September 5, 2013
“Toppling the authoritarian regime will open the way for refugees to return,” says Mahmoud a-Shara’, a 40 year-old Syrian refugee now living in Jordan. A-Shara’, who was a television producer back in Damascus but has been unable to find employment in Jordan, tells Abdulrahman al-Masri about the “harsh and bitter experience” of a refugee, separated from homeland and family as chemical weapons are unleashed back in Syria. He hopes that impending American military intervention will bring an end to his people’s suffering and allow the over two million refugees to finally return home.
Q: How would you describe the life of a Syrian refugee in Jordan?
A: Refuge is a harsh and bitter experience. It is the forced separation of a person from his nation, his house, and his sources of well-being, in addition to a state of dispersion for his family. Every Syrian refugee in Jordan is not far from this description. It is an experience that will have tragic results on a social and educational level, especially for children.
Q: Refugees in Jordan are not authorized to work. How do they support themselves? If they do have work, how are their salaries?
A: Jordan of course is not a rich country, and there are many Jordanian citizens struggling to make ends meet. Syrians do not find real chances to work; most live in poor, desolate conditions, and depend on what remains of their savings and gold, and from the aid that international organizations and charities provide. If the opportunity to work presents itself, the salary is unfair and inadequate for them to deal with the difficult living conditions.
Q: What are the problems facing a Syrian refugee in Jordan? Have you encountered any problems during your time in Jordan?
A: The problem is securing an adequate source of fixed income to support my family. As a refugee, I have not found anything more difficult than that in Jordan.
Q: Do you support American military intervention in Syria, and why? Do you think it is the best option at the present time?
A: Of course, along with the rest of the Syrian refugees who have been exiled because of the regime’s policies. I strongly support a military intervention to rid my country of the authoritarian power that has murdered, arrested, and displaced Syrians, and that does not assign any value to human life, as evidenced by its use of weapons of mass destruction, most recently the use of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta. We must put an end to this regime, which has become a shameful stain on the international community through its contempt for basic civilized values and human rights.
Q: What will change, in your opinion as a Syrian in Jordan, if the American military strike topples Assad?
A: Toppling the authorian regime in Damascus will open the way for refugees to return, from Jordan or the other neighboring countries, and will put an end to the largest humanitarian disaster in the world. Maybe it will clear the way for return to my country and will give me a better opportunity to work, for my country is in dire need today of reconstruction and recovery due to the dictatorial power that has exercised its power as an occupying force. Removing this regime will restore hope to Syrians, both on a national level and the level of individual interests.