Rejected

I cannot find peace these days. I used to be positive, waiting for good things to happen, but now I am afraid. Afraid to be sent back to Afghanistan. A fear that was always there, but that I did not want to give in to.

As a child, I lived with the fear of war and danger in Afghanistan on the one hand, and the fear for the heavy journey to Europe on the other.

Once in Europe, I was happy that we survived, that we were together as a family, and safe. Together, and mostly thanks to my parents, we stood up to very many problems and challenges, in the hope of a safe life and a beautiful, prosperous future in Europe.

But when I heard our request for asylum has been denied, my world collapsed. Fear struck and seized me by the throat.

I think a lot about my country these days. The news that reaches me from Afghanistan hurts me a lot. Young people in schools and universities who die in suicide attacks. Parents, preparing the favourite meal of their beloved children and waiting for them to come home, confronted with their blooded clothes or the news of their deaths.

Neither me nor my family hate our country. My parents had no choice but to leave it, to protect me and my brother from the dangers in Afghanistan. So that they would not be confronted with the news of our deaths one day.

All those people who fled from Afghanistan to Europe did so to find safety for their children or themselves. In the hope of a life without war and attacks.

Many had to send their underaged children to Europe alone, with all dangers attached. They had to choose between two evils.

Many of those people did not make it. Some died in the sea and others in the mountains during their flight. It is hardly imaginable how painful all that is.

It hurts me deeply to see that the refugees who finally made it have to live in a camp behind a barbed wire fence.

It causes me so much pain to see the fear in my father’s eyes of being sent back to unsafe Afghanistan. And it hurts me to see my country is a bloodbath.

Sometimes I think to myself: will there ever be a day that I can carefree accompany my little brother to school, will I ever see a spark of hope and happiness in my parents’ eyes?

To be honest, I don’t know how much longer I can endure so much pain and misery.

Statue of the Asia Minor Mother In Mytilene, donated by refugees who came to Lesvos in the 1920s.

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

امنی در آنجا هم به دلیل راه دشواریکه برای رسیدن به اروپا طی کرده بودیم، خوشحال بودم که جان سالم از این راه بدر برده بودم و خانواده ام سالم در کنارم هستند و با کمک آنها مشکلات و چالشهای زیادی را طی کردیم به امید داشتن زندگی ای امن و آینده ای روشن در اروپا، اما وقتی شنیدم درخواست پناهندگیمان رد شده است استرس و ترس تمام وجودم را فرا میگیرد، به کشورم افغانستان فکر میکنم، اخباری که این روزها در باره آنجا میشنوم قلبم را به درد می آورد، جوانانی که در مدرسه و دانشگاه انتحاری میشوند، آن طرف خانواده هایشان غذای مورد علاقه ی شان را درست کرده و منتظر فرزند تحصیل کرده اش است اما با لباس خونینشان مواجه میشوند…

The new camp – worse than Moria

It has been some time since camp Moria burnt down. The first week, people slept by the road side. The local people had blocked the way to the village. Refugees who you tried anyway, were attacked you and pushed back with violence.

The refugees did not want to go to a new camp, they wanted the freedom to leave the island. But after a very heavy, painful week, in the end everybody was deported to another camp on the island. This was enforced by the government and the police. If you refused they would not process your asylum request. People were denied water and food so they did not have any other choice than to go to the other camp.

This camp appears to be much worse than the camp in Mora. The soil is hard and dirty. The toilets are without water and there is no hygiene. Men wash themselves in the sea but for women this is very difficult.

People in the new camp have problems with food, water, toilets and showers. The children don’t go to school and play all day with dirty things that they pick up from the filthy ground.

The people there have a terrible life. You see it immediately when you enter the camp. The tents are very low, you cannot even stand up inside. The floor of the tents is not even. It is very hard to sit in such a tent or to sleep, and the people who live in the tents near the sea suffer from the hard wind. Most tents in that area are already torn by the wind.

Within the tents it is very cold at night and very hot in the daytime. Especially with winter coming up the cold is unbearable. I know what these people are going through because I spent an autumn and winter in camp Moria myself. We had no electricity for heating or for cooking a warm meal. We spent all night into the morning in the cold.

But the worst of all was the rain. When it rained, water came in through the roof of the tent and soaked all our stuff. All our clothes and blankets were wet from the water that seeped in and we had nothing to keep ourselves warm.

The pain of these memories cannot be expressed in words. I am worried about the asylum seekers who have even more difficult days ahead with the coming cold and rain. My heart hurts terribly when I think of that.

How many more children and teenagers must spend their future behind barbed wire? What they got from a big, prosperous continent like Europe is a piece of filthy ground behind iron gates, and dreams of freedom and education. This is nog fair and not just. We don’t deserve this. No human being deserves to live like this.  

Photo: On October 8 we had rain here. In a group chat people from the new camp exchanged photos. This expresses it better than I can with words.

