Imagine you are in a warzone – you are at risk, your family is at risk – what would you do?
The question was all too real for Syrian filmmaker Thaeer Muhreez.
Caught up in the hell of the Syrian conflict he came under increasing pressure to produce propaganda for the government.
He refused to do this and fearing for his life he took the agonising decision to flee.
His plan was to get to Europe and then bring the wife and one-year-old daughter he was forced to leave behind to safety too.
Hear his story in the Here in Holland Podcast – A New Life.
I worked with Thaeer at Radio Netherlands Worldwide – the first part of this podcast was recorded two years ago whilst we were colleagues.
I recently listened back to the recording and thought it would be fitting to share the story here and I also wanted to meet with Thaeer again and find out what happened to him and the wife and one-year-old daughter he was forced to leave behind.
Thaeer talks about the heart wrenching time of when he was waiting for news from the immigration services about being reunited with his family.
And the joy of when he finally got the good news.
But there’s still heartache – both Thaeer and Shimaa have family still in Syria.
And Thaeer’s parents are allowed to come and join him in the Netherlands, but they say they are too old and frail to make the move preferring to stay in their own country despite the ongoing war.
Of Syria itself Thaeer is pessimistic – “There are brothers fighting brothers, I know this. I don’t know what is wrong with people he says – maybe in ten years things might be better. But it is very difficult.”