What's it like to be stateless? As a Syrian-Palestinian refugee that's exactly what Mohamed is struggling with. In our Q&A he explains what he expects from his future.
Current hometown: Madrid
What is most important to you in your life?
Freedom. Feeling like a free human being with independent will. Freedom of thought to act and for expression, freedom to tell people what they don't want to hear, freedom to be different and keep feeling safe.
Realistically, what do you expect from your future?
While it always is somewhat risky to predict the future, I want to leave you with my view of where I believe my objectives are headed: working to consolidate refugee platforms to ensure space for and freedom of expression, creating sufficient media tools to communicate and connect stories using art in its capacity to create dialogues, understanding and reconciliation between cultures in conflicts. For that I would supply support work and solidarity chain, transparency and coordination between activist networks. Activists' initiatives are still growing continuously all around, I expect to see increasing escalation in the visibility of the platform and the message from collaborating with other sociopolitical artists in video, documentary, visual art, writing and other forms of collective creation.
How do you spend your free time?
I work quite hard at the moment, so I don't get a lot of free time, unfortunately. When I have some time alone I try to work on personal projects, studying art drawings or game design, writing or reading, playing music, painting outside. I also like to go on long walks to think, skate on a longboard or hang out with friends.
If you want to reward yourself by doing something special, what do you
I would travel alone to a new place.
Your country, the 'Palestine' is not recognized, your nationality is unrecognized - how does that affect your life?
Being "stateless" here is not simply a matter of the issue of a Palestinian state existing or not. It is referring to the condition of an individual having documentation of being a member of a state – as a citizen. While Palestinians remain both refugees and stateless persons, it is the latter status that has increasingly profound consequences for the community, particularly in light of the last decade of displacement.
There was no international organization mandated to provide resettlement opportunities for the Palestinian refugees, nor to make any political advocacy to allow them to return to Palestine. In fact, a strong case can be made that because Palestinian refugees have been refugees many times, and because they are stateless persons, they face a greater situation of insecurity than other refugees, including Syrians, Iraqis and Somalis, for example.
In Syria, how much is...
1 liter of milk: $0.50
1 liter of bottled water: $0.25
1 kg potatoes/rice: $0.25
1 kg tomatoes: $0.50
1 cup of coffee/tea in a café: $1
1 ticket for the cinema: $2
1 pair of jeans: $4