I am Ayman and I am a refugee from Syria

Ayman Hirh was a successful marble and granite trader in the Jobar district of Syria’s capital, Damascus, before the escalating political situation in his country drove him and his family into exile. Because of his involvement as an activist in the 2011 uprising and President Al-Assad’s subsequent crackdown on any and all dissent, Ayman was forced into hiding before he was able to borrow $2,000 to bribe government officials to renew his passport and make his escape. He arrived at Heathrow airport in January 2012 and was swiftly relocated to Glasgow before reuniting with his family to build a new life in the UK. Ayman currently lives with his wife, Iman, and two children, Bishir and Bassil, in Edinburgh.

I met Ayman and his family just as this new mural, featuring his portrait and story, was finished on Camden Mews this afternoon. With his wife by his side and his children playing happily nearby, Ayman was visibly elated with how the piece, by street artist PANG turned out. I shook his hand and he was kind enough to let me take a picture of him with the piece. The mural reads:
“I am Ayman and I am a refugee from Syria. I was granted asylum in the UK in 2012. I was a successful businessman selling marble and granite across Syria, and living with my wife and two sons in the Jobar district of Syria’s capital Damasus, Every night before we go to sleep, we remember our home. I love my flat in Damascus more than Buckingham Palace. When I look at my children and see that they are happy and living a normal life, I think immediately of all the children still in Syria. #TheLongRoadEP.”


The mural was created to spotlight the plight of millions of refugees who have fled Syria since 2011,  as well as to publicize The Long Roada concept album due for release by The Red Cross on March 4th. The record is inspired by the real-life stories of refugees and asylum seekers and brings together major international artists including Robert Plant, Scroobius Pip, Kindness, Tinariwen and the Sierra Leone Refugees Allstars.

Ayman’s story had a happy ending, however, it is estimated that around 4.6 million Syrians are currently living as refugees, while an expected 6.6 million have been displaced within Syria; half of these are children.

87 Comments Add yours

  1. sophieellis says:

    such a beautiful and IMPORTANT insight. I completely agree with the above comment- of only this was in the mainstream media!!!

  2. Tieme Pool says:

    Good for Ayman and his family that is story turned out reasonable, although a heavy story.

    Many indeed aren’t that lucky. But even less are lucky to live in freedom.

    Thanks for sharing and take care!

    Kind regards,

  3. byhanan says:

    Pray for Syria. Pray, pray pray…. Keep on praying.

  4. eli baur says:

    Amazing story! Really inspiring story of triumph through injustice, incredible and unique perspective on the Syrian situation as well.

  5. Reblogged this on and commented:
    What a story!!!

  6. Karla Rivera says:

    The world should unite and help the people of Syria. In this world all need each other, I can not help nearby, but I send an embrace of solidarity to the entire Syrian population, we are all brothers no matter what nation or race we are, we must act now.

  7. mokitadreams says:

    The things we take for granted. Freedom, loved ones and shelter. Thank you for writing this post

  8. Brilliant post, here’s a related one of mine if anyone’s interested…
    Unity is so important in these difficult times. Thanks for such an inspiring story.

    1. Hi,
      Thank you for your spam. If you have something to contribute to the conversation and link to your own work, that is welcome. What you have just done, however, is not. Thanks

  9. wingz365 says:

    I like your site and am trying to follow it but for some reason it won’t accept my email.

  10. ZANAN AZIZ says:

    nice post and its making the reader thinking.

  11. CherryPie says:

    An inspiring story! Sad to know this man is one of the lucky few, but it does cast a glimmer of hope on the whole sad history.

  12. chris jensen says:

    Damn, sometimes i lose sight of how good i’ve got it being a fifth generation boy from the West Coast of Canada…

    One always love a happy ending..


  13. I think education about these issues are important and feel art can be such a powerful way to educate. What a beautiful man to express himself the way he did. Thank you for writing and sharing this.

  14. Luciana Mariano says:

    The world is going mad. 😭 Sad story, beautiful post.

  15. Raj Krishna says:

    thanx for sharing this story…

  16. edenszy says:

    I’m new to your site; you very kindly followed my blog so that prompted me to look at what you get up to! I think your blog is brilliant; the photos and titles are really engaging. How have I not heard of you, haha. I love the fact that you reference literature and art throughout your pieces (as someone soon to study English Lit I really appreciate that). I look forward to reading more.

    1. Hi Edenszy, Thank you. I hope you find enough to keep you entertained on here and good luck with the English Lit studies. -Rich

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