An Imagined Syrian Refugee.

For a writing exercise we were to create a background for a central character. I imagined a Syrian refugee. All of this background is fiction but comes from research I did on the situation…

 

CHRISTIAN SHAMMAS (A Syrian refugee)

Christian Shammas is a 22 year old Syrian refugee. His mother Camila Abdel-Massih (surname means servant of Christ in the Arabic world) was a Palestinian Christian who fled to Syria as a child with her wealthy parentsduring the 1967 war. His father Tabarank Shammas is an Syrian Arab and Sunni Muslim. His father is from poorer farming heritage.
Although interdenominational marriages are not unheard of in Syria they are not common. His mixed faith upbringing led to bullying as a child.
Christians first name in the Arabic tradition means love and his surname means friendship. He likes to introduce himself by pointing this out.
Before having to flee his hometown of Damascus in 2015 he was studying dentistry.  He is fluent in English and French. (Both popular second languages in Syria although English is preferred.)
Despite being very well educated Christian is profoundly dyslexic which leads to huge problems for him when he has to flee the country.
During the Arab spring of 2013 he was arrested by Bashar al-Assad security forces with 13’000 other online activists and severely tortured leading to him walking with a severe limp.
He has a seven year old sister Mary Shammas who is entirely uneducated in any formal way.
During some carpet bombing Christian and his sister were separated from his parents. He doesn’t know if they are alive or dead. He has no idea which side was behind the bombing but is determined to find out.
As a refugee in Syria he is recognised by two of Assad’s secret police who threaten to rape his sister. He kills them both with a pistol he found in some ruins.
This forces him to flee the country with his sister with money he has stashed. He makes it to “The Jungle” refugee camp in France which is where we find him.
The only physical possessions he has apart from the clothes on his back is an I-pod and charger. The I-pod is filled with the poems of Syrian poet and Nobel Prize nominee Adunis.
He quotes this poetry often to his sister when she is distressed. The I-Pod is also filled with songs by Elvis. Listening to Elvis also helps calm his sister.
Whilst at the camp his young sister is being targeted by human traffickers.
The camp is now to be demolished and to protect his sister Christian agrees to have her moved to the UK. He has no idea how to contact her once this happens. Christian is to remain stranded in France. Whilst at the camp he befriends a Syrian man named Sayid Burhan who helps him with daily life. For the journey to the UK he entrusts his sister to Sayid.   Unbeknownst to Christian he is the leader of a child trafficking group. Christian finds out the truth a day after he last sees his sister.
Some Quotes.
 “To the country dug into our lives like a grave, to the country etherized, and killed, a sun rises from our paralyzed history into our millennial sleep” ― Ali Ahmad Said Asbar Adunis
“What did we lose, what was lost in us? To whom do these distances belong that separated us and that now bind us? Are we still one or have we both broken into pieces? How gentle this dust is- Its body now, and mine, at this very minute are one and the same” ― Adonis, If Only the Sea Could Sleep
 “If only we were not that seedling of Creation, Of Earth and its generations, If only we had remained simple Clay or Ember, Or something in between, Then we would not have to see This World, its Lord, and its Hell, twice over.” ― Adonis

A very short screenplay ( about torture and gangsters and such stuff)

This is my very first go at this so don’t judge me. Have always like gangsta stuff. Torture scenes are usually the best….

 

THE GREY GROUND.

 

FADE IN.

OFFICE BUILDING DAY.

WE SEE A CORRIDOR LEADING TO AN OFFICE DOOR.

DISSOLVE TO.

Looking out to Newcastle city centre we see an upstairs office. It’s very sparse with a desk and two basic office chairs facing each other over the desk. Everything is covered in clear polythene as if about to be decorated.

MR SANE. Newcastle man. Stands alone in the office. Middle aged. Beefy in build. Smoking a cigarette. He’s friendly.

There’s a KNOCK at the door.

MR SANE.

Come in, it’s open.

ENTER ANTHONY. A Young man from Manchester. Wearing sportswear but is more smart looking than scruff.

ANTHONY.

Is this the place to meet…err…the managers?

MR SANE.

That’s right son. You must be Anthony. Do I call you by your Sunday name or is it Tony?

ANTHONY.

I prefer Anthony actually. My wife always insists on it.

MR SANE.

Fair enough son. My name’s Mr Sane.

ANTHONY

Mr Sane? As in the opposite of insane?

MR SANE.

Something like that. It’s actually after the Bowie album Aladdin Sane. All the managers have Bowie related codenames. It’s the bosses’ idea. Nobody knows each other’s real names. It helps with confidentiality. A couple more managers will be here shortly Mr Duke and Mr Low.

ANTHONY.

So is the boss Mr Bowie?

MR SANE.

No he’s Mr Jones.

ANTHONY.

Right…err…not sure I get that. The other’s sound cool though.

MR SANE.

(LAUGHS) Try telling that to Mr Stardust. Have a seat son. As you know you’ve been invited here today on the possibility of working on a more permanent basis for the managers and boss of the corporation. You’ve obviously managed to get the attention of someone along the line. My department is warehouse and fencing. I shift shit of value from A to B. But you, you’re in sales.

