Facebook: GARAJAT AL-MSHANTATIN For Syrian Refugees!

Facebook: GARAJAT AL-MSHANTATIN For Syrian Refugees!
Investigations | 17 Sep 2015

“Hey people—my two brothers boarded a palm [rubber dinghy] from Izmir yesterday, and I haven’t heard back from them since," wrote a Syrian girl on the wall of the "Garajat al-Mshantatin” [Stranded People’s Bus-stop] on Facebook, dedicated to Syrians.

With this Simple phrase was attached a picture of a young man who seems to be in his twenties, carrying a child of almost four; on the hope that one of the group’s members may eventually recognize the two young brothers, and give succour to the distressed young lady—but, alas, to no avail.

The “MshantatIn" group seems to have borrowed a lot from its name—a group with no identifiable character or specific orientation, laden with supplications and prayers to ease the plight of the refugees; so-and-so inquiring about access via steamboats leading to Turkey; another looking for the contact details of a smuggler to Greece; and another for the telephone number of a document forger for a passport. One of the more outlandish—and impossible requests—was someone’s inquiry about the travel time between a city in Macedonia and a city in Serbia; by train and by car; and the cost of both!

Good Samaritans

As soon as one enters the group and flips through the posts, one has the impression that the entire Syrian people have become members, searching for a way to seek asylum. One cannot help but say, "The Syrian people still loves and desires to do good for others—in spite of everything."

Abdul Ghani, a recent good samaritan in the group, offers answers for new inquiries. He tells Rozana: "I have benefited a lot from this group before I arrived in Germany weeks ago. Today, I am trying to give back to the group, as well as to my Syrian brethren, as much as I can.” The young man finds that "the membership of the group is on the rise… this shows just how effective it is.”

Dead Ends

In one post, a woman writes: “For the love of God,” she was supplicating the group members to guide her to the best escape and refuge route to Europe, and how to request being reunited with her young children, whom she intends to leave behind in Syria [for the dangerous trek]. This was the last solution she had reached to escape the humiliation and indignity in which she and her children wallowed inside [the country]—in her own words.

The situation has exacerbated to an extent that led others to an irreversible dead end. One member—with a pseudonym and no profile picture—asks what a soldier in the Syrian regime's army, with no identity card or passport with which he may be able to secure access to Turkey, can do to go on his trip towards asylum. He was hopeful for a “swift answer.”

Not Without Entertainment!

Anyone reading the group’s posts, will not constantly be overcome with sorrow and chagrin at all time;"Garajat al-Mshantatin” is not without its share of comic stories and attitudes posted by members dispersed all over Europe.

One such post tells of an "Indian claiming Syrian nationality in a funny manner in front of German police; a gazelle pursuing a Syrian [immigrant] in European forests, and almost catching him.” Another assumed To be the spokesperson for Syrian youth in Germany, advising Syrian women inside the country to emigrate to Germany, justifying his suggestion by stating, jokingly, that "they will not be able to find a suitable male groom in Syria anymore." As well as other stories, mostly involving black satire of the bleak reality of Syrians, and the dire straits to which they have presently arrived.

A Multiplication of Refugees

With summer nearing its end, and the cold season approaching with its high tides; Europe’s beaches await yet more refugees fleeing the war in Syria and elsewhere. This has prompted several EU countries to erect walls or barbed wire in front of refugees; while other countries—such as Germany—opened their gates to them.

Ramez is a young man who was detained in Hungary on his trip to Germany. He posts in “Garajat al-Mshantatin,” saying: "Hungary does not want refugees; the refugees do not wish to stay in Hungary either. What are you detaining us for, then!!” Another young man attributes this procedure—in a comment on this same post—to political reasons, stating his belief that both Hungary and the European Union are trying to exploit this tide.

The Biggest Challenge

At the end of 2014, Syria ranked as the largest exporter in the world for the internally displaced [7.6 million people], as well as refugees abroad [3.88 million people]. These groups, thereby, constitute the largest group of refugees as a result of a single conflict within one generation—according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The UNHCR expects the number of refugees to total circa 4.27 million people by the end of 2015.

Hiba—who sought asylum alongside her family in Germany almost two years ago—finds that “Syrians in Europe face yet a greater challenge than having lost their homes and have been forcibly displaced.” In her opinion, "They now face a new life, and an unclear future; one where there no longer is a pro- [regime] or opponent. This no longer matters in the faraway [refugee] camp.”

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