Translated from Aleteia’s Arabic edition:
The Centre of Sant’Egidio in Rome has received three families who returned with Pope Francis after his visit from Greece. Journalists, Italian families and volunteers from the Sant’Egidio community have sought to make them welcome with flower petals and the display of a banner on which was written in Italian and Arabic, “Welcome to Italy.”
One floor of the center, located in the Trastevere section of Rome, was dedicated to housing for Syrian families. The centre helped to prepare Syrian dishes for dinner meal.
Rummy is one of those refugees. He is from Deir ez Zor region currently controlled by Daesh, and came accompanied by his wife and three children on board the plane that brought the pope to Rome. Aleteia spoke briefly with him after his arrival.
When did you arrive in Greece, and how did you get there?
We arrived in Greece 50 days ago by sea. We registered with an organization specializing in relocation assistance. It was said yesterday that 10 people would be invited back with Pope Francis. They recorded our names and we flew with him.
Have you spoken with the pope?
Pope Francis is a truly extraordinary and humble person. We have agreement. This is a fantastic welcome. We are very thankful, and we plead for security for our country, so that we may walk together in the future.
Where did you live in Syria, and how many in your family?
Our family consists of five people: my wife, our three children and me. We lived in Deir ez Zur before fleeing to Turkey and then to Greece.
What about members of your extended family — are they with you or in Syria?
They are still in Syria.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that peace will be restored in Syria and if ever it becomes impossible to go back, we ask European governments to help us build a better future for our children. My children no longer go to school. My son has always dreamed of becoming a doctor. I hope he will realize his dream.