Malek and Me…

Malek, Me and our third friend Many-Beers

My name is Tara. I came to Berlin to do an internship for my over-priced university degree. I live in the centre of the city with fun roommates. I hate the traffic noise. I prefer rolled cigarettes to real ones. My name is Malek. I came to Berlin because Syria is at war and my hometown of Homs became too dangerous overnight. I live in a refugee camp in Forst with other refugees. I hate the suspended existence we are all living in. I prefer rolled cigarettes to real ones.

My mother is in India. I talk to her once in a while and worry that she works too much. But I know she is proud of me and therefore she is happy. My father is in Syria and I worry about the threats made to his life. But I know he knows I am safe and therefore he is happy.

I like economics and entrepreneurship because they force you to study the rule yet be the exception. I think only with innovation will we find a cure for the human condition. I studied robotics because I love creating new things. I made a mechanical library that reduces storage space and electronically delivers book. I believe only with invention will we find a cure for the human condition.

My name is Tara. I fell in love with and in Berlin. I’m 23 and my German sucks. My name is Malek. I fell in love with and in Berlin. I’m 22 and my German sucks. We should really do something about that.

I read the news everyday. I read about Syria and try to find out more about the Arab Spring. I think about what this has meant for the world. I wonder why Europe’s borders stay so tightly closed. I think the EU, the Schengen agreement, the euro, must all be useless if they can’t even unite Europe on the most basic human rights issue. I wonder why people are still stupid enough to think change is bad, don’t they know that change is inevitable and only they that anticipate and accept it can build a better, smarter world. I feel like Europe is a bubble not a fortress, as I’ve heard it described. And all bubbles burst (in the stock market and in life). ISIS, Hezbollah and Assad have come to be synonymous with terror and anger and shame for Syrians. So many theories, politics, philosophies about war. And yet all I can think about is my friend, who is sitting next to me. He hasn’t seen his daughter since she was born. She is 5 months old now. Her name is Talia. As soon as he gets his stay permit, they can be a family again. The news is our life.

My friend sent me a giant bucket of Nutella for my birthday because he wants to kill me. I will ask Malek if he wants it because I think I may finish it one day. Tara gave me a giant bucket of Nutella and said take it to the camp because “the guy who sent it to me is trying to make me fat”. I think I will need the help of all the other refugees to finish this in one day.

Malek is my friend and he’s awesome. He’s a bit crazy but in a good way. Sometimes when he talks I forget how young he is. Tara is my friend and she’s awesome even though she wrote that herself.

What is the difference between Syrian refugees and economic refugees, say from Africa? A delicate question. War needs a solution now, and poverty needs a solution over time. War displaced Syria. We would go back if we could, no one chooses to leave their home. I think we’ve had many wars in human history but this is the worst one. Because we should have learnt by now.

Malek got me a hat with a blobby thing on top for my birthday (we’re wearing it in the picture). For some strange reason I feel compelled to move my head from side to side. This is hilarious. It’s Malek again. Tara is stupid.

War is stupid. This one particularly so (she said somewhat naively). But at this moment in history, I’m most concerned about the human trafficking empire we have around us. The one built by truly evil smugglers, the reason why Europe is worried. I came to Germany through Turkey, legally. I am one in a few hundred thousand Syrians who had the good fortune of doing so.

My name is Tara. My ultimate goal in life is to be everything I can be and help others do the same. I won’t let the stresses of daily life stop me from reaching this goal. My name is Malek and my ultimate goal in life is to be everything I can be and help others do the same. I won’t let a war starring chemical weapons and baby-killing soldiers stop me from reaching this goal.

Originally published on


Addition: October 22nd, 2015. Thank you for all the love. Malek and I are very grateful you consider our words worthy of your time. ❤ T