Jubran inspires himself and others

Jubran - Don't let others decide - aeuoeu

Name: Jubran
Age: 22
Country of origin: Syria

Initially, when interviewing Jubran some doubts were raised whether this was indeed 22 year old HAVO-student Jubran from Syria. It turned out he was, speaking Hagenees like it was no big deal, complete with some typical Haagse bluf. He tends to ‘blame’ his accent on his perfectionism, or as he would put it: “I only do things well or I don’t do it at all”.

What would be your absolute dream, Jubran?
I want to become a great man. I don’t know what kind of great man yet, but in any case one that is happily living his life, without having to worry about money. And one that is well-educated of course.

Next to that, I would like to sing more often than I do now. Singing is my passion, but I don’t really do it that much nowadays, as bar owners want me to sing songs that I don’t like. I love singing songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, mostly with Arabic roots, but obviously, that’s not that well aligned with Dutch folk music.

Your travel to the Netherlands seems pretty unusual. Can you tell us more about this?
Well, it was no luxury cruise of course, but it was okay. The boat we took from Turkey to Greece carried ‘only’ thirty people. After arriving in Greece, we were lucky enough to continue our journey by airplane. We haven’t been exposed to any danger on our trip, fortunately. Why? Because, first of all, I had enough money. Secondly, I managed to act rationally. It is very important to behave ‘conventionally’. The police will notice any suspicious behaviour immediately, which may trouble one’s passage.

Once here, what attracted you most?
For me, the Netherlands equals freedom. Human rights are valued properly. There’s no such thing as a handful of people exerting power, like in Syria. What is also pretty valuable to me, is the degree of impartiality the Dutch employed during recent wars. They have mostly been focusing on protecting their people, instead of damaging opponents.

Next to that, I’m quite sure I’ll be able to realize my dreams over here, which is obviously also not unimportant.

Jubran - Don't let others decide - aeuoeu

Is there, nonetheless, any advice you would like to give to the Dutch?
Yes, although it wouldn’t necessarily be directed at Dutch people, but at society in general. Deal with your issues ‘simply’  by working on yourself. Stop thinking about the past and look forward to what is yet to come. There’s no way you can exert control, nor influence over the past. 

You come across as having a strong personality. Do you agree?
Yes. I’m aware that the following may sound a bit strange - but I try to inspire others and myself. I think I just have it in me. I came here by myself, I’ve done everything on my own. In Syria, on the contrary, I was pampered more or less. I even had a private teacher. Realizing this transformation, it makes me even more proud to see where I am now. The man standing behind me today, is me. 

Jubran - Don't let others decide - aeuoeu

Photography: Chavez van den Born
Supported by: Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland

Disclaimer: this interview was conducted in Dutch and has been translated and rewritten to English.