The Struggle

Makeen: (To audience). Uncertainly. Insecurity. Horror. This is Syria in 2015. We need to get out. We aren’t safe here.

Father: (Head in hands). We have no power and no food. My sons can’t go to school. We have to leave. We have to find our future somewhere else. We aren’t safe here.

Makeen: (To audience). We travelled to Lebanon but we had problems at the border.

Lebanese Guard: Get away. You are not welcome here. You haven’t paid.

Makeen and Father are turned away. They approach another guard and pay a large bribe. They are allowed through.

Lebanese Guard: (Aggressively). Very well. You can pass. But be back in three days. You are only allowed to have a three day holiday. (Makeen and Father nod in agreement. They are frightened).

Father: Makeen. We have to leave Lebanon too. We must go to Jordan.

Jordanian Guard: You are not welcome here. Get away. (More bribes).

Father: Makeen. We must go to Turkey but that is not where we will stay.

Turkish Guard: You are welcome here but life will be hard.

Father: Makeen, I insist. We must aim for Britain. 

Makeen: But it is so far away.

Father: Your brother will join us here soon.

Brother arrives and they embrace. 

Brother: We must go to Izmir where we will travel by boat to Greece.

Makeen: I heard that there are twenty people on boats made for ten.

They arrive at the harbour. The boat is already crammed with people.

Father: That boat is too crowded. There are fifty people on it. It’s only made for ten.

Smuggler: (Aggressively) Get on the boat. We already have your money. 

Turkish Policeman: Stop. You cannot board this boat. Come back, you. 

Eventually, they manage to get on the boat. The boat is leaking and the family have to bail water out to avoid sinking.

Makeen: I’m frightened. This boat is sinking.

Brother: Keep bailing the water out.

Smuggler: (Aggressively). You must throw your bags overboard or we will sink. Do it now! (They throw their cases overboard).

The boat sinks and everyone has to swim. They reach the shore – helping each other.

Father: We are alive but we are not safe. Come on; we have to walk.

They are exhausted and walk for twenty miles.

Makeen: How much further? I cannot go much further.

Brother: Come on, Makeen. Keep going. (They arrive at the police station).

Greek Policeman: (Sternly) We will deal with you tomorrow. You can sleep there.

They are freezing cold and do not sleep.

Makeen: We eventually reach Britain. I cannot believe we have made it here and we are all alive.

Father: This is only the beginning. If we are to flourish, we must learn to speak English. We must read and work harder than anybody else.

Brother: Well, we’ve made it this far. We can do this.

Makeen: I read everything I could find. I got better but it was so hard. I was very confused at school.

English student: (Talking quickly) Where are you from? Did you come on a boat? Did you come on a lorry? Is your house blown up? 

Makeen: I’m sorry. I do not understand.

Makeen is sad but he is also determined. He reads more and more. Eventually he is able to speak to the other students.

English student: Can you speak English now?

Makeen: Yes. I improve. My journey has been hard but I am trying.

English student: Come to the cinema tonight. It will be fun. (They are friends and leave together).

Makeen: It is my final exam tomorrow. I have worked so hard for this.

English student: You will be fine, Makeen. You have made so much progress.

Teacher: Makeen, we are so proud of you.

Father and brother: Makeen, we are so proud of you.

Makeen: We have stuck together and we have survived. We have struggled but it has been worth it. Nothing comes for free in this world but people are prepared to help us. Everybody, if you listen, if you practise, if you learn every day, then you give yourself a chance to succeed. I miss my home of Hama in Syria but I have a new home now.

English student: Yes. We’re pleased to have you here with us. Come on. Cinema or football? (They shake hands and leave the stage).

Categories: English

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