Omonia, metro station - Kriisliao /flickr
10th post. Athens. The place where democracy was born hides a dark and painful side: it is the streets and squares where the muhajirins live illegally, waiting for a future that never comes. A black hole that swallows lives and destinies, where Mussa Khan seems to have gotten lost
Athens. From the Katehaki metro station, waves of hectic people pour into the still sleepy neighborhood. I recognize very few Greek faces, among those crowding the coaches: Africa, Asia and the Middle East seem to have arranged to meet on this train.
“Afghans know very well the difficulties that await them in Europe. The muhajirins that have settled here constantly inform friends and families on the foul living conditions in Greece”. Ibrahimi turns off the monitor where pictures are running: wretched migrant camps scattered in the center of Athens.
“In the past few years many muhajirins, exasperated by extreme poverty, have accepted voluntary repatriations financed by the International Organization for Migrations”. Ibrahimi continues, “But they only stayed in Afghanistan for a few weeks at the most, to then face the terrible journey to Europe again”. After a moment of pause, the thoughts reach the rather obvious conclusion: “The thing is, for us Afghans there is no alternative to escape. To live in fear is too high a price to pay”. Continue reading
Van, near the border with Iran - johncumbers /flickr
1st post. Months, years, constantly moving. Rejected, invisible, on the margins. This is the destiny of the Afghan muhajirins , on a tenacious search for the dream called “Europe”. With the episodes of the “Mussa Khan” blog, we are going to tell their odyssey through Turkey, Greece and Italy, until the Ostiense Station in Rome
“This is Kurdistan, not Turkey!” His eyes stormy, Taha is very convincing. After three weeks of border crossings and a thousand different languages, I stumble on the easiest of words: “Thank you.” “No problem!” he reassures me with a smile. Then he takes me by the arm and walks me to the city center through a labyrinth of alleys crowded with the tables and stools of tea shops.
Shahin, who for three to four days will be my interpreter, is waiting for us. A recent graduate, wearing a striped shirt and black leather shoes, he doesn’t inspire much confidence with his tremulous voice. His employ is the result of tenacious research on the part of Taha, whom I had met just one hour earlier on the bus. After introductions, a cup of tea, and a shoeshine, we got to work. Mussa Khan will soon be in the area and, before he arrives, I want to have a full understanding of the situation Afghan refugees face when they arrive in Van, Turkey, the arrival point for those coming by way of Iran. Continue reading