Letters to the world from Moria (No:15)

Is it a crime to …….?

We come from far away lands – lands of war, violence, misery. Our lives were threatened every day, every hour, every minute. So we plucked our courage and we left in search of a better, a secure and safe future — for ourselves and our children. We traveled in fear, facing all sorts of difficulties, all sorts of dangers and threats. Finally, we reached Europe.

We have been in the refugee camp of Moria, on the island of Lesvos, for months and months. It felt like a prison, it felt like hell. Nobody cared for us. And whenever some people tried to help, they met hostility and persecution from the authorities.

After many months spent in that hell, lining in queues for food, water, medical care, to use the toilets or the showers; after many months surviving in squalor, with sewage water running along our tents, garbage piling up; suffering the cold, the rains, the heat with no adequate protection against the elements; after many months of humiliation, repression, uncertainty and fear of the violence that broke among the people cramped up in that prison, we managed, on our own, to leave that hell and arrive in Athens. Did we make the wrong decision?

Here we are now: in Victoria square, in the capital of Greece! We pass our nights in the open, suffering cold during the night and heat during the day. Our children, hungry, play with naked feet. To use a toilet, we can only go to the restaurants around, but the owners are often unwilling to give us permission to use them. All our possessions are stuffed in a suitcase. We use our few clothes as pillows under our heads and we share some blankets with each other during the night. While the rest of the world is sleeping we are awake, because danger threatens us each moment here, in Victoria square. Smugglers approach us, asking for money and promising a safe passage to other European countries. How can we trust them? Dispossessed, displaced, alone, we are at the mercy of strangers.

The shade of trees is our only protection, but they do not protect us from the eyes of the passersby. Look at us! What you see is the reality of our life, not a theater drama or a dramatic film. Don’t bow your head to avoid our sight and pretend that you don’t know what is happening to us. Don’t avoid us as if we were carriers of disease, or criminals threatening your life. And don’t pretend you support us by taking our pictures and posting them in your facebook. Our children are not actors performing in the films you shoot without asking us. They have their own dreams they long to reach. Will they be allowed to?

Is it a crime to say ‘no’ to injustice?

Is it a crime to demand our basic human rights?

Is it a crime to struggle for a better life?

Is it a crime to demand the satisfaction of our basic needs?

Is it a crime to challenge what you call “democracy”?

Written by:Parwana Amiri

Photo by:Marios Lolos

Poems of a Butterfly (No:4)

poems of a migratory girl

Your eyes bother us

It is not a drama film
We are not actors
Don’t be spectators
Your eyes bother us!

Trees are our shelter
The earth is our floor
This is a real scene
You eyes bother us!

Violence and humiliation
Scorn and repression
Don’t see us as criminals
Your eyes bother us!

You support is admirable
But, don’t take our pictures
The lenses, your eyes
Your eyes bother us!

In the roads, passengers
In the tents, tourists
In war, among soldiers
Your eyes bother us!

Not the eyes, only hearts
Not the eyes, only thoughts
Not the eyes, only glances
Those eyes bother us!

(Full of respect for all solidarity people who were always there to help us, this poem is only for those
who couldn’t change their perspective about us)

(To survive, to breathe
To achieve our goals
Not to stay in darkness
We struggled in Greece)

photo by: Ahmad Ebrahimi

Letters to the world from Ritsona (No:9)

Can you imagine your self ?

15/07/2020

Imagine being an asylum seeker , seeking for your asylum application everywhere!

Imagine yourself in long queues to get food, to see a doctor, to go to the toilet, to have a wash, to have access to the taps for water to wash your clothes.

Imagine yourself calling for help while your tent is burning with no help coming to the rescue!

Imagine that you are a young muslim refugee girl, who cannot find safety anywhere, while school and education are becoming unreachable dreams for her and is fighting for all her rights.

Yeah, we struggled tolerating all those difficulties that we are facing even now when our voices and our rights are repressed and our existence is trapped. We have never been treated equally either before the pandemic or even now during the pandemic in spite of the so much used slogan: “We are, in this, together”.

When we are forced to stay home, because of unfounded and unproven diagnosis of corona virus cases, while tourists from other countries are welcome: when, in spite of this call “to stay home”, we are evicted from our homes, we demand freedom of action. But, that too we cannot have.

We, refugees, are always fighting to have our fundamental rights, which should be given naturally as we belong to the humankind, like you and all other people.We are fighting with words, with protests in the camps, until our voices be heard.

Although we have struggled until now and continue at this moment, the built up of pressures is becoming unbearable. We will not be able to continue our struggle alone.

We need your fists to be raised for us, not against us!

