We are burning
It’s not to mark the date!
It’s to raise the alarm!
The fire has burned our homes.
The fire has burned our schools.
The fire has burned our hospitals.
The fire has burned our dreams.
We are burning.
We search for your eyes.
You have turned them away.
You have hidden your faces.
Who is the criminal? Not the fire, for sure!
Who shall pay for the life of the burned child?
Who shall answer the mother, never to touch her child again?
Who can answer?
Who dares imagine the screams of the baby burning ?
The baby was crying…
Was crying, was crying…
The baby was burning, a bundle of coal left.
Where are those who cursed us?
Those afraid we threatened their wealth?
Come on and see!
Do you dare to look at this scene?
Better avert your eyes.
Hide and lock yourselves in your homes!
We are silent so that you hear us
by migratory girl
We do not have a second shelter
We took our children´s hands while our homes were blown up by bombs and death was invading our lives.
We tolerated all sorts of hardship and crossed thousands of kilometers, to reach safety, find refuge.
Then we arrived here. We were treated harshly, at times, with cruelty, as we waited to see if we would be recognized as refugees and given asylum. In the process we were forced to see each other with suspicion for we claimed the same thing.
And yet, even now that we have been recognized as refugees and been granted asylum, we are threatened with new hardships, new obstacles, new cruelties. Our dream, which just came true is being turned into a nightmare.
Our lives will have the biggest revolution. We will be turned onto the streets, the alleys, the parks, the open public spaces of cities, with no roof over our heads. These will be our new shelter.
With each moment that passes, I am losing my focus on my life more than ever. The threat of losing my home, the shelter I have known so far, fills me with panic. What sort of future waits for me, when homeless I will be forced to sleep on the corners of the streets? I was hoping that soon I would start my education, in this country where I was given the right to live. There will be no education for me. I will have to seek a job in order to rescue my family from the streets.
A job …
That will be the hardest part of my new life. For months, I have lived far from a town, in the midst of nowhere. During all these months, I could not be taught the national language and I am not able to speak it.
I dread to think how we can live in the roads.
Why should downtown become a second Moria camp for us?
Why should we live under such a social system?
If our labor cannot be used, then the economy will suffer. This is our belief, but unfortunately the rulers do not agree with us. They are wrong.
We want to work , we want to give services, we want to earn respected money and food.
We need an organized life, a home, an education, a social security number to get a legal job, a health card to get medical care. Only then, will we become real residents — not when we stay hidden or looked upon by discriminating eyes.
How can we be left on our own, in the streets, with no shelter, no education?
There is no second home for us. Our first home has been destroyed under bombs and wars. Yet, we were given some sort of a shelter, some sort of a home here. And now they want to throw us out. We will not leave our only shelter. What is the logic of this new policy to kick out the ones that are recognized as refugees in order to create accommodations for the ones from the camps on the islands? How can we integrate into society under such terms, which leave us totally exposed and deprived of our human dignity? Only when the newly recognized refugees can enter society and have the means for their own survival, should new ones come to take their shelters.
We will not let our families be broken.
We want justice and equality for our lives.
Poems of a migratory girl
1) It needs Courage
It needs courage to build a school !
It needs courage to touch children’s hearts !
It needs courage to welcome homelessness !
It needs courage to stand with us in one line !
It needs courage to open an educational house !
It needs courage to give hope for hopelessness !
It needs courage to give pens to those that have never touched a pen before !
It needs courage to paint the black and white world of the wounded !
It needs courage to advocate from silences !
It needs courage to give shelter to others !
It needs courage to stay a human !
It needs courage !
It need courage
It’s easy to destroy !
It’s easy to break hearts !
It’s easy to shout at the silenced !
It’s easy to close your eyes on truths !
It’s easy to hurt those who have been hurtled many times !
It’s easy to sit aside !
It’s easy to show your power against weaknesses !
It’s easy !
It’s easy !
But , we will never give up !
We will build again , stronger than before !
We will help again more committed than before !
We will bring happiness and stay happy , happier than before !
We will make islands free
I wrote this poem . when the “school of peace” was burned by an unknown group that was told, it was a group of facists in Lesvos island.
by Parwana Amiri
In 2019, 74 000 refugees arrived in Greece, that is 50% more than last year. 59 700 on the islands and 14 900 through the land borders.
The reception centers, on the islands, are now dangerously overcrowded with 36 400 on Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos living in spaces that could together accommodate 5 400. This means that many of us refugees have to stay in dire conditions in makeshift shelters, such as summer tents, in the informal sites outside the hotspot.
Greece, today, has an approximated total of 112 300 refugee. 71 200 of them are on the mainland and 41 100 on the islands. Among them 40% are children, 6 out of 10 are below the age of 12. 16% of all children registered upon arrival are unaccompanied or separated from their families.
More than 20% of the those that arrived are women, a lot of them single mothers whose husbands, on many occasions, have been in Europe for many years.
In January 2020 alone, in Moria camp on Lesvos, two people died after knife attacks and another is in critical condition. One person committed suicide. A child was killed by a car. A nine month baby died from dehydration. A woman died after a fire broke in the containers.
This situation is the direct result of the so called EU-Turkey deal and the unwillingness of the European countries to welcome refugees.
Think how these people can live in those hells.
Continue reading DEMONSTRATION
I am Parwana Amiri and at this moment where I’ m writing to you.
