M / Syria
“The Free Syrian Army entered my area, there was disorder everywhere. There were no police, nothing at all, and the Free Army was powerful and able to do anything, there was no law. It was clear sooner or later danger would reveal itself to the LGBT community.
It really began when Jabhat Al Nusra kidnapped some gays in our area. First they kidnapped some of their friends – they got their photos from their phones, and they started to hunt them. They arranged a plan to kidnap me with a guy who pretended he was gay and wanted to get acquainted with me. At first we went on a date then we decided to go to his friends place. They arranged to kidnap me from the street. It was a trap. At first they threatened to cut my head off or shoot me – they would place the knife on my neck and say to me “are you ready to die” they did the same with a gun. I suggested they bargained with my family. I was held for two weeks. My family paid about US$13,000 to set me free. Sometimes I was afraid but I had the belief it was just for money. I knew I was in serious trouble, but I refused to panic.
After I was set free, my family advised me to live in my village around my tribe. But I went to work and led my usual life.
Once I went back to my house. The house guard was shivering. He said ‘why are you here? ISIS are looking for you!’ ISIS had taken my documents.
I called my uncle who contacted them. ISIS told him ‘we need him. He is a homosexual and must be killed. He is a fugitive. It is not allowed in this state.’
My uncle made an arrangement to let me escape – I had two hours to get out. I left with only the clothes I was wearing to a city under the control of the Syrian regime, then to Damascus, then to Beirut.
The news got around my relatives and around ISIS that I am gay. My relatives want my head.
When I came to Beirut I was registered with the UN they decided I was qualified to get resettlement because I have double threats from my relatives and ISIS and people in the Lebanese community and the Lebanese law. I’ve been waiting for eight months. They have told me they are waiting for a country to resettle me.
But the more we wait the more we are danger. Everyday is like a struggle. When the day ends it doesn’t mean your struggle ends. And if you survive the previous day it doesn’t mean you will survive the next day. I am still under threat here. There are members of my tribe and family in ISIS forces and they know my location, but they told me they will hunt me soon – even if ISIS was destroyed in Syria they will take their revenge on me because I destroyed the image of my family and my tribe so the fair punishment is to cut my head off. One of them told me ‘I will be so excited to see the blood on your head when I’m cutting your throat and you are begging me to finish my work so quickly’ – he was the best friend of my cousin.
I have a sensation, when I’m thinking about this, like I’m watching a movie, it’s not about me. I feel angry with my situation, and I feel pity for my country and my people. I have an inner conflict. I have sympathy for the people who want to attack me, they are also victims to our society, our religion, maybe they haven’t an opportunity to choose their own lives.
I’m an optimistic person. I hope for a new start. I want to live in a community not only to feel safe, but I want to be an active person. I want a community to judge me for my manners or attitudes not because of my sexual orientation. I want to contribute to rebuilding my country Syria, and my new country.”
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