Filmmaker Firas Alshater was imprisoned for his activism in Syria. He became a sensation on social media after blindfolding himself in a Berlin public plaza with a sign that read: "I am a Syrian refugee. I trust you — do you trust me?"
If you haven't seen the three-minute video that made him famous, you'll want to.
"I was waiting, I don't know if somebody will come and hug me, I don't know if somebody will come and kick me, I don't know what will happen," he says. "But then, I hear that there is a lot of people near me and there is people making photos and selfies and but nobody hug me. And then comes someone and hugs me. And he was my camera man and he was trying to say to people, 'Hey come over, trust this person."
That's when the hugging began. And it didn't stop. Loads of people stopped by to embrace the 23-year-old refugee.
"That give me great feeling," he adds. "It showed me the media cannot show you all the reality and they can't make interviews with all people to show you that there's still people who is supporting refugees, even if they don't know them."
Alshater grew up in Damascus. He was among the first on the streets five years ago when protests against the regime of Bashar al-Assad broke out. But he says today he wakes up every morning determined only to find some happiness.
"I don't want to live just in the past," he says. "I want so see my future, I want to build my life, so that's what I do."
This article was originally published by PRI's The World.