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Letters to the world from Ritsona(No.16)

”My world is farming”

Photo by:Nda Torabi
Photo by:Neda Torabi

When my wife and I immigrated to Iran, the Iranian government threatened us with deportation. That was exactly the moment we discoverd that my wife was pregnant and it was then that we started praying for a miracle.

My youth had been poisoned by discrimination. The mere idea that my child could also become victim to similar discrimination was unbearable. That prospect became a nightmare burning my might. So we decided that we should leave Iran and seek a better place for our child to grow up, no matter what the risks of such a journey would bring. We wanted our child to be born in a place of safety, of peace, of future possibilities.

My parents were totally against our decision, for they were very vulnerable and there was no one to take care of them, once we were gone. But for us, there was no other option. We were not going to become spectators of our child s unhappy life.

The journeys of refugees are never without risks, without dangers and without hardships. But every refugee who embarks on his journey has, at least, one most horrible experience, one most unbearable moment, never to be forgotten. For us the worst part of our journey was the sea, when my wife was trying to tolerate her belly’s pains, in order not to be arrested by the polices while crossing the border. At that terrible moment as we were crossing, we could never imagine that we we would end up in this dreadfulcamp, in the margins of Europe.

As for many refugees, my life, so far, had been without joy, without certainties, without belief in a possible better future. With the coming of our child, however, I could, no longer, accept the continuation of such an existence. I started taking steps for a better life and a brighter future. I started making changes in our environment.

For eight years in Iran, I was a farmer and, over those years, I gained a valuable experience in farming. I decided to apply that experience and I started planting different plants, mostly vegetables, in small plots close to our house and with access to water.

I want the world to listen to my voice, to listen to my words. I believe that every individual should be able to work in the field they want and have experience in. Only then, will they be able to develop to reach their potential and earn a dignified income. Passion is a key to success, self improvement, and strenght. In no way, should it be repressed or hidden.

I was getting depressed before, but farming, sowing plants, giving them water, being outside in the fresh air rescued me from the dark and heavy feelings that oppressed me. All the same, however, working here is not easy as it may seem to passersby. Neither has it brought a revolution in my life.

While working the land has given me some relief, every single moment, my thoughts are with my wife who is suffering from diabitis and hypertension. My thoughts are also always with my new born baby who is only five months old and badly sick.

Our journey to Europe has badly damanged the health of my wife. Her sugar level is very high and it has provoked two miscarriages. This baby was our last hope, because the doctors had warned us that my wife might not be able to get pregant. Unfortunately, she is now dependent on a medicine which she takes three times per day. She also needs to have insulin everyday.

Yet, all these difficulties do not prevent me from feeling joy seeing our own crops grow, in spite of the limited facilities at my disposal. I am also content that we will be able to sell part of the crops to the
inhabitants of the camp at a lower price than that asked by the local sellers, even though their fruits and vegetables are often of very bad quality.

I am a proud farmer. I want to live my life, my world, my future, my hopes and dreams in a green land,where I can exert my energy not have it supressed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letters to the world from Ritsona (No.12)

“In a world of war”, where can we find safety?

We escaped from far away lands, lands of war, violence and misery. We came here so that our children would not have to see the violence we had witnessed.

We passed the borders of life and death in search of safety and shelter. We put our lives in the mercy of smugglers and strangers to help us cross rocky mountains, deep valleys, deserts and, at the end, the angry sea. Europe was the light which kept us going. Europe was the promise of a new life at the end of the journey.

Yet, what we are experiencing, here and now, is the threat of a dark and unknown future for us, our children and the next generations.

Where can we find safety? This is, for us, the most vulnerable moment in our lives, a moment for which we had not been prepared. We have never, before, lived together with different communities, each with a different culture, different religion and beliefs, different customs, different histories. What we share is that we all crossed borders which left us with injuries, injuries in our bodies and, even more difficult to treat, injuries in our souls. Our life as refugees is filled with anxiety and mental stress. The process of reviewing our
application for asylum; our worries about our beloved ones left behind and living in danger; the future of our children which is wasted as they have no opportunity to go to school; our transfers from one camp to another, from detentions to ghettos , all create fears, worries, anger and frustration. No wonder that chaos and violence break in the camps.

No one who arrives here enjoys mental health, even the physically sound ones are suffering of depression and other psychological difficulties. And even if those arriving are free of such symptoms, once here and as the months of waiting go by, they soon feel vulnerable and exposed, anxious and afraid.

