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’Look, this is my boat.’


Mazen Bishtawe

Mazen Bishtawe

Mazen Bishtawe , a  26 year old  Syrian-Palestine  from Latakia, the principal port city of Syria, he is a resident  in Cyprus for almost one year now.  On the 25th of September 2014 he was one of the 324 passengers heading to Italy that were rescued at the coasts of Paphos.  Mazen still recalls his early days in Cyprus that were filled with chaos and tension. Now, a year later he is one of the strongest assets of the humanitarian affairs Unit in Future Worlds Center.

The first six months after his arrival he was in the Kokkintrimithia ‘camp’, and then he chose to volunteer at the Caritas shelter. ‘Look, this is my boat’ he says showing the boat that brought him to Cyprus while he telling us stories about his time on the Kokkinotrimithia ‘camp’. One of his favourite is when he met Corina Droussiotou (the head of the humanitarian Unit of Future World Center) on the first day of his arrival. Corina gave him her mobile phone so he could call his parents and let them know that he is safe.

His final destination was Norway because he has family there. During his staying in Caritas shelter he finally decided to stay in Cyprus and apply for asylum.  ‘I like the people {of Cyprus) here. I met so many good people and I have made good friends.’ Mazen got recognized as refugee nine months after his arrival. In June 2015 he joined the humanitarian affairs Unit of Future Worlds Center and proved to be increasingly important.

Mazen, meaning ‘to do’ in Arabian language , is doing  numerous things such as translating, helping in projects and in different cases. His most important contribution is with the rescued refugees in Kofinou Reception Center.  He was one of the connecting points between the alarmed refugees and the authorities. Mazen was one of the first people to collect clothes and different items for them, and assist them in any way. His presence in Kofinou was irreplaceable and he could reassure the people and help them continuously.

Mazen’s overwhelming story makes him one of a kind. His colleagues and friends describe him as very nice, sweet, cool and funny. Although he might be a bit noisy in the office and singing off key most of the day, he is definitely a person worth meeting.



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2 thoughts on “’Look, this is my boat.’

  1. Dear Mazen, what a lovely article, it looks like you are now famous, LOL!! It is so nice to have been in touch with you by FB messages and to hear how you are doing from reading this article. You and any of your friends are welcome in my house in Anarita, (near Paphos), any time as my guests.

    I have always believed that taking in refugees from a war zone is not only a duty, privilege and honour, but I see it as an opportunity to meet new and interesting people and learn more about other people’s culture and also to learn just how similar we all are in so many ways, regardless of ethnicity or religion.

    I also observe that throughout history, every country who has helped to re-settle people like yourself has ALWAYS benefitted in their economy, their culture and their society, and in most cases wants such people to stay. This influx of Palestinian and Syrian refugees from Syria could be the best thing that ever happened to Europe, and I am working to make sure we welcome as many of you as possible and begin to take a real pride in making you all feel comfortable and loved in your host countries.

    One of the most important things in my opinion after that, is to make 100% certain that we quickly re-unify families, so if someone has close family (or any family for that matter) in a certain country, they should be flown there (not forced to stagger on foot) and welcomed there immediately. But I am happy that in your case you have decided to stay in Cyprus at this time.

    Good luck in your new life, and if I can ever do anything to help any of you from Palestine and Syria, in the UK or in Cyprus, please ask.


    Adam Flude (Chichester, UK and Anarita, Cyprus)

    Posted by Adam Flude | September 25, 2015, 9:22 pm
    • Hi Mr. Adam thank you very much for your offer and for your words it really mean a lot for me and thanks for your care about the refugee
      i’m really appreciate your care

      Posted by Mazen | October 21, 2015, 1:44 pm

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