[i] Good morning, [name] .

[r] Good morning.

[i] Welcome.

[r] Thank you.

[i] Could you tell us about yourself?

[r] I am [name] from Syria, born in Aleppo in 1998.

[i] Since when are you in Italy?

[r] I’ve been here almost four months.

[i] And why did you come to Italy?

[r] I came because of the war in my country. I was in Lebanon for six years, and then a committee came and brought us here. In Syria we could not remain we were trapped we lived the worst we were beaten. We couldn’t stay in Syria so we went to Lebanon but there we experienced the worst.

[i] So the conditions of war forced you to flee to Lebanon? Did you stay six years in Lebanon as they were these years?

[r] The first year was fine the second year they began to treat us hard. When you work for someone most of them don’t pay you. The work is heavy and even the boss doesn’t treat you with kindness and the work becomes unbearable.

[i] Hard.

[r] Very hard.

[i] How did this association bring you here?

[r] This association have contact with doctors for sick children, and there was my sick sister.

[i] What is your little sister sick of?

[r] She had burns in her chest. They saw him and told us that they will take us to Italy and we will continue our studies because we did not study in Syria. They prepared everything and the Waldensian deacon brought us here and they put us in this house.

[i] And when you first came here how did you find the situation?

[r] Here people are different, they have good treatment, they have good people.

[i] Have you come alone [name] ?

[r] Not, I came with my family a big family.

[i] And what have you done in these four months that you are here?

[r] Now I’m studying, I want to learn so I can work.

[i] Are you studying the Italian language?

[r] Yes, the Italian language.

[i] How do you live your daily life? Are you trying to integrate yourself in this society?

[r] Yes, I’m trying to learn to communicate with people and get to know the city. Here it’s different from other countries where they treat you badly. And thank God we came here and the people are kind and we thank them and we thank the association that brought us.

[i] Can I ask you about your sister’s current state of health?

[r] Now she’s better and they’re following her and now she’s better than before.

[i] [name] What do you hope to do here in Italy?

[r] For me the most important thing is to study and then afterwards work.

[i] If there was no war in your country would you ever have thought of immigrating?

[r] No. If not for bad treatment and beating, we will never have left our country.

[i] You told me that you are from 1998 and you were in Lebanon for six years. How old were you when you were displaced to Lebanon?

[r] I was 15 years old.

[i] You were still a minor. And how did you experience the conditions of this journey?

[r] We had met a person in Syria who brought people to work in Lebanon at their own expense you don’t pay anything. If you work for them in the agricultural fields. Once you start working and earning you take the money for those who had paid to take you there.

[i] If the time came back, would you leave Syria to go to Lebanon?

[r] Lebanon was better now if it can’t stay there. there are people I know there are out of work there is nothing. And they hope to come here to work and feel better.

i] [name] We know that Syrian and Italian cultures are different. How do you live this diversity?

[r] How?

i] In the sense that you are a young Arab boy you come from a country with different traditions and customs from those of Italy, the European country. How do you live these different things from your country in your everyday life?

[r] You are obliged, we must live if we were not obliged we would not have come here we were forced to do so.

[i] What were you doing in Syria before you left the country?

[r] I was studying and working.

[i] I would like to ask you a question. Are you as a young Syrian boy here in Italy preserving your culture or have you left it behind?

[r] Yes, I’m still preserving it and I’ll keep my culture, traditions and customs forever.

[i] I’m going to ask you a question a little far from all this. For example, Syrian food, as we know Syrian food is very good. In this period that you are here and you have certainly met Italian people. Has anyone at work ever asked you to taste any Syrian dishes?

[R] Truthfully, many people here love Syrian cuisine. Even when I was in Lebanon there were Italian people who came to us and loved Syrian food.

[i] Have you ever cooked some typical Syrian dish in Italian?

[r] Yes.

[i] What did you cook?

[r] We cooked “Mahchi” “Kebbe” rice….

[i] And how did they find it?

[r] The first time they eat Syrian food and liked it.

[i] We leave Syrian food and talk about Italian cuisine. Have you learned how to cook some Italian dish? Is there any dish you like?

[r] My special dish is pizza and pasta.

[i] Have you learned how to make them?

[r] Here I learned to make pasta even if in Syria and Lebanon I wasn’t eating it but here I’m eating it.

[i] Do you have any hobbies, do you practice any sports?

[R] Yes, I play football and now I’m part of a club we train and we hope for good.

[i] [name] the phenomenon we are experiencing now of the immigration of people who come from Libya by sea risking their lives. How do you see this?

[r] If they weren’t forced they wouldn’t have come because they had to choose between death and humiliation. They come because I want to be well and they are forced to risk their lives. We risked not succeeding because we are a large family and here in Italy the houses are expensive and it takes a lot to find a big house for all of us. We had thought of going to Turkey illegally by sea for the whole family. And then the Italians came and told us that they would bring us here.

[i] So if there hadn’t been any Italians, would you all have gone to Turkey by sea, knowing the chances of who’s going like that?

[R] Either he arrives or he doesn’t.

[i] So at this point the situation was critical from the point of pushing an entire family to risk their lives?

[r] Yes, we were forced to experience the worst. We couldn’t even renew the documents, we needed $600 and the work isn’t there. And the barriers and when they catch you without papers they put you in jail for three days and pull you out thanks to the United Nations. Without them, you stay in prison until you have the papers.

[i] And what could you tell people who can see you on your condition?

[r] Here?

[i] In Syria, the conditions that lead you to leave your country.

[r] God help us and make us all feel good.

Do you still have relatives in Syria?

[r] Yes, I have my paternal uncle who cannot go to Lebanon or Turkey.

[i] Why?

[r] His daughter and wife lost their identity cards in Syria during the war.

[i] Can’t they renew them?

[r] We have tried and tried again in vain.

[i] Do you mean that they are living like that without identity?

[r] Yes, without an identity in Syria, he travels from one place to another and we often hear each other.

[i] Are you in contact with them?

[r] Sometimes because they don’t always have the internet. We talk to him asking how the situation is now the attacks are less. And his son is in Turkey, he ran away the first time and the traffickers caught him and took money from him. And they brought him back to the borders. And then he risked his life once again going to the borders all this because in Syria they would have killed him. In Syria, if you want to stay, they will drag you to the army.

[i] And who goes there what happens to her?

[r] She doesn’t know what’s going on, you don’t know who she’s fighting against, it’s possible that you’re fighting your countrymen If we knew that we were fighting against the enemy, nobody would have left the country.

We don’t fight the enemy, we’re fighting ourselves.

[i] And here in Turin are you in contact with the Syrian community you meet during the holidays or other?

[r] Here we have my paternal aunt about an hour’s drive away from us in Rivalta. Sometimes they come to us, sometimes we go and so on.

[i] Do you meet with friends?

[r] I don’t have any friends.

[i] Have you tried to socialize and make friends with Italians?

[r] Yes because I want to learn.

[i] Is there a chance that one day you will return to Syria?

[r] Very difficult even if now they say that everything is over no one will come back because no one is sure. Because nobody knows what can happen to them there.

[i] Are you afraid?

[r] Of course, because they will drag you to the army they will bring people from 40 years down.

[i] Since you arrived in Italy, have you been alone in Turin or have you visited other cities?

[r] No, only in Turin I haven’t gone out yet.

[i] And how do you find it?

[r] Beautiful.

[i] Do you like it?

[r] Yes.

[i] Thank you for this interview and I hope you can do everything you couldn’t do in Syria.

[r] Thank you.