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:
مدتی است از آتش گرفتن کمپ موریا میگذرد بعد از یک هفته ی خیلی سخت و دردناک که مردم در خیابان آواره بودند بالاخره آنها انتقال داده شدند به یک کمپ دیگر و این انتقال به اجباز پلیس و دولت بود چون آنهایی که نمیرفتند داخل کمپ به پرونده پناهندگیه شان رسیدگی نمیشد و مردم را بدون آبو غذا گذاشتند تا آنها مجبور به رفتن به کمپی شوند که بدتر از کمپ موریا است، کمپی که زمین

Interview with Atifa on Dutch tv

All our dreams have gone up in smoke

Monday September 14, 2020

A terrible fire in Moria, again. This time much bigger and more destructive. A catastrophe leaving 13,000 people without a roof over their heads

Camp Moria was hell for me when I lived there. A hell somewhere on the outskirts of Europe that I wished did not exist. But never like this and at the cost of so many homeless people, roaming around for days in the heat, without water, food or sanitation. Who have to sleep outside, in the cold. No, this is not what I wanted, ever.

I wished and wanted that the camp did not exist and that all those people would be offered a better place. But now they are relocated to another camp with less facilities.

I feel very sad and stressed these days. It breaks my heart to see that my friends and other people that I know have lost all their possessions in the fire. They are homeless, roaming around, while I have a house. I am a powerless bystander, not able to do anything for them. 

All our dreams and wishes about Europe have gone up in smoke.

When I walk in the streets I see all those angry looks directed to me. When I go into a shop the owner orders me to leave. Only because I am a refugee.

I am not a criminal. Criminals are the people who set camp Moria on fire and made 13,000 people homeless. And now we all have to pay the price for that.

How long will this go on?

We are all waiting impatiently for the helping hands to get us out of here.

Waiting for the hands who will save is exhausting for all those mothers who have to listen to their kids crying of hunger, for all those young people who see the way to their school blocked by the police and forall those thousands of dreams, wishes and hopes stuck behind barbed wire.

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

تکرار حادثه ی تلخ آتش سوزی، اینبار دردناکتر و خانمان سوزتر…

حادثه تلخی که به قیمت آواره شدن سیزده هزار نفر تمام شد.

کمپ موریا برای من یک تکه جهنم بود در گوشه ای از اروپا که آرزو داشتم یک روز وجود نداشته باشد  ولی در صورتی که همه ی آنهایی که در آنجا زندگی میکنند جایی بهتر بروند نه این پایان دردناک که مردم مجبور باشند روزها در گرما بدون آب، غذا، توالت، حمام،  و هیچ امکانات دیگری در خیابانها آواره شوند و شبها در سرما بدون سرپناهی بگذرانند و حالا مجبورند در کمپی بدتر از موریا با کمترین امکانات بروند.

این روزها خیلی غمگینم نفس کشیدن برایم سخت شده وقتی میبینم دوستانم و کسانیکه در موریا میشناختم همه چیزشان در آتش سوخت و حال آواره در خیابانند ولی من در خانه، و هیچکاری نمیتوانم برایشان انجام دهم.

تحمل این شرایط برایم خیلی سخت است.

امید و آرزوهایمان و تصواتمان از اروپا و داشتن آینده ای روشن خاکستر شد‌،

وقتی در خیابان قدم میزنم نگاه سنگین ساکنین اینجا را میبینم وقتی برای خرید به مغازه ای میروم و فروشنده مرا از آنجا بیرون میکند فقط به جرم اینکه مهاجرم…

ولی من مجرم نیستم مجرم آنهاییست که خانه ی سیزده هزار نفر را به آتش کشیدند و حالا باید همه ی ما به پای این جنایت بسوزیم.

این شرایط تاکی ادامه خواهد داشت…

و همه ی ما منتظر دستانی هستیم که بیاید و مارا از این شرایط نجات دهد.

و این انتظار کشنده است برای مادرانی که فرزندانشان از گرسنگی به گریه افتاده، برای جوانانی که پلیس راهشان را برای رفتن به مدرسه بسته و هزاران امید وآرزوهایی که پشت سیم خاردارهای کمپ حبس شده…

Home 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

I can resume my art lessons!

Home, I didn’t know what that meant anymore. The months in that small tent made me forget what home is and what it means.


Until that Thursday, June 16. That is when we heard that we would be relocated to a house. I couldn’t believe my luck. This house on Lesvos is our home now.
On the first day my parents and I started cleaning the place up. It was cramped with cockroaches.
A bathroom, a toilet and a kitchen, for all those things we don’t have to queue anymore. Also for food we don’t have to stand in that long, long line anymore.


My brother is laughing again, he is very happy and his happiness makes us happy. The house is clean now, but the cockroaches can’t be beaten.

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

خانه!

این واژه  را فراموش کرده بودم ماه ها زندگی در آن خیمه ی کوچک باعث شده بود فراموش کنم خانه چیست،

تا امروز وقتی شنیدم قرار است کمپ و آن خیمه ی کوچک‌را ترک کنم از شادی در پوست خود نمیگنجیدم، 

اینجا خانه ی ماست، حمام ،توالت، و آشپزخانه داریم! دیگر مجبور نیستیم برای تهیه ی غذا ساعتها در صف بایستیم، دیگر ساعتها در صف توالت و حمام و ظرف شستن و لباس شستنمنتظر نمی مانیم، بردارم از شادی میخندد و ما هم از شادیه او شاد میشویم.