In such an atmosphere, a small event can provoke negative feelings, even violence among different groups. It is enough to have a child throw a stone to another from another community and, soon enough, there is suspicion and hatred between the two groups. Similar feelings are generated if, for example, a child falls from its bicycle as another, belonging to another community, is passing by.

Such events may seem minor and insignificant. Yet such events have had terrible consequences. People arm themselves with sticks, knives, bats because they feel they may be attacked and need to feel that they can defend themselves and their families. Even our fathers and brothers pile us things ,that they can use to defend us. Women collect stones for their men so that they can protect them.

How could it be otherwise, when 2500 people are piled together, even now that we are facing a new ferocious threat, the Corona Virus. The form that ‘our safety quarantine’ takes is imprisonment We are forced to live in closed ‘facilities’ even as the number of infected people among us is rising.

When violence breaks and we call the police, no one answers, no one
interferes.

I am afraid I can be caught in this violence, this war. I am afraid that I may injure someone, that I may lose my belief in people and in the possibility of peace in our lives. And I am afraid of what can happen to my father and brothers and I am tired of seeing my mother cry or hear people scream.

Where can we find safety? Surely not when we are locked up, repressed, hidden in a far away and isolated camp. Nobody sees us, nobody cares, nobody understands that the life of our children having no schooling is wasted in idleness. Yet we have dreams of becoming doctors, engineers, teachers. . .

But how long…..?
How long should we witness violence?
How long should we arm ourselves for protection?
How long should we suffer anxiety and depression?
How long should our children carry stones instead of books and pencils?
How long should we waste away, facing total indifference about our future?
How long should we be targeted as deserving repression?

 

poems of a Butterfly NO:5

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

written by:Parwana Amiri

Ilustrated by :Micol suber

link : https://brushaandbow.com/we-are-burning/

Letter to the World from Moria (No. 9)

Author: A migratory girl

copyright: Salinia Stroux

I am a mother

I am mother of three children and& and wife of a sick husband. He has a hernia on his backbone. He cannot walk. Neither should he get tired. So, I must look after my entire family on my own.

I am a woman, softer than flowers, but this life makes me harder than rocks.

Every day, as the sun rises, my mission starts. I wake up at 5am. I spread the blanket over my children. Then I go to get food. I walk 800 meters to the food line. The line starts at 6:30am, but I want to be up front, the first one among a thousand women.

All this waiting for just 5 cakes and one litter of milk, which I suspect is mixed with water.

My boy has a kidney infection for five years now. He cannot tolerate hunger. I must go back as fast as I can.

When back, I gather all the blankets and spread them on the tent’s floor.

I sweep in front of my tent. With my own hands I made a broom from tree branches. I wet the soil with water to prevent the dust and dirt from coming inside.

I hardly finish and, once again, I must run to the food line for taking lunch. The queue starts at 11:30am although they distribute the food only at 13:00pm. So the whole waiting process, under unbearable conditions, starts for me again. In the line for hours, I do not know what happens to my children: Are they well? Are they safe? Has my son’s pain started?

We have been here for 200 days. And every week, we eat the same food – repetitive, tasteless, with no spices, little salt and oil. Three times a week beans, once meatballs, once chicken and once rice with sausage, which we don’t know for sure if it is Hallal. But I force my children to eat so they won’t stay hungry.

This is only an Abstract of the letter.Read the whole letter on infomobile.w2eu.net

Parwana

p.s. For all the mothers!

Traces back 2013: Arrival in Mytilene

Our little home for the next daysSunday night, arrival in Mytilene. We, a little group of 10 people were really exited when we arrived at the beach of Tsamakia. With the feeling: Finally we did it again!

Here in Mytilene we were looking forward to meeting people who were in solidarity with us. We were glad to see the Mediterranean Sea and at the same time Turkey which is the place that is for a lot of people the last step on the journey to Europe. All of us brought hope and expectation but we also felt sadness because we know that a lot of people lose their lives when fleeing. Some of us also had to take the same route of escape and arrived back then in Mytilene.