We are trying to survive, and you can stand in solidarity by our side. Our geographical origins distinguish us from each other, and it is a general human condition that there are things that some have and others do not. But there is one thing that all humans have, from the day of their birth to the day of their death, even during the pandemic: we have rights, basic human rights. As refugees we also have a right to education, a right to health, a right to hygiene, a right to food and a right to a safe life. We are refugees and if we cannot find safety here, then the concept “safety “ becomes meaningless.

We will never let others take away our right to freedom of movement, our right to freedom of action, to freedom of raising our voices .

And, if you stay silent against what is happening to us, then it means that you condone it and that it should continue.

If you stay silent against this crisis, then you are a cause of that.

If you stay silent against what we are suffering, it means we deserve such suffering.

Do you agree?

This silence will decide the value of our lives.

Parwana  Amiri (migratorygirl)

Special thanks to : Sonia Vlachou and solidarian collectivities in ionnina greece, who invited and supported .

Letters to the world from Ritsona (No:8)

Europe must act

Congratulations to the European Union! To the European Commission! To the European Council! Congratulations also to all the European citizens for your 70th anniversary of alliance. We, however, are not able to celebrate and participate in your jubilation, as your crises and differences have left us behind, alone with all our difficulties and the unbearable conditions of our lives.

Yet we live in the same land as many other European citizens, in the land of one member of the European Union: Greece. We have never thought that, in a country of Europe, we will face such a fate that human dignity itself loses its meaning and that human freedom is ignored, forgotten.

12 golden stars in your flag surround our life and imprison our freedom.

27 country members keep silent, no matter how loud and how desperate our calls for help are.

Our children are suffering hunger and we are all facing absolute deprivation, condemned not to ever live a peaceful and normal life. We are denied education, health care, housing, employment – all those things a citizen rightfully expect.

Dinghy” may be a noun, but we put our lives in one and came here. We were lucky. So many others lose their lives in such dinghies. Nobody knows their names, they are just numbers counted by coast guards and authorities.

Since all members of the European Union are responsible to solve this crisis, why are we totally alone? Why are our lives becoming toys in economical games? Not only our lives suffer from those economical games; the lives of local people are equally affected. We are not the only group of residents suffering. Like us, local people, see their lives, their dignity, their humanity given less importance than the economy. Unlike them, however, we are also denied freedom. It makes no difference whether we live in the streets, under tents, in hotels, in constructed facilities, in containers, in homes. Even a castle becomes a prison when you don’t have freedom.

When I was at school, we learned, from our books, that freedom was inseparable from Europe, that where Europe was, there was freedom too. Yet what I experience here, in this European country, is totally different from what I learned from my books, back in my country. Freedom is just an adjective for Europe, it carries no meaning, no essence. In order to achieve a peaceful life, we escaped from our countries and our homes, but in doing so we lost our dignity.

If we are in prisons; if we are in danger; if we are in need; if we are in deprivation; Europe must act!

If we are trapped; if we are vulnerable; if we are forced to silence; if we are discriminated;

Europe must act!

If we are totally alone; if we are kept far away; if we are struggling; if we are asylum seekers;

Europe must act!

If we are human beings; if we lost our dignity; if we lost our self-respect; if we live like prisoners;

Europe must act!

Europe must act because our fate and our problems are an inseparable part of Europe.

Europe must act because if we lose our dignity, Europe will lose its own too.

Migratirygirl(Parwana Amiri)

Poems of a Butterfly (No:1)

No:3
 prison or castle !
Is this a castle or a prison?
Are we humans or statues?
Are we living or just alive?
Are we legal, or illegal?
We can eat, we can drink
We can sleep, we can wake up
But, here, in Ritsona
We are hardly alive
Are we counted as human beings?
We are surrounded by mountains
We are surrounded by trees
We are surrounded by chains
We are surrounded by rules
We are surrounded by restrictions
We are surrounded by factories
Their stench chokes us ….
Are we counted as human beings?
We are not able to speak
We are not able to choose
We are not able to decide
We are not able to demand
Are we counted as human beings?
“From all refugees who live in restrics camps ,even if they have daily facilities , but located between nowhere”

Poems of a Butterfly (No:2)

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

(Parwana Amiri)

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.

Seht, welche Probleme wir haben: Ich bin eine unbegleitete Minderjährige!

Brief an die Welt aus Moria (Nr. 3): Parwana: ein wanderndes Mädchen! Lesst den ganzen Artikel hier auf Seite 17 im Schlepper!

“In Moria haben wir keinen Platz zum Wohnen. Wir sind ohne Obdach zwischen tausenden von Erwachsenen und Fremden. Wir schlafen auf dem Boden, in Zelten oder wo immer wir einen Platz finden, bis wir einen Schlafplatz in einem der überfüllten Container finden.”

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)

….why do I have nothing left to ask?