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Migration and Struggle in Greece

Archive for June, 2011

“We were persecuted in our home countries, now we are persecuted here!” – Interview

Posted by clandestina on 1 June 2011

Interview with the refugee N., from Eritrea
23rd of May 2011, Komunisia
by infomobile

N. spent a very long time in the mountains of Igoumenitsa. With 10 months he belongs to the experienced men on the mountain. He has been deported from Italy several times. Still he never lost his hope that one day he will get out.

The truck to the other Europe

“I promise to see you in a better place,” N. says and his eyes are full of energy.How long are you in Igoumenitsa?

In Komunisia here? I have longer than ten months. More than ten months here!

What did you expect from coming here to Igoumenitsa?

You know, the reason for my coming to Komunisia, I am suffering too much bad in this country. I need to leave this country. For this reason I came to Komunisia. Unfortunately, during these days we are suffering from a very bad situation: from the police and from the racist people, from the civil society here in Komunisia.

It was better ten months before compared to now, how was it?

Before, we were living in a better situation but now during these days we are living a very bad situation. We are suffering. Even the food … it is too much difficult for us to get food. For example, if you want to get food from the supermarket the police they will arrest you and they will take all the food from you, which you buy it from supermarket and throw it into skoupidia (Greek: rubbish). Second, they will send you immediately to the prison.

Just because you wanted to take food?

Yeah, only for food. This is our problem.

What do you eat then?

You know, just now here there are some people with us they have two days / one and half day that they never eat at all. They never eat at all! For example, I have my friend yesterday since morning time until night time at one o’clock the police they never give him a chance… by secret ways they want to enter the town so that they get some food. They never eat for one day or one day and half.

How difficult is it to collect the money to buy food?

All of us we have no money at all, you know. We collect this money by sharing everyone one Euro, 50 Cent, 20 Cent. We collect all this money so that to give it to somebody to go to the supermarket. To bring to us food or to go to the bakery to bring for us bread. Before two days we were waiting for our friends here to bring us food. We are still waiting for him, but unfortunately he never came. Today at morning time he called us from the prison. He says, that I am in the prison. The police they will send him to prison directly from the supermarket and they took all the things he bought and they throw it in the skoupidia.
Also, there was an old man with us, his name is Ahmad, this guy at morning he can see but at night-time he cannot see at all. He becomes almost blind. This old man he went to the supermarket to buy milk. When he entered the supermarket the police came to him and they said: ‘Put all the things down. Don’t take anything from the supermarket!’ Immediately they took him from the supermarket and send him to prison. Just now they took him to another prison – from Komunisia to Florina. In Florina the police they said to him: ‘We don’t have any money for your transport. Until now he is walking with his foot. Yesterday he called us. He said there are so many dogs, they follow him and they want to bite him. He said that, it is too much difficult for him to come back to Komunisia.

You yourself, you have also been arrested?

Yes, I myself two times I have been arrested. One day they arrested me from the bakery. I take bread from the baker and the police they will send me. And another time I needed to go to the hospital. Also the police saw me. I left the hospital…also they will send me to the prison.

Can you describe this experience that you walked from Florina until Komunisia?

Unfortunately when the police send me to Florina, when they take a life from Florina I have no any money for transportation. Four days I come on foot from Kasarakasia. Kasarakasia exactly this is a small village in Florina and nearly of Yugoslavia and Albania. We are three persons. We come from Florina until Ioannena four days on foot.

What do you suggest as a solution?

