The video footage sparked international outrage: A desperate Syrian father, clutching his small son, runs with hundreds fleeing from authorities at an Hungarian camp. Then, a Hungarian camerawoman sticks her leg out and trips him. He tumbles. He screams.
Although he was just one of thousands fleeing war-torn Syria, the incident set off a wave of media coverage, and soon he wasn’t a nameless refugee. He is Osama Abdul Mohsen, father to 7-year-old Zaid, and he once coached division one soccer in Syria.
Now, Spain’s national soccer coach training center, Cenafe, has arranged for him to come to the country, where a job offer and a place to live near Getafe await him, the Associated Press reported.
“Hopefully, this will serve as an example to the rest of Europe,” school director Miguel Galán said, according to AP. “We need to help these people.”
Mohsen arrived in Madrid on Thursday after traveling by train from Germany with two of his sons, an Arabic-speaking Cenafe student and a reporter from the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “I am very, very happy when Mr. Miguel called [me] to come to Spain,” Mohsen said on the train in an video interview with El Mundo. “I see a future for my family in Spain.”
Mohsen’s wife and two other children remain in Turkey, and he said on camera that it’s “very vital” that his family reunite with him in Spain. Authorities at the soccer academy are working to have Mohsen’s family join him and to get him legalized so he can work there, AP reported.
The migrant crisis in Europe reached a new apex this week when Hungary erected 109 miles of razor-wire fencing along its border, hoping to keep out people seeking to make it farther inland to wealthier nations such as Germany.
Last month, a record 156,000 migrants entered Europe, according to the E.U. border agency Frontex. Spain pledged last week to welcome 17,680 refugees.
After footage showing her tripping Mohsen went viral, Hungarian camerawoman Petra Laszlo was fired from N1TV, considered a right-wing station. She subsequently apologized.
Cenafe’s director told El Pais that it used its advertising budget to pay for an apartment for Mohsen. “When we saw the story of Mohsen published in the newspapers we felt very bad about it,” Galán told the newspaper. “As soon as he learns Spanish, we plan to offer him a job at our organization.”
In a statement, the soccer academy said that many of its students go on to work internationally and that the addition of Mohsen will help to better prepare them for foreign work.
“We can only thank Osama for accepting our invitation,” the statement read.