Marlon Langeland looking over one of the Informal Tented Settlements in Saadnayel in the Bekaa valley in Lebanon that is housing Syrian refugees. 

Photo: Ingebjørg Kårstad/NRC.
Les billedteksten I nettserien Marlon's Journey møter Marlon Langeland ungdom på flukt fra noen av verdens største kriser. Første reise gikk til Libanon. Landet er på størrelse med Rogaland fylke og har siden starten av Syria-krisen for syv år siden tatt imot omtrent 1,5 millioner syriske flyktninger. Her er Marlon i en uoffisiell bosetning for syriske flyktninger i Bekaa-dalen. Foto: Ingebjørg Kårstad/Flyktninghjelpen

– Jeg vet ikke hva jeg tenker. Jeg skjelver.

Gro Kirkeby|Publisert 26. nov 2018
Marlon Langeland, skuespiller fra TV-serien Skam, stotrer fram ordene. Han har nettopp møtt 20-årige Samar, som flyktet fra krigen i Syria for fem år siden.

Samar har funnet trygghet i Libanon, men ikke så mye mer. Livet hennes er snudd på hodet: Hun har sluttet å studere jus og jobber for å forsørge familien. Om hun noen gang får tatt opp utdanningen igjen, har hun få muligheter til å praktisere yrket sitt i Libanon. Årsak: Hun er syrisk flyktning.

Fra krig til et liv på vent

Nittenårige Marlon finner ikke helt ordene, han er tydelig preget av det hun har fortalt. Ikke så rart, når det eneste man vet om krig, er det man har sett på TV eller lest på internett og i bøker.

Som de aller fleste hjemme i Norge.

Nå står hun foran ham – en som har kjent krigen på kroppen. Samar har nettopp fortalt Marlon om mannen hun elsket i Syria. Han var på besøk hos venner da huset de befant seg i ble bombet. Han ble drept.

–  Samar hadde alt foran seg, hun skulle studere. Hun hadde funnet den personen hun virkelig elsket, og så blir alt helt motsatt. Den du elsker dør, blir drept!

Marlon er tydelig opprørt under innspillingen av første episode av serien Marlon’s Journey til Instagram TV.

Se hele episoden her. 

I nettserien møter han ungdom på flukt fra noen av verdens største kriser.

Første reise gikk til Libanon. Landet er på størrelse med Rogaland fylke og har siden starten av Syria-krisen for syv år siden tatt imot omtrent 1,5 millioner syriske flyktninger.

Hun hadde alt foran seg, hun skulle studere. Hun hadde funnet den personen hun virkelig elsket, og så blir alt helt motsatt. Den du elsker dør, blir drept!
Marlon Langeland
This is Samar. A 20-year-old girl from Idlib in northern Syria. In 2012, she escaped the war in Syria and fled to safety in Lebanon with her family. She now lives in a tent in an Informal Tented Settlement (ITS) in the Bekaa valley with her parents and five siblings. “My family and I left Syria because of the fighting and to save the children and remain alive. I felt sad and it was painful to leave my country, my friends, and relatives”, says Samar.   

“When I was younger I dreamt of becoming a lawyer but after I fled from Syria this dream was crushed. I am the breadwinner of the family now, so I can't tell them I want to pursue my dream.” Instead of studying in University she is spending six hours a day, six days a week, doing manual labour in agriculture in exchange for living for free on the land of the farmer. Samar and her sister are the breadwinners of the family of eight since her father is unable to work because of his poor health. The main income is from the food allowance from the World Food Programme and also UNHCR CASH programme. 

“I worry a lot about my father because of his health condition. I worry about my grandma who is still in Syria. I worry about not being able to renew my residency permit. I worry about the situation in Syria. I worry about my friends in Syria because they are far away from me.”

The war did not only crush her dream of becoming a lawyer, it also stole the love of her life, Said. The man she was about to get engaged to. The love of her life. “I had pictured my life with this man to be very beautiful. Any girl would have dreamed about it. He had a good personality, he was elegant. Every time when I used to see him I felt true happiness.” Said got killed in an explosion. “I feel a huge sorrow. The first two years were very difficult for me. I couldn't accept that it happened,” Samar says quietly. “At first when I think about him, to our memories, I feel happiness. But then, I feel sorrow because this is something that I lost, he is gone. After Said died, I don't trust anymore, I haven't been able to believe in love anymore.”