We are suffering from very bad situation. No one can eat. Now we are arrested in mountain. We stay in the mountain. Just like the monkey. For 20 days or 21 days in mountains. Now, there is too much difficulties for us. It is too much difficult for us to go buy food from supermarket. I hope from the police, that they allow us to go one hour or two hours to supermarket to take food, no problem. But just now we are too afraid to go to supermarket. I hope that the police give us the chance just one hours or two hours to get food from supermarket.
I myself I am one from the black people. Our problem, our coming here to Komunisia is only for to leave this country. You know that the situation in this country is too much bad. We are in need to go from here. We are really persecuted in our home countries. The life, which you get it here in Greek is too much bad with us. Worse than Third World country. We were persecuted but were living in very good situation, in very good situation before. Even the refugees whom they are living in Third World countries they are living in very good situation. Here we are living just like animals. Like animals! There is no human rights here. The police will never respect human rights. At last god he created all of us – even black people and white people. At last all of us god created us. It is supposed to be. The Greek police they will know that. We are human beings like them. But the police people and the racist people they never respect the human rights here.
I myself I have been as a refugee in Sudan. I left from my country because I have very big problem there. I am condemned to death at the international court in my home country. For this reason I escape. I came another country. I seek asylum with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. I have been living in camp, open camp. I am studying in this country which I seek asylum for six years. Even the university, I studied in university there. I am graduated as electrical engineer.

“Everybody is welcomed in my house!”

I have worked in this country for three years and half. And despite of the fact that we have been suffering from a little problems, we didn’t feel one day that we are persecuted. We consider our selves just like the civilians of this country. See the deals in Third World country and see the deals in Europe here. According to my own imagination, I don’t think Greece is Europe. I hope to be in Third World country. I hope that I will be deported in Third World country. We are really persecuted people in our homes. Until here they are following us. We escaped from our country because of persecution, but also we are suffering from other things here.
We have our friend he die here. Nearly to port here. But unfortunately the police they allow the driver which he kill my friend to go. No problem? Why did they allow the driver go? This guy which he is dead, he is not human being? He is human being. But here there is no human rights. You know that. Why the police they allow this driver go? He killed our friend here. We are suffering from so many problems here. We are really persecuted people here. We are suffering from very bad persecution in our home country and in Greece country!
My friend he died. He needed to cross the road. The driver he shoot him by car; he accident with him by car. He died. He died here and we go to the police, to the asfalia to explain to them. We gave them the number of the car. We said to them this is the car. They take fiche. He was one of our friends. The police he said to us: ‘Ok, no problem. Wait!’ We wait two days, three days… Even we call somebody, he come from Athens representing the UNHCR in Greece. He come here and he knows that…

Look! I am talking to you now and see the people the police is following them. Now, now the police are following them.

This guy that he is dead, he is from Sudan. We call also someone who is working for the embassy of Sudan. He come here and he talk to us, he talk to the police. We took this guy, which he is dead from Komunisia to Ioannena and we took him to the grave in Ioannena. We buy it 2.500 for him. 2.500 Euro so that to give us chance to put him here in Ioannena – in Greece! We made a sharing all of us. We buy it 2.500 Euro from the government of Greece.

Why do you think did the police not find the driver?

I am not talking by myself. I am talking representative for all immigrants, I mean from various countries: Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea… all… Marrocco, Algeria… all of them. Maybe this happened to somebody who is from Sudan, but this could happen for me, for another person. The police here never respect us. We respect the police and we respect the rules of the police. But the police will never respect us!

Does this make you loose hope, or make you think that you want to go back?

According to my imagination, the police they do this, because they need us to go back to our home country. But we are persecuted in our home country. If we are not persecuted in our home country can we stay here on the mountain just like monkeys? Even if the monkey sometimes leaves the mountain, here the police never allows us!

Police hunting the refugees and pushing them back to the mountain.

We are really persecuted people in our home country. The police they maybe need us to go from Greece to return back to our home country. If we are not really persecuted person in our home country why we stay in the mountain? Immediately we would return back to our home country.What are your biggest fears?

The biggest fear, first, we have from the prison. See, see now, you see the police following some people, you see? … Very fear for us prison! They send us to prison. Yes, we know ourselves, that we enter without documents. All the police will give us hartia (Greek: paper, it is a deportation order valid for 30 days). The police will give you Hartia (Greek: paper, here meaning the deportation order valid for 30 days that all sans-papiers get upon release from prison) for one month, two months, three months…to leave this country. If today you come out of the prison and the police catches you in same day, immediately they will send you again to prison. Here, there is no any rule here. There is no any rule here!

What do you wish?

