug warehouse and put them in order to check the deadlines.

So would you like to work in your field?

[r] Yes, I prefer my own profession. Even though I am 70 years old it is difficult to find a job, but I can work in warehouses ordering drugs and checking their deadlines.

[i] So you’re ready to work, you don’t have an age problem or anything?

[r] I’m ready I have no problems despite my age I have good health and I can do my job with ease.

[i] How does the Syrian culture live in Italy?

[r] The level of culture in Syria is very good for example my good soul wife had a high school diploma and was a teacher of religious sciences in Saudi Arabia. and her colleagues Saudite or Egyptian who have the degree explained things they did not know despite their higher diploma than her. and told him that the level of education in Syria is very high The level of education at us is very good

[i] How do you live the customs and traditions of Syrian cuisine in your daily life here?

Because our customs and traditions are different, we Muslims eat butchered meat in a particular “Halal” way. And here in restaurants there are things that are not good for our religion so we are forced to cook everything at home. For music we listen to Italian music but we don’t understand English very well but Italian is difficult.

[i] Do you still have family in Syria?

[R] Yes, I have 4 married daughters in Syria. One of them was supposed to come with us and interviewed Dr. Grison in Lebanon. But if he was in his fourth year of law school he had to take a degree and then they promised to join us here.

[i] How long has it been since you’ve seen your daughters?

[r] almost 6 months

[i] If there wasn’t war and your daughter’s illness, would you one day think of immigrating and leaving your country?

[r] No, you never thought of going out of Syria because it’s a beautiful country before the war but not after it. Now Syria is destroyed and it’s dangerous to be there. Even in the camp where we were there were always bombings when we leave we do not know if we will go home or not.

[i] As an immigrant and a political refugee, what do you see is missing in this country for immigrants and especially for refugees?

[r] More care for the immigrants, the health here and the studies are good. For example, we can’t follow the studies well because of my daughter’s condition, I would like them to be private lessons for me and my daughter.

[i] Thank you for your availability and for answering my questions.

[r] Thank you and thank you for your attention.