[REFUGEE STORIES] An Extraordinary Life “On the Difficulties of Refugees and Migrants Surviving in Exile”

In the current decade of the twenty-first century, a mental image often emerged that seemed typical of immigration and immigrants, especially refugees there is a two-story image imagined by the immigrant people and his immediate and middle circle that the one who left was only going to collect money and flee from living with them in pursuit of the best, and on the other side in the host country immigrant builds a new relationship circle that also creates a mental image of migrant is not the best this if not the rest of the spectrum of messages he helped in launching and forming the media and the local political conflict in which the “element” refugees and migrants enter to achieve electoral gain for this Political trend or that is why this picture is formed by the other, confused and dark, but at the same time similar to its first counterpart, that a migrant came only to reap money, and in his pursuit this is very possible that he is harmed as a citizen and sometimes as a human being.

In order to show how the life of a migrant and refugee is and what difficulties are faced by people who hold that trait, we went to see M.A, an Egyptian refugee residing in the northern part of Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.

On the way to the home of Mr. M.A, “a young man in the middle of his fourth decade,” the stepper makes sure that people of those areas live in an expanse of living. Thus, only the capital for reasons that explain it will be long,
We were very optimistic because of this, and we estimated that we would meet M.A and his family in more than one good appropriate environment, but what we saw and heard differed completely from our expectations.

Mr. MA tells about himself and his family, in flashes that he considers the moments that shaped his life and made him the person he is now, a student studying in Al-Azhar whose life in his rural town in Egypt forces him to drop out of school at a young age in order to join the ranks of working children and pursue the profession of mechanical turning, which will accompany him throughout his life and which will he will count on to marriage and then to provide food for his family, that was not more than two individuals “he and his wife until their second child born at 2015, after their first child died as a baby.

He completes in a more detailed manner that is not without the rest of eloquence and the ability to tell the details, perhaps this is due to his harsh Al-Azhar education where he learned dozens of subjects throughout years, most of which are language sciences, religion and the rest of the sciences, but his perseverance did not qualify him to resist in a difficult economic climate like the climate of Egypt even after learning The craft of turnery did not qualify for survival, especially after the difficulties that most people faced in Egypt after the January 25 Revolution. What ultimately ended up traveling to work abroad in Jordan with the same profession as “turning” the maintenance of water well drilling rigs.


We tried to ask Mr. M. A about the reasons that prompted him to come to Korea with his family and why he had to sell all of the family’s assets, but he remarked significantly and refused categorically to address any detail regarding the reasons for his asylum or the problems he faced in Egypt and justified that this would expose him and his family to danger. “All I can say is that I cannot speak … that is very dangerous,” he says.

Mr. M.A continues in his talk about the problems he had experienced since his arrival in Korea, where his three-year-old daughter suffered a fracture in the foot, which forced him to work to provide money for her treatment expenses.

It is “maintenance of agricultural tractors”, but that job was not with a registered contract and housing facilities did not exceed the tin can called “container” according to the expression of Mr. M.A

It is the closest resemblance to the “microwave” where he and his family stayed with him throughout the summer period, but his employer told him that he would not be able to continue working because the season was over and the winter came.

Mr. M.A was forced to move to another job “Catering Company” he and his wife had settled in for a while and their quality of life improved times a way better and yet they thought it was right for them and that there is no suffering after today,

Until he received a letter that “refused to be considered a refugee by the Korean government” and the problems started. He naturally had to initiate litigation procedures in court to complete his asylum case from there. He also had to ask for day off from his direct manager, which he allowed “the manager” to know that he was “Asylum seeker” which is what Mr. M.A considered to be the most obvious case of racism that he was exposed to in Korea, where that man began a series of procedures and a changes in the way of dealing that ended him expelled from his work, along with his wife, although he did not finish the period stipulated in the contract, He felt that he could not survive more than that, even though he thought his rights had been violated As a human being first, and then as a worker where his daughter attacked verbal taunting by an employee company also had been detained in one of the  company huge refrigerators and disappeared inside for a long time during the work until he found her by the end, and fortunately did not hit or harmed by low temperature,
Despite all these facts, Mr. M.A says that the court before which he filed a case in order to obtain his rights and complain about the violations and racism he was exposed to while he was in that job position … He found himself helpless in front of the system, which is unknown because of the difference in language, although the lawyers assured him that his position is more than “good.”


Mr. MA moved to another job in a clothing factory and forgot what he had passed and tried to restore his life again, but one day he felt terrible pain in his lower back, which prompted him to leave work and go immediately to the nearest hospital, which led him to discover that he was suffering from erosive vertebrae, accompanied by inflammation and protrusion of the cartilage fluid His doctor says about that, as a result of the hard and frequent work for long periods of time, which ultimately led to his admission to the operating room several times and his stay in the care room for a period of nearly three months, during which he did not know how to manage the expenses of surgeries, medicine, and hospital stay and by asking about the extent of the employer’s contribution to his treatment He said they sent 1 Million Korean Won exchange for signing a document that they have nothing to do with the injury that happened to him !!.
Mr. M.A, talks about how the immigration office dealt with him during his illness. They did not even accept a letter from the hospital that he was unable to come to renew the residence, which made him to go with the help of his wife and with great hardship caused him pain and eventually more medical troubles.


After we stayed for more than an hour in Mr. MA’s house, and we felt familiarity with the place that is closer to the Egyptian homes than to the Korean, we tried to ask him more about his family and why his wife is not present and why his daughter does not go to school, so he said that his wife is in the hospital to take care for their other newborn son In the nursery,

According to what we understood from him, their child was born weeks ago with severe congenital defects that call for superior medical care and also the necessity of his wife’s permanent hospitalization.

He also mentioned the difficulty of obtaining papers for their Korean-born child, as everyone refuses and the Immigration Office has only one question. Where is the Passport ?!

Mr. MA says, How are we refugees ?! Thus, the father’s endeavors to obtain identification documents for his child end.

In the end, we asked our question to him in an attempt to understand his vision as a migrant first and as a refugee in a country like Korea. The question was: Why do you think all this happened to you and how is the solution to all these problems ?!

His response was self-evident and surprising too much. He answered, “Whatever happened to me and my family was only because we do not enjoy adequate respect, neither at work nor the street, nor in government places such as the Immigration and Asylum Office.”

Nobody respects us because we are asylum seekers, and because our “g-1” residence status means that their bearer can be very exposed to racism, oppression, isolation and exploitation, and that this is known and practiced everywhere in the country, even mobile companies refuse to give him service on his phone because of Visa type.
As for the solution, his immediate answer was that the government owns the solution, the Korean government and the Ministry of Justice. If you respect us, the rest will do the same. If you give us a visa of value and respect or even change the current visa conditions, everyone will respect us and will not treat us as homeless or fleeing from justice and people will appreciate us for our efforts and for our mastery in whatever we are doing at work not because of the quality of the symbols that we carry on the foreigner’s identification card.

By | Ibrahim Abdalla/이브라  기자 (이주민방송MWTV)

Photos| Darwish Musab/무열 기자 (이주민방송MWTV)

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