“I planted an olive tree here so we could feel like we were in Syria. If Bashar goes away we would go to Syria, sit by the olive trees and we would sleep and eat and drink there.”
Abdul Rahman Mounir Al-Zalem
“I defected from the military and joined the FSA because of the killing, the crimes and the destruction. A protest would start and the regime would start firing and arresting people.”
Mohammad Mounir Al-Zamel
“I will give birth this week and I think that by the time my unborn son is able to return to Syria, he will be aware of the world and at least 4 or 5 years old. I will name him Mohamed after my brother, who was martyred while fighting with the FSA.”
“My daughters are frightened because of all that they have witnessed. They feel scared at night. When they hear an airplane over our house, they tell me “Dad, they are going to hit us with bombs!” When they hear fireworks from a wedding, they ask, ‘Is that the army, are they coming here?’”
“They took off my shoes and socks and beat my feat with a metal rod until they were both broken. At first I made no noise, but finally I screamed.”
“I am very tired, very, very tired, because I am without documents, as are my son and the son of my son. They say that I am no longer Jordanian because I have Palestinian roots.”
Muhmoud Ali Abo
“I was one of the first people to enter into Za'atari When we first came here, not only was there nothing, there wasn’t even life itself. There weren't flies, there weren't ants. There was no life here, not even ghosts.”
We lived in a tornado. At one point we thought that Assad may be gone in a month or two and now this is the third year and he has yet to go.
Zidan Abdullah Zidan
We hope that things will calm down and go home. We don't want to live in Jordan. There's nothing like home.
The Syrian civil war, now in its seventh year, began when a group of young people spray painted anti-regime graffiti on the walls of their school. Their arrest, detention and torture let to protests and a violent crackdown by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The series of actions and reactions has led to the deaths of an estimated 115,000 Syrians and caused two million more to flee the country. More than 500,000 of these refugees have headed south to neighboring Jordan. Most Jordan-bound refugees pass through the Zaatari camp, whose current population of 113,000 makes it the second largest refugee camp in the world. The rest have spread throughout Jordan, settling in for what they believe to be a long separation from their homes and communities as they wait out a war with no end in sight.
By The Olive Trees was produced as a newsprint publication in collaboration with Michael Friberg and distributed widely through exhibitions, artist’s talks and partners.
Ben@benjaminrasmussenphoto.com · 720.514.1267