The nice sight of the island is still connected to our painful memories

. Some of us were unable to sleep in the first few nights. We had hopes and expectations on the one hand but we were also personally affected on the other hand. Just imagine seeing the sun and sea and then suddenly seeing the refugees standing at the sea front…
Continue reading Traces back 2013: Arrival in Mytilene

Traces back 2013: Program of a journey back to the border

Tuesday, 8th October

2:00 PM Conversation with the press for journalists and other people interested. At the building of EPA Aegaiou, E.Bostani 69, Mitilini
7:00 PM Exhibition opening in ERGATIKH LESXH, Mitilini: Thank you to the people who saved our lives!

Wednesday, 9th of October

6:00 PM: Watch The Med – Invitation to an Information and Discussion – event in the auditorium of the Geography Department, University Mytiline, Lesvos: Watch the Med is an online mapping platform to monitor the deaths and violations of migrants’ rights at the maritime borders of the EU with Lorenzo Pezzani, one of the founders of the project. See: http://www.watchthemed.net/

Thursday, 10th of October

12:00 AM: Workshop on w2eu.info. The Webguide provides contacts and counselling to refugees and migrants on their way – and the idea for it was born in Lesvos during the Noborder activities 2009. The workshop will be very practical on how to contribute to this project – with translations, providing contacts and distributing cards and printings to those in need…

From 8:00 PM on: Welcome to Europe party on the beach of Tsamakia. After the last of the group arrive on Thursday afternoon we will start a welcoming party. Those who are already there will prepare a welcome to those arriving. Everybody is invited to come and to bring something to eat and to drink.

Friday, 11th of October

7:00 PM: EPIMELITIRIO -P.Kountourioti 71, Mitilini Traces from Lesvos through Europe “Respect only with passport? – Muhajer Tour is back”. We want to talk about the nexus of “here” (Greece/ Mytilini) and “there” (Germany, Sweden etc.) and life in Europe “without” and “with documents”; to share experiences and reflections on: what this journey means/ meant, what struggles have been fought and need to be fought and what “arriving” brings with it. We want to discuss what it means to find again a prison on
this island of arrival that reminds us on the horror of Pagani. We would like to combine speeches with an open time for discussion afterwards and we want to fill the room with different exhibitions (Traces from Lesvos through Europe – Fotoexhibition Noborder 2009 – pieces of cloth from inside Pagani) and more.

Saturday, 12th of October

Morningtime: Delegation to Moria – we apply to allow a delegation of us to enter the newly built prison in Moria. We invite the population of Lesvos to go together to see if the detention camp in Moria looks like a welcome center or reminds us on Pagani, the former prison that was closed down after our struggles from inside and outside.

4:30 PM – Memorial in Thermi: We want to construct and inaugurate a memorial fountain to remind not only of the deaths of the December 2012 tragedy whose bodies were found in Thermi, but also of all others who have died on their road to Europe. Shortly after the biggest tragedy with hundreds of deaths close to the Italian island Lampedusa we will hold a ceremony to honour the dead. We will give a promise to continue the struggle against this senseless killing.

Sunday, 13th of October

From 11:00 PM on: Working groups on the beach of Tsamakia on different topics, like:

– How to continue against the prison(s)
– Blogs and Websites
– Documentation of our journey
– and about all our wishes how to continue…

Eveningtime: Manifestation in Mytilene – to protest for registration
without detention!

روزی فضلواز ورد کی پرسید: او لوده چرا یک لنگ جورابیت آبی و یک لنگش سرخ اس ؟
ورد کی گفت: نمیفامم والله. همی رقم یک جوره دیگام ده خانه دارم

Jokes

یک روز وردکی ميره اداره هواشناسی به یکی ازکارمنداش ميگها مروزهواخيلی خوب بود

Forgive me

If I love you very much forgive me
If you are the only one my heart desired forgive me
Forgive me if at night I count the Stars
Forgive me if I keep telling you I love you
Forgive me if I keep bring you Baskets and Baskets of flowers
Forgive me if at night I only dream of you
Forgive me if I am not enough for your Eyes, You are an Angel and I am only Human
Forgive me if I Die and come back to life for you
I Apologize for my craziness around you
Forgive me if I keep Entrusting you to the Hands of God
When in the Company of others instead of saying (Du) I say you (Sie)
Forgive me if I don’t wanna show you to the moon, or to the night or to the Hands of sky
Forgive me if I want you only for my self
Forgive me if I am not enough for you But I am too in love with you
If I live you very much forgive me If you are the only one my heart desires forgive me…