“Perhaps it may have been stay and face the bombing in our hometown, rather than endure a permanent fight for acceptance and dignity in a foreign country. From childhood through to my adult years, my freedom was stolen from me, just so that I could remain in Switzerland. This was my emotional suicide.” Lily Amis
In summer 2015, the refugee crises became a global issue. However, I have already experienced war as a child in the Eighties, growing up in a war zone and living from one day to another. However, my exposure to war and daily bombings seemed nothing compared to what I was faced with, living as a refugee in Switzerland for over two decades! Rejection, humiliation, discrimination and constant fear of existence were a living punishment - from the moment we entered the country as a war-refugee until today, where I am now a Swiss Citizen. A life without human rights, freedom and dignity is really worth nothing!
The Lily Amis Story includes the two first published books of my memoir trilogy. Part One: Destination: Freedom and Part Two: Definition of Freedom.
Living in a war zone from one day to another is one of the most horrifying experiences in Life, whether you’re an adult or a kid. As a kid you don’t really understand what’s going on because not even the adults know how to deal with this life-changing situation. I still remember and feel the uncertainty, insecurity and fear of death. Your daily life and the behaviour of the adults changes drastically. All of a sudden, people that gave you comfort and security are helpless too. Every moment can be the last, and you are totally conscious of that when you clearly hear the bombings day and night. Despite this experience and a horrible emotional-setback by my father, who left us when I was just five years old, I had a lovely childhood. I grew up in a home and neighborhood filled with love and harmony.
Leaving our hometown with only two suitcases and fear, my mom and I hoped for a safe and happy future in Europe. But the escape was only the start of a new set of problems. The journey was only the beginning of a lifelong misery. My childhood was immediately over and I had to grow up fast in a country, where I felt unwelcomed and rejected from minute one.
We see the images of the refugee’s journey these days, thanks to the media coverage, which is heart-breaking. But the actual tragedy begins from day one when you officially register as refugees in your new country. Dealing with bureaucracy is a nightmare. I wish the governments would stop treating refugees like numbers of annoying folders on their desk. Behind every number is a destiny. And, for the love of God, Life is too short and precious to make it miserable for others.
I started with writing about ten years ago because of long-term Unemployment. Writing Destination: Freedom and Definition of Freedom were both kind of a self-therapy during extremely difficult and challenging times in my life. When you feel lonely and totally helpless the only person you can rely on is you and no one else. Writing really helps healing and I always felt that it is my duty to share my story. Not only to help myself but also to help others with the same or similar Life struggles. Until then painting and drawing were my way of self-help. But writing my two memoirs made me realize that I have to write. There is so much that I want to share or as I call it entertain and educate readers about.
So therefore in Definition of Freedom, the follow-up story, I openly shared my experiences as a foreigner in Switzerland, where my life was constantly overshadowed by discrimination and social isolation. My mom and I lived in fear of deportation for the following years. We had to fight for acceptance and pure survival for almost two decades. So we missed out on Life. We really did. I feel as my whole childhood, teenager hood and adult hood was stolen only in order to be allowed to stay in Switzerland. I was so busy with the bureaucracy nonsense that I have neglected the really essential and valuable things in life. When the government tells you to your face, after a decade, to either marry or leave the country, and you marry the wrong guy for the wrong reasons, your whole future is screwed. During the twenty-seven-year period waiting for my naturalization I experiences set-backs, betrayal and depression caused by unemployment and bullying. Despite everything, my mom and I emerged stronger from every defeat and always fought for our rights!
The Lily Amis Story is brutally honest and I seek acceptance and tolerance for all refugees entering Europe. This is my message to the world.
“The war-refugees didn’t choose to become refugees. None of them created war. They are only helpless and innocent victims of people in power, who make a fortune selling weapons and destroying countries and families. Instead of toying, support these refugees and include them, rather than isolate them. Refugees are not a disease; they are human beings with the same desires as everyone else. Give them a life; give them the chance to build independence with dignity. Give them a future. Treat them the way you’d like to be treated in desperate times! Respect, acceptance and tolerance are the magic words of kindness!”