Yahya Muhyiddin: I want to help to rebuild Syria.
Yahya Muhyiddin is a talented student who has recently finished his first year at the renowned international school UWC in Mostar. Before he moved away from his homeland, Syria, to continue his high school studies, he witnessed there a war. Yahya talked about Syria, family and studies shortly in our interview.
From which part of Syria do you come from?
I am actually Palestinan-Syrian which means that I do not originally come from any part of Syria. However, I have lived all my life in Damascus; the capital of Syria. So you can say I am from there.
What was the life before the war like? How did it change over time, when the war came to Syria?
Syria was a paradise before the war. Life was easy and everybody was happy. Services and the economical situation were very fine and even getting better. As war escalated in Syria, life had become dangerous and difficult. Going to school became very dangerous and the prices of everything rose drastically. Now, the situation is barbaric in Syria: 80% of Syria’s population is poor.
How you and your family adapted to the life during the war?
My mum continued her work and my dad immigrated to Europe in quest of security, peace and a better life. We had to struggle to get the the most basic services that we needed. Life was tough.
What about your neighborhood? Did you find a support in them or did you all begin to fear each other?
There is no much to say. But, no, nobody hated the others. My family always tried to be completely neutral during the war.
In what aspects of life you started to find enjoyment after war?
Security. In Syria, the sounds of war, the scenes of war, the scents of war, all of war is horrible. To be secure and living in peace is the thing that I want the most. During the war, people had to stay in there houses most of the time, it was safer there. Living away from war, people can enjoy themselves again: they can go swimming, or have a nice walk here or there without being scared of the horros and the nightmares of war.
It seems that the war did not stop you from your studies. How you perceived education before and after war?/ Have you noticed any shift in your perception of education?
Before the war, I have studied in UNRWA schools, it was completely fine. During the war, I got accepted to the NCD (the National Center of distinguish) which is a very known high school in Syria but I could not go there because the NCD was in a different province and being away from my family in a country that suffers from war was not recommended. My perception in education has utterly changed. I view education now as a process of comprehending and attaining beneficial and fruitful skills, it is not memorization nor is it the mere knowledge of facts and historical events.
Was it hard to get outside of Syria to continue your studies?
Not that much except for the long of waiting to get the approval of the Lebanese authorities to travel to Lebanon so I could fly from Beirut to Sarajevo.
Was the Syrian war your motivation to leave country and study at UWC or was it something different?
It was both. I wanted to find some security and peace. But, at the same time, I have always been a cosmopolitan person: I liked to travel and to meet people from different countries. I can confedently say that the love of exploring and learning about other cultures is mixed with my DNA.
What do you want to become in your life?
I want to become a scientist who will benefit humanity with his research. I believe that a successful person is a person who leaves a noble trace behind him. I also want to work to provide education to the millions of Syrian children who were deprived from this basic human right.
Would you return back to Syria if by any chance the war will end in near future? If so/If not, for what reason?
Yeah, I would, most probably, unless for education or life circumstances. The reason is that I love Syria. For me, Syria is so beautiful. I want to help to rebuild Syria. That can only be achieved with education. Syria’s children must be educated because when they grow up, they will be engineers, doctors and workers who will rebuild the country. These kids must learn something very important and it can only be conveyed through education which is to respect others and to value peace and peaceful coexistence.
I owe Syria a lot. Before the war, I never thought of leaving Syria permanently. Syria’s people, culture, historical sites and ancient ruins are magnificent. The country was to beautiful and rich. Yes, I want to help Syria to restore its former glory.
Interview: Michaela Weberová
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