For me, for everyone living here in Greece not only for us here on the mountain, all the ones living here in various towns in Greece, I hope that to leave this country, to go from this country! Because I am sure, even the people, who are now living in Athens are in a bad situation. You know, I hear very bad information about Athens. I heard very bad information. Just now, just during these days the racist they will make so many problems with the immigrants people or with the refugees people in Athens, in Komunisia, in various country. For me I wish that, all those people that they are immigrants, they leave this country out. This is my hoping to them.

How can you protect yourselves?

Here we have not any protection. Everyone he protect himself. Three weeks ago there is a great demonstration here. The racist they make a demonstration here against us. And we know that there is a demonstration against us and we have some other people form another organization they help us, they come here and they tell us: ‘Today racist people they will make a demonstration against you. Don’t go down near control so as to join yourselves with them. Maybe they will make problem with you.’ We respect the saying of the organisation. We did not go to them. We stay on the mountain. There are only some people of us they are still playing football down. We didn’t join the Greeks, but the racist they come to the mountain and they fight with us. They throw us by stones and despite of the fact that the police is supposed to protect us, the police they will be with the civilians of Greece against us.
There is no any protection for us here! Everyone protects himself. Now we are living in mountain. We are living in mountain! The snakes living with us, the rats living with us, the scorpions living with us. Believe me, when the night-time comes we are never able to sleep. First, we are afraid from the police. Second, we are afraid from the second police. Second police it means: the snakes, the scorpions, the rats and all the other animals living with us here on the mountain. From 8 o’clock in the night-time until 7 o’clock in the morning time, we are not sleeping at all.

Making tea in the dark. Lighting fire with plastic rubbish.

Maybe in the morning hours we will get one hours or two hours of sleep. But the rest of the day…no we are never sleep at all. We are watching what happens with the police. We expect the police. We really feel persecution here. Of the police… We are afraid from the police, we are afraid from the asfalia (Greek: civil police). We expect them at any time on the mountain.What is your worst thing you experience here?

There are so many people, if you see them they are youngest people, but because of the hunger, the bad situation, never sleeping, they are destroyed already. They become just like old men, because they are thinking, they are afraid of the police, they are afraid from the very bad situation here.

Where do you want to go, in which country?

I want to go British, German, Sweden or Norway, because these are progressing countries. We will get human rights there. We will get good deal there, I think. We are feeling there are human rights in various countries, but here in Greece… We were living better in Africa! Better than Greece. Greece is too much bad!

What do you wish from the Greek people?

I know they don’t want us. I said to you, they don’t want us to stay in their home country. And we don’t want to stay in Greece. We come here so that to leave this country. First, we come from our home country because we are persecuted people in our home country. We escape from the persecution in our home country and we come here to Greece and we get the persecution again – there is real persecution in front of us. How should we seek asylum in Greece? I can’t seek asylum in Greece! I saw so, so many persons who seek for asylum in Greece, but the government in Greece they give you only a Red Card. Sometimes I saw that the police they will take the red card of some people, they will torn it and they will send him to the prison. It means that this red card do nothing for you, can never protect you. How to get asylum here?
We have no house, we live just like homeless people. Homeless people in Africa, in Third World country, better than us! Better than us in Greece.

“We are being besieged. They keep us on the mountain like in a prison.”

What I need from the Greeks: We don’t want to stay with you in Greece. All of us… Thus, the only thing that we need is to allow us to go from your home country. Only this I need from you. Because the Greek people they never respect the human rights.Did ever a racist attack you?

Two times. Two times, and so many times I escape from them. So many times I escape from them. And now I have someone who is my friend. He is from Somalia. The racist they attacked him inside the town and they broke his mouth. Just now he is in hospital. He went to Athens to cure himself.

Are you trying to go to get food at the moment?

No, I am afraid. I am afraid I don’t try every day to go. You know when night time arrives, immediately I am not going to go. Not at morning time. Because we have no protection! Even if the police they sometimes they saw people beating you they are just watching.

And you try every day to go to Italy?

Every day I try. Every day. Since morning time until night time I am trying. If I get a chance, I will go! Four times they deported me from Italy. And we have so many people here they deport them 5 times, 6 times.