ANTHONY.

Well…err…dealing. I deal.

MR SANE.

That’s sales son. And you’ve made quite the mark in the 6 months since moving here from Manchester. Two estates now mainly buy from you. All of this has been achieved with very little resistance from rival interests. Mind telling me how you’ve done that?

ANTHONY.

I don’t stamp on the gear. My entire product is as it is when I buy in. It means less money at first but in the long run folk come back to me. As for little resistance, I always assumed that would be something to do with you guys further up the ladder.

MR SANE.

Very astute Anthony, you’re right, it is exactly to do with us. You have ascertained that there is organisation at play here. Large organisation Anthony. Now, in knowing this I am going to ask you a couple of things son and it is of the utmost interest to yourself that you answer these questions concisely, with utter clarity and truthfully.

 

DISSOLVE TO.

DAY. EXPENSIVE CAR INTERIOR.

We see two men in a parked car. MR LOW is Scottish. MR DUKE another Newcastle man. They are in suits. Both middle aged and fairly mean looking. They are not friendly. MR LOW closes his phone having received a message.

MR LOW.

Right, the cunts going up there now. Mr Sane is going to give him his good cop softly, softly catchee monkey shtick. If nothing comes of that, and I really hope it doesn’t…well… Wait until he gets a load of us. Let’s be on our way to the affair Mr Duke.

MR DUKE.

The affair? That’s how you’re describing torture now is it?

MR LOW.

You know I’m one for an elegant tongue Mr Duke. And this cunt is about to find out that he is nothing more than a fart in the hurricane we call life.

MR DUKE.

That’s almost poetic.

MR LOW.

I’m Scottish we’re the bollocks at that shit. I can’t believe some no mark would come up from Manchester and try to pull his hoody on us. I fuckin’ hate Mancs. That whinny nasal accent. (DOES MANCHESTER VOICE) Awriiiiiight! It’s an accent designed and derived from whinging. It’s all they ever do. Complain about shit. Look at the Smiths. What the fuck is that? Music to cry to while somebody wanks you off in the prison showers. Hear me? This is a fucking accent. I can make the word purple sound like an act of war. Listen. (SHOUTS) PURPLE!

They both LAUGH.

DISSOLVE TO.

BACK TO THE OFFICE. The camera is above looking down on the desk. We see a photo of ANTHONY getting out of a police car.

DISSOLVE TO.

Cut back to ANTHONY and MR SANE sitting opposite one and other.

ANTHONY.

Aw man…look I know how that looks but I can totally explain that. Fuck man. I was pulled with some personal man. I’ve been at this long enough to know not to squeal. They didn’t even find enough to process me for court. We’re there any busts on the estates after this? If there was I’ve certainly not heard.

MR SANE.

No Anthony you’re right there were no drug busts. What can you tell me about the Graffiti Night club and Jimmy Wong’s laundrette?

ANTHONY.

I dunno…what the fuck have a laundrette and a nightclub got to do with each other?

MR SANE.

You frequent the Graffiti don’t you? And in the past four months have started using Jimmy Wong’s. You have to use a laundrette? All that sales money can’t buy a machine?

ANTHONY

Yes I hang at the Graffiti. Do a bit business. As for the laundrette we’ve got a four month old little one. We can’t get all the loads done at once so I take some there. I still don’t understand what that has to do with being lifted.

MR SANE.

Yes back to that son. A bit convenient that they let you walk is it not?

ANTHONY.

They had nothing on me. They don’t know me from anyone. I’m careful boss…on my wife and little ones life. I still don’t get where this is going?

MR SANE.

Now son this really is last chance saloon here. Before you think of bolting you should know there are two incredibly nasty men on the other side of that door and you are close to entering a type of world few come back…unaffected…from. You’re telling us you know nothing of the club or Jimmy’s?

ANTHONY

(Beginning to plead) It’s a fucking laundrette. What is there to know?

MR SANE.

I really am sorry about this son. Mr Low, Mr Duke you can come in now.

(MORE)

BOTH ENTER. They both have guns drawn. MR LOW is carrying a small antique and fairly battered case.

MR LOW.

Right ya Manc cunt sit there while my friend secures you to that chair.

ANTHONY.

Aw man wait…

MR LOW pistol whips him.

MR LOW.

Say another word without being asked and I’ll fucking end you right now. Do you think we’ve got this place covered in plastic because we planned some impromptu decorating? (Camp) Ooh Mr Duke the Feng Shui and neutral colours of this office are completely at odds with any sense of harmony. I suggest we add a splash or two of red.

ANTHONY.

Please…

MR LOW hits him again.

MR DUKE.

Son best do what he says and shut the fuck up. He’s a horrible cunt and Scottish as well. Trust me it’s the worst of combinations.

MR LOW places his case on the table and from it he places in front of ANTHONY a packet of cigarettes, a hairdryer and a blow torch.

MR LOW.

OK boy. I’m going to start asking some things and you are going to answer. Mr Sane what did we ascertain?

