The Syrian refugee who was tripped at a border hotspot by a Hungarian journalist in an incident that generated global outrage arrived in Madrid yesterday hoping to rebuild his career and giving his family a new life.
Osama Abdul Mohsen, a football coach, stepped out of a train just a few minutes past midnight after a trip of more than 20 hours from Germany to Spain, then quickly began thanking everyone for giving him the opportunity for a fresh start.
“Thank you all,” Mohsen said in broken English. “This is very, very important for my life. Thank you very much.”
His son Zaid, 7, looked tired but had the strength for a broad smile and declare his love for football and his idol: “Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Mohsen was captured on video carrying Zaid when camerawoman Petra Laszlo tripped him in a field full of other migrants running from authorities near the Hungarian village of Roszke.
“Now I feel that I am [flying] in the sky,” Mohsen told the several dozen journalists who waited for him as he arrived from Barcelona with Zaid and another son. “I am very happy.”
After the incident in Hungary, Mohsen ended up in Germany, where media reports revealed he had been a football coach in Syria.
That prompted a Spanish academy to offer to rebuild his life. The Cenafe school in the suburb off Getafe helped bring Mohsen to Spain and will give him a job and a place to live.
“Hopefully this will serve as an example to the rest of Europe,” school president Miguel Galan said. “We need to help these people.”
Galan will now try to bring Mohsen’s wife and his other two children from a refugee camp in Turkey.
Getafe authorities will also work to get the family legalised in Spain as soon as possible so Mohsen can start work as a coach. He and his family will also have to learn Spanish.
Laszlo was fired from her job at the right-wing N1TV online channel after footage was aired of her tripping Mohsen and kicking other migrants.
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