This journey means risking your life again for finding protection

When they deport you, they will put you in the prison here. Then they will send you to a prison far away. Why they send us to prison? They never want to give us travel documents. They don’t want to give us documents to leave their country by legal way. We are in need to go by illegal way. If you go by illegal way, if the Italian government, – meaning the Italian police – they saw you and deport you to Greek, here the government, the police government, they will send you to the prison. Sometimes you spent 2 months, 3 months in prison. There is no rule! Sometimes you spent 1 day, 2 days. Then they will give you free to go. But here there is no rule. There is no law. Sometimes you spend 6 months; sometimes you spend 7 months. According to the law of the police; according to their moods.There are people here that have been deported from other European countries?

More! We have more. Just now there is two people who have been deported 5 months ago from Belgium. Also, did you know France? They deport many people from France before. 9 months ago.

Is there something that makes you happy?

I myself will be happy when I leave from Greece – when I leave from Greece, when I leave from Komunisia! But this town I never forget it because I am living very difficult life in this town.

Thank you!

download the whole interview in English as pdf:
Interview with N. from Eritrea (in English)

Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | 1 Comment »

“You always wish it’s your last day here in Komunisia.” – interview

Posted by clandestina on 1 June 2011

Interview with the two refugees A. and Y., from Sudan

21st of May 2011, Komunisia
by Infomobile

A. and Y., refugees from Sudan talk about their living-conditions in Igoumenitsa, the second largest port from Greece towards Italy. We are sitting in the mountain, looking at the port-area of “Komunisia” how the refugees call it. A few hundred refugees from all war-zones of the world are living on this mountain. Some days ago, at the 3rd of May, the refugees’ settlements in the mountain have been attacked by fascists out of a demonstration.

Waiting room Komunisia: One minute feels like one year on this mountain

Afterwards the police drew an invisible ‘red line’ and prevented refugees from entering the city. More than 450 refugees have been arrested in May 2011 – double than the average monthly arrests of 2010. Police guards the garbage cans and so the refugees are starving from hunger. We are sitting on this mountain in Europe and we hope for their chance to go!What is Komunisia?

Y.: Nothing. Only a station to cross. I don’t have any friendship in Igoumenitsa. Only it is a port in Greece that can take me to another country, to another situation. Komunisia is cruel. As a shortcut to your question Komunisia means nothing and anything for me in the same time. I want to cross this country from Igoumenitsa, so it means anything for me. But in my memory nothing.

A.: Oh, bad things: the most bad days in my life. I saw in the world many countries where people are hungry. Now here we become a piece of it. For us this is like big jail. They control you. They want to put you down, they want you to leave. And you get more sad when you see the people all the time, who can pass easy. We don’t belong to European countries and so we are not allowed to go on. To stay in a situation like this because you don’t have paper – for me it’s not enough! I think everybody has a right to go, he has right to leave. And I also don’t think all this land it belongs to anyone. I think it belongs to God, it is not ours. I want to go. Maybe I want to see the world, yes. I want to meet people. Maybe I don’t like this country, I like that country. I have friends in one country. Maybe I want to marry someone from there. Maybe I want to get education or something. Maybe I go for health. It makes you sad because you know this road is very easy. But for us it’s very hard. The price for this ship for us is very expensive. You can stay here like you can die everyday because you cannot have it.

Can you say how long you are in Komunisia? And what do you feel how long you have been here?

Y.: Oh, it is a very long time you know! I have one year and one month in Greece. First I went to Patras trying to travel and when I didn’t succeed I came to Igoumenitsa to try from here. I have six months in Igoumenitsa and I don’t succeed until now. Six months it means 180 days. I think it is 180 years, maybe more. Everyday is equal one year for me. You know how many days we stay without any food? I will be like an animal if all I can think is how to find food. Being human is to think about how to improve myself, how to find a new job for example. I am in Europe, or I imagine I am in Europe. But I always think about food. In Africa in my country I didn’t think about food. And our very, very bad government is even better than this, because it does not lie to the world. You are the big liars of the world. You have a white skin but a black heart.

