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.
First, our village was bombed by America. Then it was occupied by ISIS. Then came the Shia militias, backed by Iran — they burned everything down, our homes, our farmland and orchards. We have nothing left.
The moment we get our papers, I will take my family to the airport and we'll go somewhere other than Athens. I have relatives in Germany, but every day you hear more stories about racism and discrimination against refugees there. We dream of going to the Netherlands. I’ve heard good things about Dutch people, and that they have good farmland and healthcare. Both of us grew up raising cows, eating and drinking from what we grew and cared for. It’s what we know how to do. And at the end of the day, we’re not looking for a place for more handouts. We want a place that will welcome us, where people are kind. Where I will be able to live among its people, work, and support myself and my family.
Update June 2020 — You know, everything is so slow, but it's step by step. We are now living in a village in East Germany, 1.5 hours from Berlin. Our residency is for just one year and we don't know if we will stay here, but at least we have relatives in Berlin. We met and went to Neukolln to smoke shisha! Seeing this story and reading the quotations from when we were in Greece is a very mixed bag of emotions. We feel we are still in movement, so the story is not quite finished.
* Names are pseudonyms. Abu and Umm mean “father of” and “mother of” in Arabic.