Tag Archive for 'refugee stories'

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Letter by the Afghan Community: Concerning racist attacks in Athens

On the 18th of September the Afghan Community of Greece sent a letter to the Prime Ministers’ office in order to inform him of the continuing racist attacks against refugees and migrants in Athens and demanding for an immediate intervention by the authorities. The letter was a reaction to a huge number of racist attacks in the last three years, specifically, the last violent aggression of the beginning of August. Three persons had attacked an Afghan asylum seeker with a knife leaving him behind with severe injuries. A witness reported the racist attack and filed charges against the aggressors. The trial is going to be at the 27th September. It is one of the rare occasions when victims of racist attacks actually step away from their fear in order to report the violent act against them. It is also one of the rare incidents when the police actually accepted to register the report of a racist attack.

One of the most fatal results of the race motivated attacks is that they divide us as human beings when we need unity and solidarity the most. In the middle of the financial crisis, immigrants are able to contribute up to a level, promoting Greece abroad and taking part in the financial activity of the country. Racism can become a serious threat to the coexistence of cultures and social progress.

Read the letter in

english
greek

read the press release by the UNHCR (in greek)
PR UNHCR

The Greek police brought us to the border, silently like the smugglers, then they pushed us back

Evros: Push-back of Afghan unaccompanied minor October 2007

The fourth time I tried to enter Greece I came through Evros. The police arrested me and my friend who was also as young as me. We had to discuss a lot until they accepted us to be Afghans. They did not give us food until the next day. Nobody asked how old we are. They only asked our names. They brought us to Tyhero prison, they took our money and mobile phones. We were 200 persons in each cell – in total 400, I think. At least it was like in this in the night we were deported. Minors and adults were all together. We stayed five days. Then they put 50 of us into a truck in the night. After one hour we arrived at the river. We were waiting inside the truck. There was the sound of the Turkish soldiers. We could hear it inside the truck. They started again driving. In another place near the river on a dust road we were told to leave the truck in groups of 20. There were soldiers, civil police, border police. They told us to walk silently and don’t make any noise. Then we had to sit and wait. Then they put us into small inflatable boats – each 20 persons and two Greek police officers. They brought us to the Turkish side and told us to leave. Then they returned. The whole prison was returned to Turkey! Not all from one place, in groups of hundreds they spread us along the border. There were Palestinians, Pakistani, Afghans, Iranians… all boys and men.

Letter of prisoners in Fylakio

We prisoners in Filakio need your help from the outside. We do not have access to other cells, we don’t get fresh air, the water is dirty, food is just enough to survive, we cannot go outside.

When someone is sick, we cannot reach the doctor for help. Again and again, people fall sick since the toilets are dirty. We want to leave this prison. The police is beating us again and again, on our hands, on our feet, they insult us endlessly. Nobody answers our question to what our future will be. There are even people that have gone crazy, and still we cannot leave. We are a lot of people, with different nationalities, in one cell.
We have not committed any crime, and we have not chosen this fate.
We have fled war, oppression and poverty to reach European democratic countries.

Somebody tell us what is awaiting us, what will happen to us.

We prisons from Filakio, we are thankful that people are listening to us now.

Recently one of the prisoners went on hungerstrike. He fainted after 12 days of hungerstrike. After two days in hospital he was brought back to the prison cell. Nobody took note of his protest.

Press Release by the open Plenum in Orestiada against the repression in detention (in Greek)

See also: http://infomobile.w2eu.net/2011/09/12/situation-in-fylakio-in-september-2011/

another two racist attacks in Athens

12th September 2011

I would like to tell you about my sad day. I want to let you know how much I suffer and how blood-shat over me painfully during the tragedy that happened to me. I am alone, helpless, justice-less and with the absolute violation of my humanity. I was attacked by five persons today. When I was going to my work they beat me without any reason. I shouted for help but nobody responded. Continue reading ‘another two racist attacks in Athens’

Fire in refugees’ home in patras

Around the 8th of September unknown people set fire on a barack where asylum seekers were temporarily living in the transit-port of Patras.

As A., an Eritrean refugee reported:

I have been homeless in Athens. I have been homeless in Patras. I have been homeless in Igoumenitsa. I applied for asylum. Now I am again homeless in Patras. I live on the beach and in ruins. Police is hunting us every day.
A few days ago somebody lit fire on the ruin we were living in. I think it was the racists. Everything burned. All our belongings. My AFM (tax number), my work permit, my clothes. Everything. I am left now only with my Pink Card (asylum seekers temporary residence permit) but what is it worth? What can it do for me? I am still homeless and unprotected.

