Letter to the World from Moria (No. 2)

copyright: Salinia Stroux

Author: A migratory girl

The way from Afghanistan to Greece; stories of unsafe border crossings

The reasons for my people of escaping their home are different according to their individual stories, their families, jobs and the situation in their villages / towns or origin, but the main factor is the internal and cross-border war – not just for us Afghans but for most of the refugees.

When forced to leave and choosing to come this way, we are risking our lives in order to survive in the end. Even after considering all dangers and the possibility of death, still this is the better choice among only bad alternatives.

All refugees from Afghanistan have to cross several borders to arrive here. Even though some may start with different possibilities, with or without Afghan passports, with or without residence permits from Iran/Paksitan, valid and invalid ones, we all suffer hundred dangers on the way. Some start their escape route in Afghanistan, others have been already living for years as refugees or people without papers in Iran and Pakistan, some were even born as refugees.

We ride on motor-bikes, pick-ups, trucks with too many others driving through stony deserts. We walk many klimoetres over mountains and through rivers. We cross fences and seas. We find ourselves confronted with police, soldiers, smugglers and thieves. We spend nights outside without knowing where we are, without blankets in the cold, rain or snow and without food and water. They shoot on us, we get robbed, kidnapped, threatened, raped. We see dead people along the road. Many of us are kids or minors, many escape with their families, with their grandmothers and grandfathers or sick relatives.

Do you think, this is a simple choice to take this route to freedom?

On the way out of Afghanistan to Europe, there are places controlled by thieves where even the smugglers and soldiers are afraid of. I heard the story of family whom thieves stoped to rob all their belongings. They threatened them, that if they wouldn’t give them what they wanted, they would sexually abuse their women. They survived the attack but were left with nothing but their lives and the clothes on their bodies. İn another case five minors were robbed, beaten and taken hostage for two nights, where they wouldn’t get more than a small piece if dry bread a day. They added that they felt horrible, as there were also two girls in hostage who got both raped and murdered. İn another case a family told me, how they crossed the desert with their four kids and two other families. There was no shadow, no shelter. They were without water and their kids dehydrated. They struggled: Either peace or death.

When we arrive to Iran, we face a country full of racism against Afghan refugees, who build the majority of immigrants there. The country likewise our home, is full of racism against the atheists, ethnic or religious minorities, political opponents. It is a country, where refugees cannot attend formal education or get the nationality even if born there. It is a country where violence against women, strangers and even their own people is often silenced and remains unpunished. A country where you cannot speak freely. A country where citizenship is sold for the price of death as a soldier in war.

After crossing the rocky mountains, we reach Turkey. A family expressed it like this: “We were stuck for two nights on a snowy mountain. When our small baby started crying the polices came and arrested us. They deported us all the way back to Afghanistan. So we had to pass again Pakistan’s border and then İran’s border.

The sea between Turkey and Greece is a black water full of deaths and corpses. People died because the priority in Europe is to control borders and not saving lives.

Do you think these parents are ready to put their children lives in danger?

No one, no one, no one… chooses this without having a bigger danger behind his/her back. These mothers and fathers are afraid in every moment. They decide to risk death just to give their kids the hope of peace.

We refugees walk on a path of fire, from which we try to escape. When we see another way, one without fire, we will chose it without thinking a second, without knowing if there will be other dangers. We have to choose the other way anyway, so that we won’t burn. This other way, the one without fire, is where Europe put barbed wire, where war ships stop us from reaching, where our dreams for peace get lost in the sea and the “lucky” ones end up in the hell of Moria.

Do you really think we arrived here easily?

Parwana

The infomobile

... is like a “paper boat”. We chose this as a metaphor for what we want to create and for the situation of refugees and migrants in Greece. The paper boat is a folded boat able to swim – for a while. Then you have to build a new one to go on travelling. A paper boat is symbolic for the journey of life, vulnerable but in your own hands and to be recreated again and again. It is simple, but it carries many hopes and dreams. It can dance on a turbulent sea. It belongs to everybody. And it might become the small version – like a first draft – of a welcome-space.

Get in touch

email: infomobile.w2eu@gmail.com

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