How refugees from Crimea started life from scratch in America
After the illegal annexation of the Crimea, many Crimean Tatars were forced to leave home and seek refuge in Ukraine or abroad. Journalists "VOA»They visited a young Crimean-Tatar family, which settled in the American city of Pittsburgh.
Five-month Ali Safin - the firstborn in the family of Marat and Elmaz. Spouses Safins emigrated to the US 8 months ago, leaving their family, friends and successful business in Crimea. In the US, asked for political asylum.
The love story of Elmaz and Marat coincided with the events of the revolution of the merits and annexation of Crimea. Russian troops occupied the peninsula when Marat and Elmaz were preparing for the wedding.
“In this situation, we do not understand what to do. Nobody understands. There are no clear instructions from the government what to do. Everyone says calmly, do not panic, but we need to do something. Certain actions are taking place by our activists. The Crimean Tatar people are in support of Ukraine. We knew that the Russian army was entering, but what would be the reaction of Ukraine, the Ukrainian military, the international community? We waited for this reaction and did not understand why everything took so long. On the Russian side, crowds of people support the annexation of the Crimea to Russia, hold a referendum, hold a rally, we are participating in this. The airport is closing, banks are closing, nothing is working, ”recalls Marat.
Marat and Elmazy, in a hurry, get married and after a few weeks move to Odessa. Four years lived, plying between Simferopol and Odessa. News about the beating of activists in Crimea, the arrest of friends, night visits of people in masks to relatives became everyday.
“The car comes to you in the morning. I do not know why they have such a joke, in 6-7 in the morning, when people are still sleeping, coming in and doing searches. It is not clear where, who, just people in black, in masks come with weapons and are looking for something. Computers are checking, phones, ”says Elmaz.
The decision to move to the United States came after another beating of Marat in Odessa.
“It was evening, I was attacked, I managed to fall, cover my face, my head, but I got ribs and legs,” says Marat.
Marat remembers that he was beaten with rubber truncheons. Appeal to the Odessa law enforcement officers did not bring results. When they got on the plane to New York, Elmaz was seven months pregnant.
“I was scared because the first child, there is no help, parents are far away, what will I do there. Well, in general, everything is so - "boom", from a clean slate, and even a child to you bargain. It is difficult, but we decided. I said - if you decide, I'm with you. Where am I without him? ”Says Elmaz.
“When we arrived, friends helped us a lot. We lived for five months with our friend for free. He gave us a roof over our heads, and our only expenses were for food. The United States protects people, both strong and weak. In this case, we managed to get Medicaid, and this covered, let's say, more 90% of our expenses. Thanks to this, we managed to save the small money that we brought with us, we were able to rent an apartment and left for food, ”says Marat.
Now Marat is waiting for refugee status and work permit. At the same time he passes the exams for a truck driver. The tourist business market, which Marat successfully worked in the Crimea, here, according to him, has long been occupied. However, Marat is not afraid to start from scratch.
“It happened several times in my life that we started from scratch. When we returned to the Crimea from Central Asia, we started from scratch, then from the Crimea to Odessa from scratch. There was no fear, just - Just Do It! I just do it and I am not afraid, I have no choice, I have a family, and I can not sit relaxed and think - but life was like this ... Although I sometimes remember. But now - just Just Do It! ”, Says Marat.
The Crimean Tatar community of Pittsburgh is small but very friendly. Marat and Elmaz's closest friends live within a few blocks. Gather every Sunday.
Now they are carrying out plans to create a public organization that would help the Crimean Tatars, who remained in the Crimea.
“The farther we leave, the more we have a craving for the Crimea, for our culture and traditions. And with the advent of the child, we feel responsibility, we must convey a part of our traditions, ”says Marat.
Elmaz dreams that they will return and the son will freely speak in his native language in the liberated Crimea: “We will return, we will definitely return. I want Ali to grow up in the Crimea too, with brothers and sisters, to see all our traditions, our weddings, our holidays. ”
“If we see the headline that the Crimea has finally returned, then we, of course, will return to the Crimea,” says Marat.
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