In a red London bus covered with images of ‘disappeared’ and detained Syrians, Families for Freedom has reached Berlin – a city whose traumatic past has parallels with Syria’s present
Against the concrete walls of Hohenschönhausen, the former Stasi prison in east Berlin, there is a striking flash of colour: a red London bus. The vehicle, parked in front of the prison’s iron gates, is covered with dozens of framed photographs: family snapshots of holidays, dads with children on their laps, a little girl in pigtails. On its sides a banner says in German and Arabic: “Release them”.
The bus belongs to Families for Freedom, a women-led movement of Syrian families, and the photos are of their relatives – just a handful of the tens of thousands of Syrians currently in detention or who have disappeared since 2011. The families are demanding the release of those detained and the bus has become a symbol of their cause, travelling through London, Paris and now Berlin to make these absences visible.
The disappearances of tens of thousands of Syrians is not being talked about nearly enough
It is like my husband and son have disappeared from this world
The visit has given me hope that one day in Syria we can look back and say ‘that was the past’