Despite her worries and her sorrow Samar has a drive in her to make the future better. “I am always optimistic for the future, I will never stop my optimism,” she smiles. “Said, may his soul rest in peace, used to love me because I was always an optimist. Life has to continue no matter what and he never liked to see me sad. He loved to see the smile on my face and not that I would be depressed.”
			
So, Samar uses her optimism and drive to make life better for her family and the ones living in her ITS. She is an IFP (information focal point) for NRC. “I help people with hygiene promotion practices, I give them awareness session, and I encourage them that we together should help out to collect garbage to prevent diseases. If a fire breaks out, I put it down. If someone hurt themselves I support with first aid. I check the latrines to make sure they are clean. I give the children hygiene promotion session about how to wash their hands. Also, if parents want to register their children in school I help them. If someone needs to get to the hospital I support them.  If someone wants to do birth registration I help them talk to the lawyers,” explains Samar. In addition to this, she also teaches a young girl in the ITS to read and write. 
Samar dreams of moving back home to Idlib. “Syria was very beautiful, anyone would have wished to live there. It was very safe. Boys and girls would be out playing till late nights with no problem. No one would cause them harm. Syrian people were very generous and they had high manners. Life was very beautiful. However, I am afraid that Syria won't return to what it was before.”				
	
Photo: Ingebjørg Kårstad/NRC.
Les billedteksten Samar har funnet trygghet i Libanon, men ikke så mye mer. Livet hennes er snudd på hodet: Hun har sluttet å studere jus og jobber for å forsørge familien. Foto: Ingebjørg Kårstad/Flyktninghjelpen


Under press: 1 av 4 er flyktninger

I dag er en fjerdedel av befolkningen i landet flyktninger. Selv om mange av dem føler seg trygge i Libanon, er fortsatt livet satt på vent. Så mange som 74 prosent av syriske flyktninger over 15 år i Libanon mangler papirer på oppholdstillatelse – det er for dyrt. Det betyr at de har få muligheter til å fortsette utdanningen sin, få seg jobb og starte et nytt, normalt liv i Libanon.

– Selv om du har utdanning, er det vanskelig å få seg jobb i Libanon om du er syrisk flyktning. De har få muligheter for å jobbe og kan bare ta arbeid innenfor jordbruk, bygg eller andre sesongjobber. De som mangler papirer på oppholdstillatelse, har begrenset tilgang til helsetjenester og utdanning, og de har ikke mulighet til å bevege seg fritt rundt, forteller Racha El Daoi, kommunikasjonsrådgiver for Flyktninghjelpen i Libanon.

Landet er under et enormt press for å dekke humanitære behov som utdanning, husly og mat til alle som har søkt tilflukt her. Nå lever hele 76 prosent av syriske flyktninger under fattigdomsgrensen.

Les mer om flyktningsituasjonen i Libanon og Flyktninghjelpens arbeid i landet her.

– Situasjonen for flyktninger i Libanon blir stadig verre syv år inn i den syriske flyktningkrisen. Derfor er det helt avgjørende med internasjonal støtte og hjelp for at de humanitære behovene i landet skal blir møtt, sier Racha El Daoi.

Men Samar nekter å la livet stoppe opp fordi hun er på flukt i et fremmed land. Det skylder hun mannen hun elsket, forteller hun. Han hadde villet at hun kjempet videre for å gjøre drømmene sine til virkelighet.

– Hun er et utrolig godt eksempel på hva en sterk person er. Hun har så mange odds imot deg, men fortsetter å jobbe, kjempe og passe på dem hun er glad i, sier Marlon.

 

When Osama was 15 years old he fled from the war in Syria together with his parents and four siblings. Now, five years later, he is 20 years old and has just seen his dreams for the future shattered yet another time. 

Osama grew up in the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus. A modern, vibrant and stable city until the war broke out in 2011. He lived a normal life. Went to school. “My country was a nice place to live in. I reached grade 10 in this school. I loved being there,” says Osama. “We lived in an area like Beirut. There were buildings and streets, it was not a village. Our flat was on the ground floor, with three rooms and two gardens. It's awful, because when I was a child, I had a dream to build my future life in that area. I wanted to become a doctor, and open a clinic in my house. My father and mother used to tell us, my siblings and I, that we will transform the house into a medical centre, each room for each one of you.  But we cannot do it now. So, I should find alternative solutions, alternative dreams.”
				
