Haiyl Flihan is a 17-year-old Syrian boy who fled to the Netherlands in 2015 together with his two older brothers. After first being admitted to an asylum center in Groningen and then to Ter Apel, the brothers ended up living in The Hague and reunited with their parents two years ago.

In honor of Liberation Day on 4 May, Haiyl appeared on national TV where he was invited to read a poem he had written in front of Prime Minister Rutte and other notable officials. Speaking in perfect Dutch, his poem eloquently expressed his views on freedom and what it means to win it at all costs.

Haiyl is currently enrolled in the Johan de Witt College. Longtime parishioner, Elly Derksen, had been giving his parents Dutch lessons in our parish for several months prior to the pandemic.

Ik wil praten
Praten
Praten over een erfenis
De erfenis van soldaten
Van denkbeelden, van verdiensten
Met ijzer en bloed
Van woedende handen vergoed

Respect is van hart
Met gouden letters, namen geschreven
Geschiedenis heden en toekomst
Niet te noemen zonder hen

Vrijheid
Iets dat je niet met geld kunt waarderen
Maar het kostte toch

Wanneer je een mening kunt zeggen
Wanneer je jezelf uit kan leggen
Wanneer je niet gedwongen wordt
Wanneer je leven goed is
Wanneer je waardigheid behoudt
Namen geschreven in letters van goud
Geschiedenis heden en toekomst
Niet te noemen zonder hen

Helden
Broodschat voor het land
Bloed betaalt
Trots
Vrijheid
Eerlijk gewonnen
Van de koning tot de kleinste jongen

Vrijheid
Iets dat je niet met geld kunt waarderen
Maar het kostte toch
Namen geschreven in letters van goud
Geschiedenis heden en toekomst
Niet te noemen zonder hen

(Loosely translated into English)

I want to talk about a legacy from soldiers – a legacy of ideas and values, forged with iron and blood, and paid for by enraged hands.

They deserve our respect. Their names are written in letters of gold, not to be forgotten in current and future history.

Freedom has no value in money, but still has its price.

Freedom is being able to state your opinion, to be able to explain yourself, to live without coercion, and to live a good life.  

Their names are written in letters of gold, not to be forgotten in current and future history.

Heroes are our country’s treasure, serving with pride and honor, paying for our freedom with their blood, and won honestly, from the king to the smallest boy.

Freedom has no value in money, but still has its price.

Their names are written in letters of gold, not to be forgotten in current and future history.

© 2018 Church of Our Saviour