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)→
Our life has been put in hands that are playing with us, as if we were dolls.
Today, we are controlled by politicians’ hands, as if we were puppets .
When our country was, and still is, under war, we had to leave it — not for a better life but in order to just give the breathing right to our children .
When we start out from our countries, whose soil has the color of blood, a deep stamp seals our forehead. It reads: refugee. Struggling to wipe away that stamp, we may lose our dignity, our serenity, our honor and even the life of our families. When we put down our backpacks on any other land, there is no immediate shelter for us.
Refugee — what a hard word this is.
Today, we cease to be subjects. We become objects “for sale”! We are waste, and we are treated as garbage.
We lost our countries because of the direct interventions of those same countries that,now, are kicking us back.
Stop those interventions and you will no longer have to tolerate us and our children.
We tolerated bombs and guns. But we couldn’t tolerate witnessing the fire that was burning our children’s dreams. So we put all our life in a backpack and carried it in our backs.
When we leave our homes longing for shelter in another country, we wish to accept that new land as our own, look after it as our birthplace and respect its residents. Unfortunately, when we step onto any country, its people look at us and our children as wretched strangers, not looking for safety, but threatening their income, their jobs, their culture. Continue reading Letters to the world from Ritsona (No.5)→
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.
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 Letters to the world from Ritsona (No.2)→
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.
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)→