A.: I am in Greece two years and half. Six months now in Komunisia. Six months, how long they are? I can’t count, it’s unbelievable. I think until now I dreamed. Sometimes I don’t think I am here. I wish I am not. You can’t go back, you can’t pass. I think everybody here if he finally goes out from here, he will need a doctor. Here we cannot think. We cannot get out these problems from inside. I think it is not normal to eat from the garbage. When somebody is looking in the garbage and the others are looking at him… I think someone is not normal when this does not touch his feelings. I don’t think this will finish when he goes far away from the garbage. I think inside this will stay. One day more here in this bad situation is very, very long. Here is the main wish you will go. You always wish this is the last day here in Komunitsa.

Can you describe one day of your life in Komunisia?

Y.: I wake up in the morning and all I think is how I reach Skupidia (greek: garbage). If I reach Skupidia, if I will find something or not and how to keep myself from police. If you find a good police he will say to you “Figi, figi” (greek: Go!). If you find another police he will catch you, arrest you and take you to prison. Come back from Skupidia to share what you find. Perhaps find nothing. Come back to look if any friend find something he shares with you. And than you stay in the mountain. Nothing else. Later when the ports control opens, you will go to try under trucks. Maybe you will crash. Maybe you will ride “dingle”, I don’t know what this word means in English but you can translate it “under trucks”. Maybe you succeed, maybe you have an accident. We have many accidents here and we have many dead in the trucks.

“The passion for freedom is stronger than the bars of the prison”

We know that this is dangerous. And police beats you cruelly. Police will beat you cruelly just as if you have killed his father. In one day you can find police broke more than five legs. You move in the mountain and you see broken people. Sometimes police put his shoes on your neck when you come out. I don’t know if it’s sadism. If you manage to “dingle” okay: Congratulation! If not you will go back to the mountain and start the same again. It is one day, but it is repeated. Today, tomorrow and also the day after: Skupidia, trucks – nothing else.What is your experience with Greek police?

A.: Since I came to Greece I have problems with police. If police is in the same place than you, he will arrest you. Police puts you in one place, they transfer you to another place. They don’t have place to leave you, but still they arrest more. They find bad words for you. They don’t give you food, they don’t give you anything, you just sleep, sleep… They want you all the time to feel: I have to go out from here, because I will go to jail. I think this is politics. And when they put you in jail after they put you far. So far! They bring you far from Komunisia. We don’t have money for the bus. We walk, some they walk for three or four days. When you come back here you need to sleep one week. This is what they want: one month you cannot try to go. Maybe after some days they will arrest you again. Sometimes they don’t arrest you, they just hunt you with the car. When you fall down, when you break your legs or something they just laugh and then they go. And they say “Malaka”. They run after you, they try to make us afraid.

Y.: They give us a paper to leave Greece. I don’t know how to leave Greece. Maybe they want us to fly? To be just like angels and fly across the sea? In despite of all of our problems in Africa made by European Union and America by supporting our governments or supporting wars: Okay, you make war in my country. You want me to stay in war today to loose my life? Why? What you will have from that if I die? I am here because my country is not safe. My government is not justice, they were thieves. They stole my food and they stole my life to kill me if I say no. So I come to Europe because Europe has the responsibility. We want to stay alive until our age is finished. In peace. But you make our countries just as a piece of fire. How can we stay alive?

How is the general situation in Greece right now?

Y.: We know Greece is a poor country, with big economical problems and tying rope on their neck. But the Greek government don’t want us to cross. They say: “We want refugees to go.” But actually, if they want me to go: give me a strong paper to cross!

A view towards “the other Europe” – the one of asylum

All the European countries press Greece to close doors but why Greece accepts this? Now all the world says: “Fuck Greece!” Because you are cruel to us, and they don’t know you are pressed by the European Union. We are here until we die or have a solution. By this money you need for all prisons, print a document to let me go.A.: I blame all European countries, because they know this situation in Greece. And still they are controlling Greece not to let anyone come. They know we have a real bad situation if we cannot go out of here, but they don’t care. If we don’t reach there, we don’t belong to them and it’s not their responsibility. In one thing Greece is right: this is not only their problem, but from all European countries. And fuck: you cannot leave somebody die because you say, you have fingerprint in Greece! You make these rules and you can change it!

