Manel Tahan is a woman from Syria, who is extremely concerned about her situation and her family, who is still under war in Syria. She has been in Denmark for ten months and still, unlike other Syrians, has no answer on her case from the Danish Immigration Service
I have interviewed the Syrian woman Manel Tahan, who came from Damascus and has been in Denmark for ten months and is still desperately waiting…
How long waiting time did you expect?
“I have expected to wait for three months to have my residence in Denmark, and during one year I expected to have my family by my side. But now it has been ten months. I came last year and yet I still do not have neither of the both.”
What do you talk about with your family when you call them?
“Every time we talk on the phone they ask me these questions over and over again: What happened with you? Have you got your positive answer? When will you bring us to you?
They also tell me how much they miss me, and how bad the situation is there. Recently my daughter told me about a stranger who called her and threatened her several times saying that he knows where I am staying, and he knows how to bring me back to Syria.
My children were so terrified and worried about me, and I was scared even more, but I told them that I am safe now, you are the ones in danger.”
Individuals with temporary protected status
It became possible to be granted temporary protected status in accordance with Aliens Act Section 7 (3) in Denmark. It will be granted to asylum seekers who require protection from severe instability and indiscriminate violence against civilians in their home country.
Individuals granted temporary protected status do not qualify to sponsor an individual applying for family reunification until their residence permit is extended past the initial one-year period.
Did you know about the one year reunification rule before you came to Denmark?
“Of course not. I did not know that I would have to wait one year. This is all new for me and shocking because people used to tell me that during five to six months max. nine months their families were with them.
Realizing that all of this was untrue in my case made me so tired and anxious. I could not sleep much because I was scared. I had nightmares about me going back to Syria searching for my lost children. All this affected me so much in my daily life that I had to go to the psychologic to heal.”
If you knew about the rule would you have come here?
“Sure no, if I knew that the rules are harsh like this I would have never had stepped my feet into Denmark’s land. I came to rest, to build a future not to re-live the tension and the stress.
I used to live like this way in Syria, why would I endure a death trip, an anguish journey to live in suffer again. I have not tasted any joy in Syria nor in Denmark. The situations are the same.”
How do you feel about this reunification rule?
“I feel so miserable and depressed about the racism way that we are being treated with, I do not understand why they have to treat us like this? I am sure there are better ways.
We did not came here in order to ”mosey around” or “greediness in money”. I personally came out from a horrible war seeking for a peaceful life not to suffer my way to reunite with my children.”
Could you describe how the waiting time feels?
“This time of my life that I am living right now is the hardest. I am living here in body but in my mind, my heart, my soul and all my feels are with my children and family, who still lives under war. I am not sure if it is possible to reunite with them ever again. This is a question that I am living every single day thinking about.”
How is it for you to see friends around you getting their residence and settle while you are still waiting?
“I feel upset. For me it feels like the government is chosen a few random refugees and use different hard ways regarding their cases to reflect the bad image of Denmark. So in case they got asked they reveal the terrible things that they are going through in order to prevent more people of coming to Denmark.
Unluckily I am one of them. Without any reasons for the delay in my case this is the only convincing reason I have other than the sentence they keep on telling me in the Danish Immigration Service “I’m sorry, be patient”.”
What do you hope for?
“I hope to have my resident quickly and bring my children the fastest way possible before it is too late. I wish I could help them rebuild their future again so that I can plan something for my future. It seems to me that I am going to waste it. I do not know anything about my life neither about my future. I am living like a dead person, nothing is right.”
Immigration Service’s comment
New Times has asked Bjørn Hørning, Department leader in the Immigration Service, what the average waiting time for Syrians is: “We have a target of 2015 for the processing time of an average of 50 days and a target for the period from registration to act on an average of 100 days” He says. “But the current situation with increased asylum seekers have put us under pressure. Eight months is certainly not the general waiting time for a Syrian asylum seeker. We are doing everything we can to get as close to our targets as possible before the end of the year.”
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]“Sitting here like a dead man” [/quote]
With the help of Manel Tahan I managed to contact her desperate husband who is now in Syria and asked him a few questions about the situation in Damascus
Kheir El Din is a man who is currently living in Syria with his three children under difficult circumstances.
How dangerous is it in Damascus?
“The situation in Damascus is so difficult, and the security situation is crap.
Everyday explosions and many numbers of rockets fall down beside my kids and my home. Everyone get out of their houses and get ready to die on their journey to school or to work – even when you are sitting at home, you may die as well by unexpected bombs.In both cases we are living day by day.”
Where do you live?
“We do not have a home anymore. Our house was destroyed during the war. My family, my sister and my brother rent a house together. One room for each family.”
Is it still possible to buy things?
“It is worst than ever with rising prices. Now everything is ten times more expensive than before. Things like eggs, cheese, butter and milk. The meat price has went from 400 to 4000 Syrian pounds, and the bread from nine to 25 Syrian pounds. I can only buy the necessary things, such as food, to keep us alive.”
How do you feel?
“I feel desperate and frustrated. Most of the people who travelled with my wife and reached Germany has reunited with their families in a period of seven months. Except me. I am sitting here like a dead man.”
Would it be possible for you to wait for more than a year after your wife hopefully gets asylum?
“No! Definitely not. It is impossible to wait more than this. My seven years old son refuses to talk with me, I do not know what to say. I am so lost and confused. I do not know how I would be able to take my children to a country with a government that does not want them, to a government that put all kinds of rules to impede our existence there. I really do not know what we are going to do.”