During difficult times, music is definitely one of the best medicines for the soul. In one of my most hopeless and saddest times when I felt completely stocked and screwed by destiny, my only joy was my love for music and art. Writing about this time now feels like I’m not even writing about myself. The memory of this difficult time is more like a shadow of me.
In a time when my mum and I didn’t know how to pay our rent and were trying to survive, I met the band Backstreet Boys several times when they were only at the beginning of their careers. Today, they are worldwide known, fully respected, and admired musicians. But at the time we met the boys, nobody knew they would become globally successful. I often watched them during rehearsals and once, I was even on stage with all of them during their performance of the hit single “I’ll never break your heart” in front of thousands of screaming teenage fans.
But I do remember that it wasn’t an easy life, being always on the road. It was hard work. To the outside, it seemed like an enviable life, but at least, the boys had a goal in mind, and they were lucky enough to have fewer obstacles in their way than I had. I had a lot of talents and ambitions and I wanted to have a great career, no matter how hard I had to work. But I couldn’t because of my status as a refugee. It made me angry and depressed. I saw other young people follow their dreams and make money and a life with it, while I was financially ruined and had no prospect for any improvement.
No one took any notice of me and gave me a chance. It took me quite a while to accept that I did not have the same opportunities or rights as young and free Americans and Europeans have. I was worthless as a war-refugee from a third country and trapped in a gilded cage, in oh so wonderful Switzerland.
Another thing I envied the Backstreet Boys for was the fact that they had been supported and encouraged from a young age. No matter how talented a young American is and where his interests lie, be it sports, politics, science, medicine, media, etc., they always have the opportunity to follow their dreams. They can prepare for any future in college/University and develop freely to become what they want to be. To them, all doors are open.
Every person has different, individual talents and strengths. The Swiss and European education system, however, does not care about the individual person and his or her talents, wishes, and goals. Instead of furthering the talents of a person, the youth here are constantly confronted with their weaknesses. It was exactly what my Swiss teacher in my secondary class did to me for three years. He basically hated foreigners, so he did everything in his power to make my life a living hell. He made me feel useless, worthless, and stupid even though I had many talents in so many areas. Apart from the fact that our refugee permit stopped us from doing just about anything, the chances of becoming something as a refugee in Switzerland were ZERO. Which ironically still hasn’t changed after all these years. The refugee law is still the same in 2021 everywhere!
Today I feel fortunate for the experience and great opportunity that I had to meet THE BOYS, one of the most successful boy bands ever. Their music was and still is a joy for my soul! Thank you for your great and timeless songs such as “Quit playing games with my heart“, “I want it that way”, “Show me the meaning of being lonely” and “Shape of my heart”. Thank you for the “only good” and joyful memories in one of the hardest times in my life where I had to deal with my beloved grandmother's lost and was forced to get married to a Swiss man I didn’t love. May each one of you, Kevin, Brian, Howie, Nick, and AJ, and your families always be blessed.
As a Thank-you I gave the boys a drawing (Original size: 70 x 100 cm) which according to Howie D is in their office in Orlando USA. The drawing contains each of their names, birth signs, and birthdates. And that’s why I say creativity brings people together!