What was going at the 3rd of May?

A.: They made a demonstration. There were also people from other villages. They came here and they all say we have to go out. We didn’t understand them. They talk only helenika (greek). They came here and we understand: they are not our friends. They closed the port, the port was not working.

Racist demonstration (3rd of May) – shortly before the attacks

They were playing music. And you feel something is not okay: they are putting music, but they don’t enjoy. We were playing football, we were calm. They attacked us with rocks. Some of us also they throw them to keep them in distance. Then the police came and helped them, the police was using gas and something other, like big balls. Some they cannot see: problems with their eyes. And all are running. You think you are in Afghanistan. We were just playing football and they attacked us, civilian and police together. We go up in the mountain and we know once more not everybody is the same. I think they are just stupid. But after this everything is danger, because more control, everyday they catch us. The problem is we are eating from garbage, and even if someone has money he needs to go to supermarket to buy something. At these places they arrest us. If you go down the hill, you will be in jail. Until that day we played football. Now I don’t know if I have the power.
And after they changed all the truth. They have camera. They make video. They changed the whole story. They show them enjoying down with their music-party there and we attacked them. They changed everything. Okay, they don’t want to help us. But to lie like this! They put it in the internet to show all the world to say: Don’t accept them! If you take them they will make problem. Nothing else was more bad than this! The government helps them also. They put in the media what they want to show. In Athens it is more bad, they kill. I don’t know what other European countries wait for. They wait if they put us in one line to kill us one by one? You go with your organisations far away to countries like Afghanistan. But you have people here in Europe who are hungry. Why you go so far? There are people near to you that need help. Like Greece Europe want to make us fed up and go back. Only back, not in front. And most Greeks they still think this country belongs to them, we have to go out of here. It is their mountain. And still we are here and we don’t die.What would you like to say to the world?

Y.: We can work, all people here are young. Why don’t Greek want us? Look at United States of America. It’s very strong, why? At first they have cultures. Second they take anything from the world that can be good for them to improve their country. Now here in the mountain there are doctors, engineers, lawyers, artists. The Greeks don’t want to know anything from us. They think we are only illness, illness. No one is ill here in the mountain, because if he is ill he will not survive it. Why you stay away from us? We have ideas. Now I am away from my country more than one year. I have no money I have nothing to eat but I am alive. If we put you in my place and my situation, you will die within one week. When we left our countries we knew that we will find hardness. But not like this. We think the biggest hardness is how to reach Europe and we don’t know the surprise we will find more hardness in Europe. What are you waiting for? You must have a solution for us. It is my message to the world, to the real world not to the lie-world. There is a lot of organisations in the world talking about human rights. Aren’t we human?

A.: I knew from European countries past, where people got problems only because of different colour, different skin but I thought it is past! I thought they are living together. They don’t care for your skin or something. But when we come here we find these things still. This is Europe. All the time you say. “You are too many! We can’t help everybody!” They try to make you fed up and angry, maybe you go back. There must be truth in the world, because they don’t tell the situation, they give us wrong pictures. Because we the people here, we don’t have cameras, we don’t have TV to produce pictures about our situation here. I think they must come here and talk to us. And if they come here I don’t even think they have to ask, because our situation here is the answer to any question. Nobody can stay without food, without job, without education without life. Maybe after you are crazy. If really they care and they have good heart they must come here to decide something about Greece. Because what is going on here it’s hell. It’s not only something about food.
What is the most bad thing happened to you in Greece?

