A plot for a movie that has never been made.
In 2015 close to the Mediterranean Sea, a young girl called Maryam Ahmadi with her fiancé Farhad Niazi and mother Reyhan board a small and grotty boat. They had left their home in Afghanistan upon the murder of her father and two brothers by the Taliban. After which, Farhad decides to bring this life of danger and constant fear to an end. Germany, where a cousin of theirs lives, started having a warmer feel and a nicer ring to their ears than their own hometown, and after selling all they owned without keeping a single thing behind, Germany became their first, and last salvation, they hoped.
They crossed the border to Iran on a bus and realized soon after that their neighbor country, although speaking the same language and adhering the same faith, wasn’t welcoming. Weeks passed and their lives kept getting worse as their residence permit status neared expiration. Throughout their stay in Iran, no time was being wasted; as making money wasn’t just means for mere subsistence, as in it they saw tickets to a better life with their basic human rights sustained in Germany. But time beat them to it, their temporary visas got expired and they stayed despite the legal prohibition of their existence. As soon as they managed, they crossed the border to Turkey. Farhad worked 15 hours a day there, and he would have worked even more if his body would not fail him every time he tried.
A human smuggler in Turkey promised them a safe and smooth passage to Greek, which would cost 5000 dollars for each, so all that work seemed just ‘temporary’. Once they cross to Europe, it will all be history soon.
At that time Reyhan, Maryam’s mother, cried a lot. She remembered her husband, his strong hands; his kind smile. She remembered how he cared for the family and their lives, working in his shop from the crack of dawn to nightfall, with true contentment and goodwill. She could not recall ever hearing him complain, or utter a single word of resentment.
As her sons got older they helped their father in the shop. Abdulrahman, their youngest, turned out to be a very talented young boy. He spoke fluent English, which he could pick up from listening to English music and movies from the market. One day he met an American soldier who asked him to translate something and later offered to pay him in return of accompanying them around to translate. He earned good money and helped the family a lot. Thanks to him the family could afford a small party for Maryam and Farhad’s engagement. But the Taliban found out about him and accused him of collaborating with the enemy.
It wasn’t long after, that they attacked the family’s home, killing everyone except Maryam and her mother who were out visiting Farhad’s family. Reyhan could never forget that day, walking back to their home; finding the bodies drenched in blood, and the pale faces of their beloved ones.
The day has come. Farhad is saying goodbye to his 15-hour job routines, now that the amount of 1500 dollars is completed and handed to the smuggler. Next station: Greece. Now they are standing in front of another grotty boat, at the small hours of night, about to board. One by one, the smuggler tells around 153 people to board the boat. Once Maryam saw the boat she knew the passage would be anything but safe.
Many people wanted to go back, but the smuggler tells them that there will be no refunds for those who turn back. Farhad says that he doesn’t care about the money, “We would find another way to get to Europe, we just haven’t looked better.” Reyhan cries and whispers that she wants to go back. She is old and she shouldn’t be so far away from home and the graves of her husband and sons. But the people behind them became hysterical while the smuggler pushed them to decide in that instant. The police could come any minute. Some people started pushing and Reyhan sinks to the ground crying.
During this moment of chaos another Afghan boy grabs Farhad’s shoulder, looks right into his eyes and says "There is no other way brother. No way back, no way fore! Otherwise we wouldn’t be here“. Maryam turns around and glances for a short moment at the other 150 people and their fearful faces. Maryam says we have no choice. Both the lower compartment and the deck become filled with people. Once the boat entered the dark sea Reyhan starts praying, repeating every line in the Quran she could remember.
Waves begin hitting the boat harshly, allowing water to creep into the boat’s surface. The captain tells everyone to throw their baggage into the sea, to cut down some of the weight. So everyone throws their last belonging into the deadly dark infinity of the sea. But still the unforgiving wind kept on viciously pushing the little boat around like it was an unwanted flea, feeding on its greatness, drowning it down with its monstrous waves that climbed onto the boat, until the Sea finally got what he desired.
The boat hit a rock, but the captain did not seem to pay much attention to it, and commanded people not to worry. But the people worry nevertheless. Some look at the black sky, black as the ocean, black like a hole. Some are screaming, some are praying. Some men are crying like little babies for their mothers, for God to help. Reyhan is horribly quiet and holds the hands of Maryam and Farhad. The water keeps coming into the boat and the captain shouts at everyone to not worry whilst clearly not believing his own words. Maryam and her family are in the lower compartment which starts to fill up with water. People move to the windows, pushing each other to leave the compartment, but it gets too tight to move and the windows are too small, and the water is coming in too fast.
Farhad pulls Maryam out of the window and then her mother and nearly before it seems impossible for him to leave the compartment, he pulls himself out. Maryam is pale, Farhad too. . They were the last ones to get out alive of the lower part of the boat. Next to Farhad there is a woman from Syria crying in Arabic for help. She can’t swim and has no life jacket. Farhad looks over to Maryam and she knows what he is about to do. He takes off his life jacket and gives it to the woman.
They swim for as long as possible and realize that they have lost Reyhan, her mother in the crowd of screaming and hysterical waddling people. Some with life jackets, and some without. Farhad was one without. After some hours Farhad looks again over to Maryam and deep into her eyes. And she knows what he is about to say. He tells her that he is too tired to swim and that he is going to float on his back and rest. For a moment Maryam is turning her back to him looking desperately for her mother. But it is too dark and she can’t see. T
he waves are high. Suddenly she realizes that he floated away. She can hear him calling her, but he gets further and further away. Time passes. Maryam is freezing. Eventually a boat finds her. But they never find her husband Farhad or her mother Reyhan.
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