Category Archives: Greece

Letters to the world from Ritsona (No:7)

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.

(Parwana Amiri)

Poems of a Butterfly (No:3)

a migratory girl

3) 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

BECAUSE ….

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

(Parwana Amiri)

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.

Letters to the world from Ritsona (No.6)

Enough is Enough

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 Letters to the world from Ritsona (No.6)

Letters to the world from Moria (No:14)

Copyright Ahmad Ebrahimi.

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 to the world from Moria (No:14)

Letter to the world from Ritsona (No:4)

Author:Parwana Amiri

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!

But …

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?

Continue reading Letter to the world from Ritsona (No:4)

Letters to the world from Ritsona (No:3)

Author : Parwana  Amiri

What is Corona Virus is teaching ?

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.

Continue reading Letters to the world from Ritsona (No:3)

Letters to the world from Ritsona (No.2)

Author : Parwana Amiri

The chain has been broken

02/04/2020

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.

Copyright Parwana Amiri

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 Letters to the world from Ritsona (No.2)

Letters to the world from Ritsona (No.1)

Author :Parwana

Under COVID19 pressure

29/03/2020
For years, Ritsona Refugee Camp was ment for almost nine hundred refugees. Today, the camp provides accommodation facilities for more than three thousands refugees from the islands, most of them are vulnerable.

I am one of these new arrivals, who could find peace, dignity, primary education, health care, entertainment and all that a human needs for a normal life, under one camp – Ritsona Refugee Camp.

Copyright Parwana Amiri

Our all-day-life-world changed here for us, people could get back their normal moral state. Communication became much stronger than what it was before. But we are all under a huge pressure of a common problem – COVID-19 – that has a single solution: stay at home to keep your safety!

That is almost impossible when you are a part of more than four thousand people, and live in a container with more than eight persons .

While all through the world, the rule is to stay at home temporarily, here it is just to stay in the camp. But in Ritsona Camp this is not logical. People are in a close contact with each other every single moment, without having any information about what it is going on throughout the world or ways of protecting themselves and their children.
Continue reading Letters to the world from Ritsona (No.1)

Pixi: “The Olive Tree and The Old Woman”

This story is written by Parwana Amiri, a young Afghan woman who has lived with her family in the Olive Grove from the Moria hotspot since September 2019.

When Parwana noticed how unbearable the living conditions were, she supported the people with her language skills and started to publicize the stories they had experienced.
Her “LETTERS TO THE WORLD FROM MORIA” have been published in a blog since September: Infomobile and and on this Blog.

This little book is based on the real story of one of the many people forced into the Olive Grove
Use olive trees to heat or bake. It is an imaginary conversation between an old woman and an olive tree.

It was drawn by Marily Stroux and printed by w2eu / alarmfone.

You can buy this little book for a donation of € 4.00. Write an email: marily@busyshadows.org or get it Hamburg at Kölibri.
Where: at Kölibri, Hein-Köllisch-Platz 11 + 12 · 20359 Hamburg or via marily@busyshadows.org
When: always on OpenFriday from 14-17: 30h

All proceeds go directly to Parwana for the projects in which she participates. The self-organized school WAVES OF HOPE FOR THE FUTURE, founded by ZEKRIA Farzad with 1,200 students of all ages in the Olive Grove, is one of them.

Letter to the World from Moria (No. 13)

Author: A migratory girl

Note: This photo is not showing the persons described below in the letter.

I am the mother of two sick babies

Every mother raises up her baby being proud of it from the first day. When she kisses her baby, her baby kisses her back, and this is the absolute happiness for her. When the child grows, she is watching how it plays with others. She watches it grow and develop. These are the joys of a mother. 

I have raised my two children under the hardest conditions of life. I spent everyday praying for them. But while the body of my four year old girl grew, her brain did not follow along. And the same happened to my boy.

I love my children. But society humiliated us for them being different. I will never forget that everybody expected my husband to get married again, because I gave birth to mentally disabled babies.

I didn’t even know that I was getting married. I was so small, getting married was for me was like playing with my dolls, and it was the same for all other girls of my very young age.

When I started to learn about life as a couple, I realised that I was pregnant and when I hugged my Mariam* (names changed) for the first time, I became also aware of people’s talk – mostly the nearest persons around me. They called my baby “handicapped”, “abnormal”, and those words aggrieved me.

Continue reading Letter to the World from Moria (No. 13)