Y.: That police woman, on the day I arrived. I will not forget. I arrived in Greece. I find police. We have two days walking without food. We asked the police to give us food. They said: “No. This is no hotel.” Oh, is it Europe? We had cigarettes in out pocket, we asked them to let us smoke. “No. It isn’t hotel.” After that we are tired and hungry. This police woman ordered me to clean all the police station. By force. I am tired and I can’t do that. She tried to beat me. Other police man stopped her. I clean the station. In spite of I am hungry and I am tired. I want to ask this inhuman girl: If you want me to work, give me food! The food is the power for work. I know I am in your country. But I am not an animal! Even if you have animals in your home and you want it to work for you, you will give it grass. Why you don’t give me food and let me to work you for you, when I am so hungry and tired. You are not the president. You are still now police. In all the world police are the most bad people in the country. I felt hate for you. And if I find you again, I will beat you, Malaka! Yes, write this: “Malaka!”

What are you most afraid of?

Y.: I am afraid of police. And afraid to die of hunger. Do you believe someone is afraid of hunger in Europe? We are afraid to be hungry. To die of hunger. Now you are with us, you see we make tea. Because we have nothing but tea. Tea and water to keep alive. Until you find food. Until police will let you look for your food. I can speak more and more about our situation. But anyone who will read this report he cannot imagine.

Drinking tea in order not to feel the hunger

Afraid of police, afraid of hunger, afraid of racists… Afraid to stay here. Afraid not to succeed to leave this country. I don’t not what I am more afraid of. And I don’t know if I cross Greece if in any country I will have a normal life. I don’t know if my life will be in any country of skupidia. My body will be dirty? I will were dirty clothes like the homeless? I don’t know if I ever will live a normal life. Because every year feels like 10 years. I think I will need much time. I don’t feel I will be back to be human. Because in this year in Greece I feel like I’m an animal.A.: Like everybody: afraid that I will stay here. And more if they will start to send back! Deportations to Greece I mean. Some countries in Europe they stopped to send back when they find the fingerprint in Greece. At least now you are safe that you will not come back. Before you were afraid if you go you will come back. You loose time, you loose to many things. Money, some they go from airport they paid some thousands and then they come back.

Decoration from “skoupidia”: even under these circumstances dignity will never die!

Papandreou the president he talks sometimes about us. They prepare something for us and this makes me afraid. The racists attacks here or in Athens is not by accident. If they loose, they try to find reasons to attack you. And maybe then they say: “We want to deport everybody from here to his country. We don’t need.” When you have come here and you were asked about the problem in your country, when you go back it’s a big problem, you know? You will be in jail for long. They beat you and maybe more. I know because UK they deported Sudanese. Someone they beat him and then they killed him in Sudan. If Greece finds a way to deport, they will deport. And even more than in Greece you will be in trouble if they will deport! If they pay for Turkey they will also accept to have us deported there. And Turkey also is bad. Too many things they can do…What about fascism and racism in Greece?

Y.: I want to ask them: What is your own idea? We tell you we have problems in our country. And we don’t want to stay in Greece. What’s the problem? You are against us or against your government? We have no problem with you. We have nothing with Greeks. We only want to cross. So why you are against us? Greece is Europe’s gate. European countries make problems in our countries. We want to save our lives. But anyway, we don’t want to stay in Greece. Everyone knows staying in Greece means to finish your life like this. No one wants to stay! Take these primitive ideas from your mind!

A.: Police or any kind of power they can’t control them. I don’t know what kind of power they have because they can do everything. They can hurt. So how you can be safe? If they give me paper here in Greece I don’t want to stay. After you are legal you can say: Shut your mouth! But it does not change anything. Because you will be always blamed and guilty. I know that here in the jails there are many people that they are not Greeks. They are there for nothing, just because someone blamed them for something or they were in the wrong place in the wrong time. If you are doing the same things than Greeks they are safe but you go in jail. It means you are not the same. This is the problem: also if you get papers always you are down and always they are up. We can’t live here, we can’t feel okay and safe in this country. We have to leave and they have to let us go out from here. The only solution: Give us paper for some months like the Italian government. We pass legally and we will not come back here. After that we choose were we want to go. Not everybody wants to go to the same country. For European countries it is not a problem. Some they will go here, some they will go there. At the end it will be okay. We go out from here and we will see if this problem will finish.

What does respect mean to you?

