Example10 Example11 MCH LSE Refuge City ATH Refugee Info 003
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People Example11

Get to know the newcomers, activists and volunteers we met in Athens, Berlin and London, as they share their personal experiences of refuge, welcome and the digital city.


Ahmed

MCH LSE Refuge City ATH Echo Library 099

Ahmed*
Omonia, Athens, October 2018

I think it’s important to be committed to a vision of kindness in the world. When people help other people, they shouldn’t do it because they think they are better than the people they are helping. They should help because they believe in a world where there is kindness.

When I sit down with Megan to play board games, my problems are far away. I’m not good at chess but it’s my favourite because it’s based on intellect, not luck or chance. But when the volunteers from Mobile Library suggest other games, I go with it anyway, for their sake, you know. It’s the way life should be. I give a little, you give a little, everyone gives a little. That’s how we can all live together. This life is short and how we treat each other is everything.

(hospitality)

MCH LSE Refuge City ATH Echo Library 049
MCH LSE Refuge City ATH Echo Library 074

I was told before that all of this was staged so that Western governments like the UK, Germany and US can spy on us. So they can know what we’re thinking, what our plans for migration are. But when I came I saw that the cause here is good. To help and support. Not to spy. So now I’ve been coming to this square for three months. I use the washing machines to clean my clothes, eat and play board games. It’s not like the rest of Athens, it’s a safe place. There are no drugs, no problems, just food and friendship.

(surveillance, Athens)

MCH LSE Refuge City ATH Echo Library 077

Athens is a difficult place. It’s where all the refugees deported from all the other European countries are returned, all the unwanted people. There are people from Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria. And you really have to be careful about the company you keep. There are drugs, prostitution and theft. Greece is like a prison. You get stuck here.

(hostility, Athens)

MCH LSE Refuge City ATH Echo Library 064
MCH LSE Refuge City ATH Echo Library 080

I really appreciate this initiative, I do, but in truth, we need a different kind of support. We need jobs, studies... We spend our days doing nothing, without a routine. There are some language lessons we can go to but the quality is lacking. There is no coherence to the lessons. I went for an entire semester and then they said there was no second semester. Just like they cancelled it. This isn't good for us.

(solidarity)

*Ahmed is a pseudonym.

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