“Maybe you heard about the chemical attacks in 2013? We were near the spot where the chemical attacks happened. After the attacks, president Obama said that he will attack Syria or some points in Syria, so we left. We decided to leave Syria for 3 months, we hoped that the condition in our country would become safer. But the conditions stayed the same, not stable.”
			
“Maybe I should start with the positive things. I am a student in the university. I got a scholarship here. My family is with me. I am sure this is a good thing. My friends' families stayed in Syria.” The dream of becoming a doctor and open a clinic is put on hold for Osama. “Now, I am a computer science student, maybe I will find myself there. I hope I can open a mobile school to teach people.” To be closer to university, Osama lives in a shared flat with nine other Syrian youths in central Beirut. They are close knit group who support each other through thick and thin. His family rents an apartment outside Beirut, and Osama spends his weekends there with them. 

For a Syrian refugee living in Lebanon, there are many limitations. Osama and his older sister are the breadwinners of the family and feel the big burden on their young shoulders. “Even if you found an opportunity to complete your education, and you have a master degree or a PHD for example to become a doctor, you are not allowed to work. Living here is very expensive, so you need a lot of money. My biggest challenge is that the economic situation is so bad, not for me, but for all the Syrian families.”, says Osama. 

“Maybe the bad things here, as a Syrian guy in Lebanon, there are a lot of regulations that restrict my life, which make me not like a normal guy. Right now, I don’t have an official residency, so I cannot go to every place I want. I entered Lebanon legally, but you have to pay $200 per year for each person above 15 years old for a residency permit. So, if your family consists of seven members like ours, you have to pay $1000 yearly. I didn't pay, so they took my passport and now I cannot move or leave this country.” 

Osama and his family have tried to find another way to build their future elsewhere. They applied for resettlement. After a long process, including two interviews, Osama got the phone call. They were rejected. “I feel I am in a big jail. Like an animal in a zoo,” says Osama with tears in his eyes.  The rejection was a big blow for Osama and his dreams for the future for himself and his family. “I cannot go back to Syria, and I cannot leave this country. So, I will try to live here.” Osama tries to think positive. “I consider Lebanon my second country, I love Lebanon so I want to serve this country. I want to build my family here. When I came here they said welcome, so I owe them one.”

Photo: Ingebjørg Kårstad/NRC.
Les billedteksten Osama bor sammen med ni andre syriske flyktninger i en liten leilighet i Beirut, hovedstaden i Libanon. De har klart å skape seg et fellesskap, går på skole og lager mat sammen. Holder hverandre gående. Foto: Ingebjørg Kårstad/Flyktninghjelpen


Drømmen som brast

Noen dager tidligere, på flyet til Libanon, snakker Marlon om faren som kom til Norge som politisk flyktning fra Chile. Han vil forstå familiehistorien sin bedre, vite mer om innholdet ordet "flyktning" faktisk fylles med. Er det slik han har sett det på TV? Hvor lenge er man på flukt? Hvordan bor man?

I Libanon forstår han at svarene er like mange som antallet flyktninger i verden. Mens Samar bodde i en uoffisiell leir en time utenfor Beirut, møter Marlon Osama i en anonym boligblokk i den libanesiske hovedstaden.

De har begge stort, krøllete brunt hår, de strekker seg like langt fra bakken og går med samme vuggende rytme i stegene. Marlon ler og kommenterer likheten.

Osama bor med ni andre syriske flyktninger i den lille leiligheten. De har klart å skape seg et fellesskap, går på skole og lager mat sammen. Holder hverandre gående.

– Vi må hjelpe hverandre, studere, bli bedre, sier han. Men for øyeblikket er ikke fremtidsutsiktene lyse. Osama og familien har nettopp fått avslag på søknaden om opphold i et tredje land – et "nei" til drømmen om en trygg fremtid, en hverdag med jobb, studier og mulighet til å leve som normalt.

Osama og familien er en del av en dyster statistikk. Få mennesker kommer seg gjennom nåløyet i kvoteflyktningordningen, selv om løsningen er det eneste lovlige og trygge alternativet for å få opphold i et tredje land.

Marlon and Osama at home in the flat where Osama's parents and siblings live utside of Beirut. 