Y.: In our situation you ask about respect? Before I came to Greece I don’t think there is something like this situation here in Greece. Greek civilization is known in all over the world. It’s an old civilization. It is the same as Chinese civilization or Egypt. But Greeks left it in the past and don’t try to improve it. And don’t try to produce it in a new look to the world. All the world forgets Greek civilization. They forget the country called Greece. Now all the world suddenly remembers there is a country called Greece by the refugees. All the world look now on how they are cruel to refugees. They don’t give refugees any rights. So Greeks have done a crime on themselves. Maybe they robbed their own civilization. They robbed from any mind Sokrates, Platon and all those who made your civilization. I don’t hate Greeks. Really, inspite of all that I see. They had more than 500 years under Turkey. They had time under Germany. And now they have no picture of Greece. Greeks themselves they don’t know what are they. Greece needs to die to have a new life. Because this life is no honour for an old civilization. Now you have nothing. You have nothing, you don’t have any culture to give to the world. You can be more than this! But I’m sorry to say that: you are lazy. You don’t improve your civilization. Now Greece has nothing, only tourism. And if tourism will stop, you will have your food also from Skupidia. Right?

What would you like your life to be like? What do you wish for your life?

A.: My wish? There is only one wish: to leave! Okay, I can remember everybody wish to be happy. To be safe. To find a good life. To find someone to share. To find people to care for and they care for you. I don’t want to loose my hand or my head or my eyes. I saw here in Greece really, some they loose a part of their body. They broke their feet and their hands or more bad. Some get problems with health. You loose your power. For this you can get quickly sick. I wish I will not loose my health before I am out of here. And I told you: I wish another power, help that is coming from outside. Not from Greece, because I don’t think this will be. Other European countries they have the power to change. Only to stop deportation it’s not enough. I hope they will make a real step to finish this problem. Maybe like headache: I have headache and you give me Panadol. Maybe I have headache because I have other problems. You have to find a real solution. Not only now for these days in Komunisia. For Greece forever. Why don’t they punish Greece? It’s not only civilians, it is also the government that treat us like this. And I think in Europe there are many ways to punish them for this. Nobody said: Hey stop this mistake! I wish nobody will have to pass Greece! Because the people coming will be like us. I wish just I will forget one day everything I got here in Greece.

Y.: When I left my country I want to save my life. To be alive. I had a job in my country. I had money. But I had to leave my country to save my life. Now all my hope is to save my live from Greek racists. To cross this country. Maybe anyone in the world dreams to be rich. But I don’t want this. I want to have a home. Have a shower. Have clean clothes. Have work. Because now my mind is stopped. I wake up at the morning and I don’t know what to do, or what is happening to me. I don’t know if I will be safe from police and safe from racists. I don’t know. My mind is stopped. I can’t improve myself now. Only I need a normal life.

Invisible borders: Waiting at the fireline next to the port entry

Is there something you want to say to the Greeks?A.: When they go to their church, I don’t know if they are listening to Gods words. Because if they do, this cannot be their feelings. If they go out after prayer. And people they are near to them in the garbage. What are they doing in the church? The reason to go to the church: if you see something outside like this, you have to stop. You have to listen. You have to share. You have to ask why. Not to blame us. You know exactly why we are doing it. The reason is there are people like you. If there is people kind in this place I will not be in the garbage. More exactly: if you see somebody who needs your help and you can do it, you must do it. If you cannot help, don’t be angry at him.

Prayer on the mountain: Never loosing faith!

Don’t be his enemy and don’t say all these bad words. What are they doing in their church? They only put candles? They are singing only? I know in the Christian songs there are words inside to help. There is too much to do, not only just to sing! This all is not yours. Maybe you are lucky in this place. But you don’t make the sea, make this land, you don’t make this sky or this mountain here. It’s not for you only. Don’t say: “Go out from here!” Before many years Greeks they have much. Now they are poor. Not poor of money, poor of too much things. Money is coming and money is going. But there are too much things, if you loose it you will never get it back.Thank you.

download the interview as pdf (in English):
Interview with Y. and A. from Sudan, Igoumenitsa (May 2011)

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