A Widow's Quest for Truth on Europe's Eastern Borders
Gabriela Ramirez & Tina Xu tell the story of Samrin, who disappeared on the latest frontier of the European migration crisis
Samrin and Sanooja were high school classmates. Both born in 1990, they grew up together in Kalpitiya in Sri Lanka.
When they turned 20, Sanooja was studying to be a schoolteacher, while Samrin left town for work. Samrin returned home in 2017 and they got married, her in a white headscarf and indigo-sleeved dress, him in a matching indigo suit. Their son Haashim was born a year later.
Samrin was a difficult person to fall in love with because he was so ambitious, says Sanooja over a video call from her home. But part of loving him, she explains, meant supporting him even in his hardest decisions. One of these decisions was to take a plane to Moscow, then to travel to Europe and send money home. “He went to keep us happy, to make us good.”
Their last day together is a precious memory. In their last photos together, Haashim sits laughing on Samrin’s lap. That night, Samrin squeezed his son and wept. The next day he put on a pair of blue Converse All-Stars, packed a black backpack, and set out. It was 26 June 2022. He was 32 years old.