Majid about his escape from war in Sudan and the hard flight to Istanbul
Majid Bolat comes from the Darfur region in Sudan and belongs to the ethnic group of the Fur people. He fled to Turkey via Libya and has lived in Istanbul for over 10 years. Currently he works as a freelance translator for English, Arabic and Nyala. In this interview passage he talks about his escape from Sudan, the hardships of his flight via Libya and the reason why he was dreaming about coming to Istanbul since his childhood.
I didn’t take the decision like that, freely. Because suddenly the government’s army came to our village, and they destroyed everything, and they burnt anything. They even killed my brother.
I lost my brother during that war and it was so intensive war against our people. That’s why I jumped over the war, I wanted to protect myself, and then I ran away. […] Because I saw that some of our people going to Libya. I had experience about that route and that’s why I took the route to Libya. […]
It was so bad. It was a long road and there were no water and you must be more patient until you reach the destination. Because, there is people if you don’t have money, you have to sleep in the car. You have to cook for them, you have to do things… because the road wasn’t like this flat road over there. And there is sun. […] It is not an easy thing. As I remember we took a ship from the city I don’t remember the name in Libya, and we arrived to Mersin […] Because when we were in Libya, I called my relative – he lives in Holland, in Amsterdam – and he sent me money. Thanks to that money, I continued my journey up to here. From Mersin, we took a bus and first arrived to Istanbul Otogar, yes. And I didn’t know anything here.
It was a dream for me to come and see Istanbul because by that time, when we were kids, there was a program on the TV about Istanbul. There was a gift ticket from Sudan to Athens and then to Istanbul. […] They were showing views from Istanbul city, yes… That’s why I put it (Istanbul) in my head.
Majid Bolat comes from the Darfur region in Sudan and belongs to the ethnic group of the Fur people. Since 2003, rebel groups have been fighting against Sudanese government troops and local militias in the Fur settlement area. To date, more than 400,000 people are believed to have died as a result of the conflict, and 2.66 million people have been displaced.
Majid Bolat fled to Turkey via Libya and has been living in Istanbul for over 10 years. He now has legal residence status. He has worked in various international organisations in Istanbul. Currently he works as a freelance translator for English, Arabic and Nyala.
In this interview passage he talks about his escape from Sudan and the hardships during his flight.
This interview was conducted in English by Elif Yenigun for the We Refugees Archive in May 2021 in a public park in Istanbul.