MR SANE.

He says he was lifted with some personal. He’s probably sound in that there were no drug busts. Claims to know nothing about the club and laundrette.

MR LOW.

Wrong answers. Anthony where do bad people go when they die?

 

ANTHONY.

Hell.

MR LOW.

That’s right Anthony they go to hell. And what happens to them when they get there?

ANTHONY.

They burn…look please.

MR LOW.

Shut the fuck up. That’s right Anthony they burn. Of all the judgemental religions I’ve always found the Christians to be the most horrible. I’ve been bad, welcome to an eternity of fire. A fucking eternity! They choose fire because of all the different types of pain you can put a soul through burning is the absolute worst. Eternity Anthony! I reckon you’ll last minutes. As you can see in front of you are three things. Every time people get it wrong. They think I’ll start with the hairdryer…but I don’t. It’s the fags first. The wound they inflict covers a small area and the burning of the flesh tends to extinguish the flame. Despite the lasting pain it’s over quite quickly. Open up his shirt Mr duke.

MR DUKE rips open his shirt.

MR SANE.

Son it’s better to speak now. We know what you know.

ANTHONY.

I swear. I really don’t understand what this is…please. My son’s only four months.

MR LOW.

It would seem Mr Sane that your reasoning and good cop tactics is for nothing. Let’s see how the bad cop does.

MR LOW takes time lighting a cigarette. Then crushes the lit end into Anthony’s chest.

ANTHONY screams violently.

MR LOW.

As I said…those Christians are evil bastards. Here’s what we have Anthony. We have a picture of you exiting a cop car, we have Jimmy Wong’s laundrette and the Graffiti Club both done over. You know what they are, don’t you Anthony. Two premises owned by us where we wash our money. It really did appeal to Mr Jones’s sense of humour to launder cash through an actual fucking laundrette. Total cost of both these premises going under is near to seven hundred and fifty thousand grand. But here’s the clincher you whinging Manc cunt. We have cops on the pay role. They provide anonymous information through a very secure system that we’ve used for years. Recently we’ve received information that our little enterprise has been infiltrated by an undercover cop. We don’t yet know who but you my friend are suspect numero uno. Is that you Anthony? Think you’re fucking Donnie Darko.

MR DUKE.

It’s Donnie Brasco Mr Low.

MR LOW.

Whatever. Johnny Depp here thinks he’s king of the pirates. OK as I mentioned people always get it wrong about the order of the fags and the hair dryer. The blow torch is obvious. That has to be the grand finale. What people don’t understand about the hair dryer is that they think it’s not so bad. I mean you dry you hair with it don’t you. Yes you do…but you don’t hold it on the same spot for too long do you? No indeed not. That would really start to hurt. Just imagine the damage a hairdryer can do if it was…say…held over a nipple for a minute or so.

ANTHONY.

I’m not a fucking cop. I swear…

MR LOW hits him again.

MR LOW.

I know, I know you swear on your wife and kids life…Swear on this. Hold him still Mr Duke.

MR DUKE holds ANTHONY in the chair. MR LOW goes to work with his hair dryer. There are screams of an almost feral and animalistic type. After about 30 seconds MR SANE speaks.

MR SANE.

C’mon lads. That has to be enough. Nobody can take that. It can’t be him.

MR LOW.

Squeamish as always Mr Sane. You can wait outside if you want. I’m just getting warmed up. Ha! Fucking warmed up.

MR DUKE.

You’ve cracked a funny Mr Low.

 

MR LOW.

I’m Scottish we’re the bollocks at jokes. Jokes and poetry. Christ…Sounds like a fucking Smiths album. You like them you Manc cunt. (SINGS) Heaven knows I’m miserable now…

ANTHONY.

Please, I’m begging. I’m not a cop. Ask anyone.

MR LOW.

Well I have to say you’ve got resolve. Very few make it to the blow torch. But you’ve got a lot to lose haven’t you. An entire operation blown and your day ends wrapped in this polythene and cemented into the Byker wall. Hold him there.

MR LOW lights the blow torch.

DISSOLVE TO.

We see a new angle MR LOW and MR DUKE both have their back to MR SANE. Mr Sane has produced a gun. Just as Mr Low is about to go to work with the blow torch he shoots MR LOW and MR SANE in the backs of their heads.

ANTHONY.

Oh fuck…oh fucking hell. Please don’t kill me. I really don’t know…

MR SANE.

…What’s going on. I know you don’t son. I know you’re not a cop…because I am.

ANTHONY.

Oh my fuck. I never thought I’d be pleased to see one of you lot…

MR SANE.

It’s not that simple son. You’ve done a lot of damage selling your gear on those estates. But I don’t believe in a God of retribution, or a fiery Hell. I reckon wherever you’re headed you’ll be alright. I’ll make sure your wife and kid are OK…there’s too much at stake here Anthony, And people like me are always going to need someone to take the rap. I’m sorry.

ANTHONY.

No wait…

MR SANE.

I’m sorry. Yes I’m a cop. But I’m not exactly the good one.

MR SANE shoots and kills Anthony.