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Hassan Al Kontar

Hassan Al Kontar

On the anniversary of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, many will reminisce again about him as a journalist and a public figure, a dissident and a victim of a ghastly crime. But on the day of his death, I remember him as Jamal, the human being.

My first contact with him came during my own moment in the media spotlight in 2018. Perhaps you saw the headlines in April of that year: “Syrian refugee stuck in Malaysia airport”.

My misfortune began in 2011, when war broke out in my country. At that time, I was working in the UAE and decided to stay away from the war. I did not join the fight, simply because I didn’t believe in it, I refused to be a part of a killing machine, to kill my own brothers and destroy my own house.

Soon, however, I lost my work permit and became illegal. Despite my best efforts to lay low, I was detained in October 2017 and deported to Malaysia, as it was one of a few countries giving Syrians visas on arrival.

There I could neither apply for asylum nor obtain a work permit. So after spending a few months there, I decided to leave. I tried to travel to Ecuador and Cambodia but was refused entry and sent back to Malaysia, where I was also not allowed in.

My misfortune began in 2011, when war broke out in my country. At that time, I was working in the UAE and decided to stay away from the war. I did not join the fight, simply because I didn’t believe in it, I refused to be a part of a killing machine, to kill my own brothers and destroy my own house.

Soon, however, I lost my work permit and became illegal. Despite my best efforts to lay low, I was detained in October 2017 and deported to Malaysia, as it was one of a few countries giving Syrians visas on arrival.

There I could neither apply for asylum nor obtain a work permit. So after spending a few months there, I decided to leave. I tried to travel to Ecuador and Cambodia but was refused entry and sent back to Malaysia, where I was also not allowed in.

My misfortune began in 2011, when war broke out in my country. At that time, I was working in the UAE and decided to stay away from the war. I did not join the fight, simply because I didn’t believe in it, I refused to be a part of a killing machine, to kill my own brothers and destroy my own house.

Soon, however, I lost my work permit and became illegal. Despite my best efforts to lay low, I was detained in October 2017 and deported to Malaysia, as it was one of a few countries giving Syrians visas on arrival.

There I could neither apply for asylum nor obtain a work permit. So after spending a few months there, I decided to leave. I tried to travel to Ecuador and Cambodia but was refused entry and sent back to Malaysia, where I was also not allowed in.

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