Transit in Patras


Following a number of police raids in the last months, currently, there are very few sans-papiers and asylum seekers left in Patras. The ones who have remained suffer, as K. from Somalia tells us:

“I only stay here because I don’t have any other place to go! There is no chance to leave from here for Italy. Very very few manage. The new port is very dangerous. Police is hunting and beating us, they even have dogs. My Pink Card got tear up by my former employer who didn’t want to pay me for the work I did. Now it is almost one month that I am only with a copy of my Pink Card. They say, I cannot get a new one if I don’t have an address in Patras, but where should I get it from? Two days ago a police control arrested me. I asked them to go and catch the copy of my Pink Card, but they didn’t let me go. I was in prison for two days. I am understanding more and more about this country. Nothing good to tell!”

Fylakio in September 2011

Yesterday we received a phone-call from relatives of Syrian refugees, who have been prisoners in Fylakio (Northern Greece) since a few days:

Today I talked with somebody who was released a few days ago from Fylakio prison about his experiences there. He didn’t want to talk about it first. He said he didn’t want me to feel sorry for something that happened to him, and make me suffer, me and my family. But I said to him: “Tell me the whole truth. The people have to know what happens in there!” Continue reading ‘Fylakio in September 2011’

I came here to Greece in order to save my life, now, they took even my body away from me

Patras, August 2011

Two refugees from Sudan talk about their lives in an emptied city. Patra has been the second exit-port after Igoumenitsa that the greek police raided in 2011. In the center of the city one cannot see any immigrants anymore. In repeated sweep operations the authorities destroyed a number of provisory housing sites and arrested hundreds of sans-papiers. In the summer of 2011 only very few refugees remained at the rims of the city marginalised and displaced.

Continue reading ‘I came here to Greece in order to save my life, now, they took even my body away from me’

Dublin-Deaths between Kerkyra/Greece and Bari/Italy (15th of January 2011)

The following testimony of Amin Fedaii, a 16-year-old afghan refugee, is alarming. More than 20 refugees (mainly from Afghanistan) died while trying to flee from Greece and to reach their relatives and friends in other European countries.

I felt very queasy, I was in the bottom of the ship and tried to sleep. I was not really sleeping I was so afraid. I was drifting away.


Continue reading ‘Dublin-Deaths between Kerkyra/Greece and Bari/Italy (15th of January 2011)’

John missing Jen

John is missing Jen.
Jen got lost when she tried to cross the border to Greece. Maybe she drowned in Evros, the river between Turkey and Greece. We will mourn Jen and all the refugees that died during the attempt to overcome Fortress Europe on the 30th of August 2011 in Evros. We want to give back a piece of dignity, to those whose death disappeared — right here — into the senselessness of the European borders. And we will gather for giving back a piece of dignity to those who survived. We will create a memorial space.
In the year 2010 more than 50 persons lost their lives in the border space of Evros. In 2011 the numbers of dead have reached already more than 20. The creation of a 12,5 km long fence in Evros that started in July 2011 will increase the danger at this border even more but it will not stop people from fleeing to Europe.

A better healing will only come by actually knowing what happened

Interview with John, Athens, 11.05.11.

Continue reading ‘John missing Jen’

“We were persecuted in our home countries, now we are persecuted here!” – Interview

Interview with the refugee N., from Eritrea
23rd of May 2011, Komunisia
by infomobile

N. spent a very long time in the mountains of Igoumenitsa. With 10 months he belongs to the experienced men on the mountain. He has been deported from Italy several times. Still he never lost his hope that one day he will get out.

The truck to the other Europe

“I promise to see you in a better place,” N. says and his eyes are full of energy.

How long are you in Igoumenitsa?

In Komunisia here? I have longer than ten months. More than ten months here!

What did you expect from coming here to Igoumenitsa?

You know, the reason for my coming to Komunisia, I am suffering too much bad in this country. I need to leave this country. For this reason I came to Komunisia. Unfortunately, during these days we are suffering from a very bad situation: from the police and from the racist people, from the civil society here in Komunisia.

Continue reading ‘“We were persecuted in our home countries, now we are persecuted here!” – Interview’

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.

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email: infomobile.w2eu@gmail.com

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