‘Maybe Americans Should Know What It’s Like to Have a Dictator’

A Syrian refugee woman who fled to Turkey. Photo: Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

In defiance of her father, a military leader loyal to Bashar al-Assad, Loubna Mrie, 25, fled Syria for Turkey, making her way to the United States on a student visa in 2014. Here, she talks about Trump’s election.

I haven’t been granted asylum yet. So my first reaction was, Oh, my God, I have to leave. When I calmed down and I talked to my lawyer, she said, “It doesn’t mean that you have to leave right away. Let’s wait for the dust to come down.” But I’m sure Trump will shut down the resettlement program. Lots of my friends are waiting for their families to come here.

Apparently Trump has no idea what’s going on in Syria. His main argument was just to stand against everything that Hillary Clinton said. For example, he said we should work with Russia against ISIS because ISIS today is being supported by Hillary Clinton, which is not true. It makes me scared, sure, but also maybe Americans should know what it’s like to have a dictator. Maybe they will have some sympathy for people who are fighting for their freedom of speech in other countries.

I went yesterday to the streets as a solidarity act. I know what it’s like to have a president that you don’t agree with. What makes me really upset is that in the Arabic world, those dictators were imposed. But this dictator was elected.

*This article appears in the November 14, 2016, issue of New York Magazine.

‘This Dictator Was Elected’