غابة صغيرة في الجهة المقابلة

A Small Forest on the Other Side

Eyad Abou Kasem

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I’m from Damascus, Syria and in the summer of 2015 I left for Europe, traveling overland to Turkey, crossing to Greece by boat. I traveled light, with my camera and 7 rolls of Tri-X film. From there I made my way up to Germany, where I applied for asylum and was assigned to a refugee camp in Würzburg in the state of Bavaria. I made the photographs in this series with a small digital camera once in Germany, and it is a sort of photo diary in which I try to describe my feelings about the situation I’ve found myself in as a new refugee, which maybe also reflects the experience of refugees in general. Leaving my country at war to come live in a refugee camp, I’m full of conflicting feelings I’ve never felt before. They’re unsettling and weigh heavily, and are sometimes even absurd, starting small, with the upsetting conditions I find myself in, and finishing with my foggy future.

Syria

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Self portrait. Refugee camp at the Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg, Bavaria. Germany.

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Where are we? Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg.

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Have I seen this before?

Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg, Germany.

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A very "useful" sex education website made by the Germans for refugees to learn from.

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A European fairytale.

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A trace of the fairytale.

Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg.

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Where to go?

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What is reality?

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For a long time the idea of the disintegration and draining of the "SYRIAN" in general had been bothering me, and not just because of the war and its aftermath. This scene on the beach was my first welcome to Europe. I framed the shot to look like the behind the scenes on a film or even cheesy advertising of "Us." Even before starting my journey I knew I was going to take this picture, it seemed so obvious to me.

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Refugee camp at the Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg.

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A family portrait.

Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg.

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Refugee camp at the Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg.

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How long have we been here? Somewhere in Germany.

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Refugee camp at the Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg.

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Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg.

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How to deal with it?

Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg

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Can we stay close?

Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg.

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Refugee camp at the Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg.

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Heim 3

A building in which people or animals who need assisted living can be cared for.

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Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg.

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When can I return?

Somewhere in Germany.

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Heim 2

A place for accommodating and support for a particular group of people.

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Heim 1

The house or apartment in which someone lives.

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Ernie: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Gee, it's really great to be here. Right, Bert?
Bert: Ah, I guess so.
Ernie: Oh, what's wrong, Bert?
Bert: Well, I mean, I feel funny being here, this is a big TV variety show, you know?
Ernie: So?
Bert: I'm no performer.
(The Muppet Show: Connie Stevens #1.2, 1977)

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Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg.

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Balthasar-Neumann-Kaserne military base in Würzburg.

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Eyad Abou Kasem

Syria

Eyad Abou Kasem was born in Damascus, Syria. He graduated from Damascus University with a BA in English/Arabic translation. Eyad started photographing in 2007, falling in love film and the B&W developing process, which he would do himself at home. In the summer of 2015 Eyad left Damascus for Europe, traveling by sea from Turkey to Greece, and then overland into Germany, where he is currently based.