Syrian Tears in Istanbul

Syrian Tears in Istanbul

On my way back from applying for my Turkish residency a process that reminded me so much of being back in Damascus, not only the chaotic bureaucracy and complete lack of information but also the fact that the building was full of Syrians, a babble of various Syrian dialects grumbling at the 200 Turkish Lira fee, a small price it may seem for security but still a hefty sum nevertheless for most, handing over my privileged claret passport cost another 175 TL on top of that, I also grumbled in various dialects but mostly cockney, the air of despondency followed me into a shopping mall just down the road, sitting beside a water fountain performing to orchestral commands beyond my comprehension, I logged onto Starbucks fading wifi signal while some tourists from the far east snapped away at the aquatic display.
A more depressing globalized environment would be hard to imagine I thought as I surveyed my surroundings, once again it’s the Syrians that grab my attention, this time a young women pushing a child in a buggy, she looks upset and as though she’s about to burst into tears, she’s followed by a couple of young lads, aged about seven and eight they all sit down on the step of the plaza and no sooner sitting she does burst into tears, the boys are kicking their heals, soon they are joined by who clearly must be her husband and another son, they are well dressed, not wealthy but typical Syrian middle class, families like this I would see everyday shopping along sharia Hamra, her tears could be nothing more serious that the usual marital trauma brought on by a visit to overpriced shopping mall but I can’t help feeling it’s another sad Syrian story, he paces around the plaza trying to call on his phone, he seems agitated and looks as though he is just trying to do something, anything, he knows it’s his job to solve the situation and he is making the calls, the look in his eyes show a lack of confidence, the women is sobbing non-stop and I just want him to go and comfort her, I want to go and talk with them but I don’t, over the last almost three years I have witnessed the tears of Syrians sobbing countless times, on occasion I have tried to console but what you can you say or do, futile reassurance that everything is going to be okay, they really do seem like a nice family, they seem lost and out of their depth, I have listened to the conversations before on what to do for the best, to leave Syria or stay, to go where and do what, how much money do we have and how long will it last, what country accepts a Syrian passport, who will give me a job, what about the car and the house, what about the rest of the family, the decisions to leave are not easy, she sits there alone tears running down her face, like the nation she has left behind, alone and broken.