When Osama was 15 years old he fled from the war in Syria together with his parents and four siblings. Now, five years later, he is 20 years old and has just seen his dreams for the future shattered yet another time. 

Osama grew up in the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus. A modern, vibrant and stable city until the war broke out in 2011. He lived a normal life. Went to school. “My country was a nice place to live in. I reached grade 10 in this school. I loved being there,” says Osama. “We lived in an area like Beirut. There were buildings and streets, it was not a village. Our flat was on the ground floor, with three rooms and two gardens. It's awful, because when I was a child, I had a dream to build my future life in that area. I wanted to become a doctor, and open a clinic in my house. My father and mother used to tell us, my siblings and I, that we will transform the house into a medical centre, each room for each one of you.  But we cannot do it now. So, I should find alternative solutions, alternative dreams.”
				
“Maybe you heard about the chemical attacks in 2013? We were near the spot where the chemical attacks happened. After the attacks, president Obama said that he will attack Syria or some points in Syria, so we left. We decided to leave Syria for 3 months, we hoped that the condition in our country would become safer. But the conditions stayed the same, not stable.”
			
“Maybe I should start with the positive things. I am a student in the university. I got a scholarship here. My family is with me. I am sure this is a good thing. My friends' families stayed in Syria.” The dream of becoming a doctor and open a clinic is put on hold for Osama. “Now, I am a computer science student, maybe I will find myself there. I hope I can open a mobile school to teach people.” To be closer to university, Osama lives in a shared flat with nine other Syrian youths in central Beirut. They are close knit group who support each other through thick and thin. His family rents an apartment outside Beirut, and Osama spends his weekends there with them. 

For a Syrian refugee living in Lebanon, there are many limitations. Osama and his older sister are the breadwinners of the family and feel the big burden on their young shoulders. “Even if you found an opportunity to complete your education, and you have a master degree or a PHD for example to become a doctor, you are not allowed to work. Living here is very expensive, so you need a lot of money. My biggest challenge is that the economic situation is so bad, not for me, but for all the Syrian families.”, says Osama. 

“Maybe the bad things here, as a Syrian guy in Lebanon, there are a lot of regulations that restrict my life, which make me not like a normal guy. Right now, I don’t have an official residency, so I cannot go to every place I want. I entered Lebanon legally, but you have to pay $200 per year for each person above 15 years old for a residency permit. So, if your family consists of seven members like ours, you have to pay $1000 yearly. I didn't pay, so they took my passport and now I cannot move or leave this country.” 

Osama and his family have tried to find another way to build their future elsewhere. They applied for resettlement. After a long process, including two interviews, Osama got the phone call. They were rejected. “I feel I am in a big jail. Like an animal in a zoo,” says Osama with tears in his eyes.  The rejection was a big blow for Osama and his dreams for the future for himself and his family. “I cannot go back to Syria, and I cannot leave this country. So, I will try to live here.” Osama tries to think positive. “I consider Lebanon my second country, I love Lebanon so I want to serve this country. I want to build my family here. When I came here they said welcome, so I owe them one.”

Photo: Ingebjørg Kårstad/NRC.
Les billedteksten Marlon og Osama har begge stort, krøllete brunt hår når de møtes i Beirut. Foto: Ingebjørg Kårstad/Flyktninghjelpen


– Du er nødt til å gjøre noe for å overleve

Mot slutten av besøket i Libanon, har Marlon vanskelig for å sortere alle inntrykkene. Det ligner ikke noe han har sett eller hørt om før. Samtidig er det oppløftende å se at ungdommene han møter har en viktig ting til felles:

– Uansett hvor du er, så er du nødt til å gjøre noe for å overleve eller drive livet videre. Det er akkurat det jeg har sett her. Folk som jobber med det de har og som nekter å gi opp.

Racha El Daoi mener det er viktig og inspirerende at ungdom som Marlon bruker av tiden sin på å skape oppmerksomhet rundt en spesielt sårbar gruppe som ungdom på flukt.

– At Marlon gjør dette, gjør at vi kan skape bevissthet rundt situasjonen flyktninger lever i. Vi kan heve kunnskapen om Syria-krisen og hvordan den påvirker ungdom. Spesielt siden syrisk ungdom pleide å ha et ganske likt liv som norsk ungdom. Et liv med drømmer, ambisjoner, håp og planer for fremtiden. Forskjellen er at krig har tvunget dem på flukt.