I’ m sitting back against the wall located in the middle of nowhere, between factories that produce different gases that cause various breathing problems to children and elder people.
Here is Ritsona, the refugee camp, where responsibility is absent, vulnerable s are ignored.
We are those refugee individuals and groups that could be moved away from the Aegean islands to the mainland, due to being highly vulnerable, but what we are faced with despite our vulnerability is being at the bottom of the care list, even now, during the pandemic.
Having the fundamentals is an unquestionable right for those, who are in quarantine, yet we, the people locked down in Ritsona are far from that!
Continue reading Enough is enough!
Voice of Unaccompanied minors – Letters from Refugees(moria) to the World No:6
by Parwana Amiri
Evacuate us from [strict] closed camps!
Normally, 24 million kilowatts potential energy exists in a person`s body. This amount of energy can supply the electricity of a small town for one week.
But I repress, stifle, waste all that energy, because of psychological problems every day. I am one among hundreds of unaccompanied minors who live in one of the most crowded refugee camps of Europe.
Here is Moria camp overcrowded with thousands of persons from every region of the world, with different backgrounds, different experiences and different mentalities. This diversity and complexity make the living conditions for hundreds of unaccompanied minors, be it boys or girls, physically and psychologically harder and harder.
A simple summer tent for shelter seems a dream for us. We have passed many days sleeping in the road. Instead of having access to useful education, we are learning how to steal, to use drugs, to trick the girls. And every day, we make plans how to get out of this prison.
I am an unaccompanied minor, who covered thousands of kilometers over deserts and borders to come to Europe. The sky was like my father and the ground was my mother. I passed the distances, counting stars, lonely and dreaming of a bright future.
I came here in order to have a brighter future, but what is happening to me and the other minors like me, is that we are losing our hopes and our future looks dark.
I have lived here in fear — fear of losing my way, my courage and my goals. Fear of becoming trapped by male wolves. So I prefer to live in the road instead of living with single men around.
Continue reading Letters from Refugees to the World No:6
Public safety or mass extinction?
Here we are in the Ritsona refugee camp, located 70 kilometers north of Athens, constructed to house vulnerabe refugees. Ever since the outbreak of the Corona virus epidemic, however, the color and spirit of the camp have changed dramatically.
As the whole world is facing this terrible pandemic, the Ritsona refugee camp is where the first positive case of the virus, among the refugees in Greece, occured. As a result, we are now in a 14-day quaratine!
What does quarantine mean in a refugee camp?
When we hear the word quarantine, the first thing that comes to mind is being locked down in a specific place, for a specific length of time, with a specific objective: to stay away from infected people who can put our lives in danger and to prevent ourselves from putting the lives of others in danger.
But, what is the reality of a quarantine for those living in a camp?
Corona is teaching spiritual and moral lessons that have long been forgotten. It is teaching equality, that all humans are equal regardless of their life style, culture, religion, wealth, skin color, and geographical location.
Corona is teaching …
- … that … a border can simply be the door of your room, when you are not allowed to go out, even if you need to. Crossing that door frontier is banned.
- … that … borders can now be crossed without passports. Those documents, which, for years, separated us, excluded us, have little value now. A virus can cross the borders without any identification papers.
- … how … foolish humans have been taking for granted the most important necessities of life: food, water, medicine, while millions around them were deprived of them, living in fear of deprivation, every day of their lives. Today – everyone faces those threats!
- … that … no matter how hard humans are working, the important thing is what one does and how one does something can benefit others.
- … shame to those full of greed, selfishness and arrogance. It is teaching that the only way to survive is to help, to share, to give and look after others and protect them from the virus.
- … how … the meaning of life changes when you do not have any solution for your problems and you are just waiting to see what others are deciding for your life.
- … that … all humans are vulnerable.
- … patience instead of panic. Many lived in this panic for years and had to chose patience instead – knowing that panic would cause more harm than good.
- … that … everyone might become like all those who – for years – had their lives at the mercy of others – without knowing what their fate would be.
- … that … life can lose its meaning when you are forced to live without any purpose or expectation. Or in a prison – just staying alive – the prison becoming your home.
What we were afraid of has happened. After giving birth in a Hospital in Athens, a women – that escaped from somewhere in Africa – and her newborn where soon released from the hospital and brought to Ritsona Camp. She was then tested positive for the Coronavirus. After being in touch with 63 persons in the camp 20 positive results have been confirmed in the camp.
The quarantine started from today 02/04/2020. People are in panic and they are trying to keep their distance with people from African countries – that will not decrease the risk. With this treatment from other communities, residents that escaped from countries in Africa raised their campaign in the camp more than ever with slogans like “Africans have NO Coronavirus”.
However, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), one of the official actors of the camp, announced that they will begin to distribute food baskets and hygiene kits to camp residents and that people would continue to have access to medicine. But it is not clear when. The residents prepare their food in the homes, they started buying what they need from internal shops of the camp. But most of people are not able to buy their necessities as the bank cash that were going to receive on the beginning of this month, has been delayed on 20th of the month
Close contact of people with each other, having no mask, less access to medicines they need as vulnerable people, is increasing the risk more than elsewhere.
14 days quarantine for residents from government and emphasized by active NGOs of the camp, sending frequent messages to residents. But still different reasons push the residents to go out and provide their necessities, meanwhile police started their activities to control the movement of people in the camp.
Continue reading Ritsona Camp under COVID-19 pressure -“The chain has been broken!”