Twelve-year-old Syrian immigrant Ahmed, arrived in Sweden four months ago with his parents and younger brother and has been attending a school there. One day, he had a request for his school’s counsellor: he wanted the king’s address.
When asked why, he said that he wanted to tell the king his story.
Here’s the heart-wrenching letter he penned which has been translated from Arabic to English.
“Hey King Gustav!
“My name is Ahmed and I am 12 years old. I have a mother, a father and a brother. We have always lived in a beautiful house filled with joy in Aleppo, Syria. My dad had a large factory and shops for children’s clothing. He bought many gifts and toys for us. My parents had cars and we lived happily until the war started with the sound of missiles, shooting and terror. Dad’s factory burned down, nothing is left of it and the joy that we experienced began to cease. I could not go to school any more because my teacher was killed by a shot right before our eyes. . . . I cannot forget those seconds. They were my worst moments.
My father went into his room to tell Mom that the factory was burning. My mother went out of the room crying. Then my father decided that we had to travel for our safety. Now began my worst days. Early Saturday morning we went to Turkey. We made it in a scary inflatable boat. The water was all around me and the darkness above my head. I was terrified. People were screaming, children crying, my dad smiled all the time to try to calm me down and my brother, but the situation was more difficult than I thought. I talked to myself and said, what has happened to us? Where is my house? Where is my bed and my toys?
“We arrived to an island. The police took us to a place that is worse than the rubber boat. The crowd was huge. There was a terrible stench. We had to stay with the crowd until the police released us. We were without a home for 15 days. This was the peak of my depression, my grief for mom and dad. They could not do the things they always did for us before.
“I always went away to cry. I did not want my parents to see me when I did not want to increase their grief. My mother was crying just like I did, made sure no one could see her. But I saw her. My heart was crushed.
“We came to Sweden. I want to meet the Swedish king to tell him about my story. I heard he is a noble king. I carried with me a bag of new clothes to have them on me when I meet the king.
“We arrived in Sweden. We stayed with my aunt in a small room instead of our lovely big house. I wake up every morning to see my father in front of the window, sad that he did not have enough money to buy us, the family, what we desire.
“Therefore, I would seek to meet with you, the king!
“I wish to see you when I’m wearing my new clothes, which I have brought all my way to Sweden to meet you.
The counsellor told The Washington Post that he broke down while reading the letter to the king. Ahmed said that he misses Syria and worries about family members still there. But he is fond of his adopted country, too.
“I like it very much,” he said. “The people here in Sweden smile to my face all the time.”
Let’s hope he gets to meet the King soon.