From the series "ERGO SUM": Mona Valbona(KUNSTASYL photo Joachim Gern)
From the series ERGO SUM - Mona Valbona

In her memories she wades through mud and carries water. The streets in her village with 200 inhabitants were unpaved. As firstborn she looked after the small agricultural holding, together with her mother and six siblings. Her father had gone to work in Greece to support the family.
When Valbona was eigtheen the family moved to the capital Tirana, five houres away.

Never in her life has she felt herself to be free, she says.
Her mother adviced her: "Get married! Perhaps a husband can offer you something better".

She now wishes for a better life for her own daughter.Den Wunsch nach einem besseren Leben hegt sie nun auch für ihre eigenen Tochter - not only eight years of primary school, but also an apprenticeship.

For herself she dreams of a life like which women in Germany lead: independant and with the opportunity to fulfill her own personal wishes and those of others.
Her son Denis is autistic. He needs intensive medical care. After years of incorrect medical treatment in Albania, the family decided to seek asylum in Germany.

Her applicantion has not yet been decided on. The tolerance of the family was converted to residence permit, limited until november 2016.

Valbona (caveng_KUNSTASYL photo Joachim Gern)
Valbona, Brisilda und Denis (KUNSTASYL photo Joachim Gern)
Valbona, Brisilda and Denis
Detail room 113 (KUNSTASYL photo Joachim Gern)
Detail room 113 (KUNSTASYL photo Joachim Gern)

Mohamed Firas, his mother, his sisters

 Mohamed Firas, born 1997 in Baalbek, Libanon. He is sharing a single room with his mother Fatima and his sisters Hania, Batoul and Samah. The family is currently preparing the move to an apartment in Berlin aerea Alt-Mierendorf . Mohamed Firas performed in Lebanon as a clown of the group  Opens external link in new windowTry to live with a smile. His barbershop was just equiped, when he had to leave the country

room_113_caveng_KUNSTASYL photo TR
room 113 detail
room_113_caveng_KUNSTASYL photo TR
room_113_caveng_KUNSTASYL photo TR
room_113_caveng_KUNSTASYL photo TR


Baalbek is like this.... If you look around.... you see mountains and mountains and mountains. And there is a castle. Baalbek castle. A big castle. There are too much visitors coming for the castle.

We are in Asia. The weather is not like here. Here if there is sun, maybe after one hour there is rain. We are in aequator: so the summer is summer and the winter is winter. In the summer it will never rain. The palastine live in Saida and Beirut and these camps... they have the sea... But the the Palastine who live in Baalbek they have the fruits, mountains ad the orchard. And the Palastinian people go to hunt birds and rabbits.

I was born in Baalbek. But my father and the family of my father live in Syria. When I was seven years or eight years my father went to Syria to go to hospital to make a surgery. But in real he went for a women. He went to marry an other women. I loved my father too much. When i was alone at the home and I wanted something he went to buy it for me. And when he went to Syria and married maybe after two years.... I saw my father but I thought, he is not my father. Until now, when I talk with my father: "Ja... my father, how are you, alles gut? OK, danke schön, bitte schön. Tschüss..."

My mother was cooking in a restaurant Fallafel and she took care of us. I was living with my mother and four sisters. The restaurant was in the camp for palastinian. It is not like a HEIM. In a camp for palastinian people are no Libanon people. The Libanon people say - „Das ist ein Camp“ There are houses, everybody has three rooms. The Libanon people hate Palastine people. Because the Libanese People say, Palastine people make problem in this country, etc. My school was in the camp. Everything was in the camp. But we could go outside everywhere, everywhere. There lived about 9000 people in the camp. But now maybe 5000, because most of the people go to Germany, orDänemark..

In 2004 the Libanon government wanted to take down the camp, but they couldn't... I don't know if you know... Palstine has Fatah and Hamas and they were with each other and they did not allowed to make problem to this camp.

I would like to have a german passport. Because the passport of palastine is nothing. I can not travel where I want. To arabic countries I can not. If I live in Libanon I stay in Libanon, if I live in Syria I stay in Syria, I can not move. Even to Palastine... I can not go to my country. The first country for me is Palastine and the second is Libanon. I don't see palastine as a country, but in my heart.

The situation in Syria – The Syrian people were not aloud to live in Libanon. The goverment want all the Syrian people to go out of Libanon. The Palastinian Syrian. If we go to Syria, we don't have home, we don't have anything. Only I have my father and my uncle. I have nine uncle and six aunts – but I don't know anyone of them. Maybe I know two or three.

When went to Syria, we went to make a passport and then, when we go back to Libanon, we said, it's only for two weeks and then we made the visa for Lybia and then somebody helped us to go in the sea from Lybia to Italia. We gave him money. And then from Italia my uncle came from Dänemark to help me, and then we come to here to Germany. And when I came to Germany, I saw myself to be born new : I don't know the language, I don't know anything, no work, no friends – nothing. And now I will.... langsam, langsam … for my live. A new live.

I miss everything. Everything: My friends, my language, everything -

Text excerpt, Transcription of a recorded conservation with Mohamed Firas in June 2015

>  see also HEIMart Opens internal link in current window"Welcome"



Once upon a time in Libanon...


A portait of Mohamed Firas by Astrid Alexander for RBB Kulturradio (german version)