Tag Archives: letterstotheworld

Call it protest tour!

PARWANA AMIRI with Arash Hampay and Hasham in "Why Borders" event, in Munich.
PARWANA AMIRI with Arash Hampay and Hasham in “Why Borders” event, in Munich.

Currently where I am writing is a silent home, with two big windows, green meadows outside and children playing down in the yard. My mom cooked Pilav ( traditional afghan rice with chicken inside) and its smell is still running through my mind, its taste is always crazy. All day long I feel a precious silence that wraps around my soul. This precious silence is making my soul sleep. In a life full of tensions, with a soul full of passions, this silence is meaningless, as the struggles are calling me.

In the middle of the silence, tension finds a deep and strong meaning, in the same wayfreedom finds its  its meaning from slavery. 

I waited at the station.Chiara, the only person whom I had communicated through Arash (Iraninan activist, photographer and main organizer of “Why Borders, photo exhibition” ) came to pick me from the station, with her friend “Hasham” a musician ,who seemed blind, but able to see the people around him through the tone of their sound sor their language. 

For a second I went to his world, a world full of darkness, color bleached, but is the same for many who can actually see the world, those who ignore the colors, who are self caged, are they able to see? I don’t think so..

He can be considered as one of many who can talk about goodness and badness in the way it should be analyzed, or maybe the only to whom goodness and badness has no meaning, both is gray. For Hasham, the world is made of many shades of gray, not black or white, not good or evil.

Our world has many things to see, but seeing is not enough, we need to consider, share, analyze and care. 

He is going to share pieces of music with us, and afterward I will read my poetry.

“Welcome to Bremen” Chiara says.

In one word, she is really unique, with the passion she has to the nice look she has about everything.

We went through the Cafe where Arash was sitting with a few others. Arash is here. I haven’t seen him since his hair got longer and there is some more white hair that is clear evidence of his past, a clear image of inner thoughts. 

After greetings I asked if I could visit the exhibition. “Yeah of course, that is the reason you are here.” That was a ridiculous question.”

Immediately  I want to change the name of this event, “This is a protest tour”. 

Why Borders, photo exhibition scene in Munich. C. Chiara
Why Borders, photo exhibition scene in Munich. C. Chiara

After the chat I had with Matthew Stadler, I felt more confident about this fact. 

An exhibition takes place to show, to display, but pain is neither for show nor for display, the drama behind our repressed lives  is not for sale and neither to be hand on the walls, it is to admire, to question it, to support it, to change it and if you aim to do all these, only then   can you buy it. 

This tour is clear evidence of all that is happening but “you” as non-refuges or refugees but nor under systemic violence, cannot see it. 

Mass media should be the last line of our connection.

Neda is here, her art is photos. I feel the strength behind whatever she does; the passion and patience in her life are symbols of the existence of nature, of the womb of women. 

You can find her famous photos in one of the letters I wrote from Ritsona, a story that was inspired by her creativity in feminism art and personal story. 

She is a girl full of words hidden behind a precious silence, the first girl I have ever had the honor to meet, who has  inspired her art with the rhythm of her body.

This is a school, a case of direct reflection in action.if we are not present in or at art projects, discussions and conversation, the adequate narration would have never formed 

he conversation about refugees, as all other critical conversations, would stay open and we would share in developing vocabulary to show that struggle against racism is not the entirety of the story.Such an analysis of racism would be helpful to those who are celebrating yesterday’s freedom from slavery, a victory that it is insigtful and contains historical meaning from fights of Balck slavery and is a loud claim of the West and US. 

The struggles of displaced people/ refugees against state violence and systemic descrmination, against segregation, equal rights and health care and education continues. 

We need to reimagine the concept of safety and security, which will involve the abolition of camps, walls, policing and imprisonment as we know. 

We need our voice and right to freedom of expression, and to abolish the institution of camp as the dominant mode of safety with barbed wires at the top. 

 Our struggle is to raise our voices and show our existence behind the barbed wires. 

The combination of opposite genders in challenging repression and art in activism is another spectacular part of this tour. Israr, is a young passionate boy, I would count on his long hair for the patience being his pain. 

His lens in photography is clear: it is “ the reality”. 

I am not able to take anyone’s photo, I can see their face, I am deep in feeling the feelings of others, and have rarely done it, with the full satisfaction of the person, but the way the photos are talking are enough to  silence  thousands of pains. 

The exhibition finished with my poetry performance and the wavy rhythm of Hasham’s music.  He has incredible music and his voice is clear like the water of a fountain. 

Time for questions,, “What do you mean of feminist activism of Neda’s art?”

“The way she uses the rhythm of her body, as part of loudness in expression, which is unique, is challenging and is activist, and opposes the  threats of loud and critical voices. 


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

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)