با پدر و مادرم شروع کردیم به تمیز کردن خانه، اینجا پر از سوسک است، 

خانه تمیز شد،

ولی سوسکها هنوز هم از بین نرفته اند


A decisive day

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Today was a decisive day for us. The day we were interviewed about the reasons and the story of our flight.


Fortunately, it went rather well. Now we have to wait for the decision for a while.
This day caused us al lot of stress. We coudn’t find peace of heart for weeks and had trouble focussing. The fear of being sent back to Afghanistan where it is not safe causes a lot of tension.

We risked our lives to reach Europe. We have seen very bad times and spent ten months in camp Moria.
I just hope that after so much misery we will get a positive decision.

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

امروز روز سرنوشت سازی برای ما بود، روز اینترویو، خوشبختانه به خوبی آنرا گذراندیم، حالا باید مدتی را منتظر جواب آن باشیم، استرس زیادی برای این روز داشتم چند هفته ای بوداز استرس آن آرامش و تمرکز نداشتم، ترس از دیپورت و بازگشت به کشور نا امن افغانستان استرس زیادی را به من خانواده ام وارد میکند، ما برای رسیدن به اروپا روزهای بسیار سختیرا گذراندیم با خطر مرگ روبه رو شدیم، و ده ماه بسیار سخت در کمپ موریا داشتیم، امیدوارم بعد از گذراندن این همه روزهای سخت جواب مثبتی از مصاحبه مان دریافت کنیم.


Overjoyed 

Friday, June 19, 2020

Moria, residence of thousands of homeless – if you can call those tents, huts and handmade plastic
constructions a residence. Ten months of my life I spent there. I witnessed many bitter events that
made Moria into a hell for me. An unhygienic place that is dangerous for every healthy human being, let alone people who are sick, like my mother and my little brother. We went through a lot stress and pressure in the camp. Because of the recent events and the threats I did not feel safe there anymore. Life in the camp had become unbearable for me.


I had to do something. I had to save myself and my family from that situation. I pressed charges
against the boys who were after me, but it was to no avail. The police are very busy and not so keen
on receiving new cases. Also I could not prove that I was in danger.


I went to several aid agencies, but at first this did not work out either. I had almost lost hope when
via VluchtelingenWerk I got in touch with a lawyer from the Greek Council for Refugees. She got us
out in the end, because of my mum’s and brother’s medical files.


Finally, after ten months, we are now living in a normal house where we don’t have to stand in line
for the showers, the toilets and for food. We always have electricity and at night we don’t have to
eat in the dark. We have showers in a clean bathroom and we feel safe.
I am very grateful and overjoyed.

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

موریا! خانه ی هزاران پناهجوی بی خانمان…

البته اگر به آن چادر ها، کلبه ها، قوطی های پلاستیکی بشود خانه گفت!…

ده ماه از زندگی ام را آنجا گذراندم، اتفاقات تلخ زیادی را با چشم خودم دیدم که آنجا را تبدیل به جهنم کرده بود، محیط بسیار آلوده ای که برای هر آدم سالمی مضربود، چه برسد به آنهایی که بیماری داشتند، مانند برادر و مادرم.

فشار و استرس زیادی را در کمپ تحمل میکردیم، کمپ برایم تبدیل به محیط ناامنی شده بود دیگر تحمل نداشتم باید کاری میکردم و خودم و خانواده ام را نجاتمیدادم، به پلیس شکایت کردم نتیجه نداد، وکلا همه وقتشان پر بود و پرونده ای قبول نمیکردند به هر سازمانی مشکلم را میگفتم جوابشان منفی بود، داشتم نا امیدمیشدم، که خبری از ترودکه ی عزیز شنیدم، وکیلی به ما معرفی کرد و پرونده ی بیماریه برادر و مادرم به جریان افتاد و به کمک آن توانستیم از کمپ خارج شویمو پس از ده ماه اکنون در خانه زندگی میکنیم دیگر برای حمام ، توالت وغذا مجبور نیستیم ساعتها در صفهای طولانی بایستیم، برق دائم داریم شبها در روشناییشام میخوریم، در محیط تمیز دوش میگیریم و تازه حس امنیت میکنیم از این بابت خیلی خوشحالم و واقعا سپاسگزارم از کمک سازمان دی سی آر و ترودکه یعزیز.


Turning 18 in Moria 

Tuesday, May 29, 2020  

When I think about me turning eighteen in three months’ time and having to leave the camp and my family, I get really frightened.

Today a friend came by. She was very worried as she has been told to leave the camp within a month as she turned eightteen and has received her own ID-card. She came here together with her brother and mother. She lost her father when she was a little girl.

My friend was already granted asylum, but her brother got a negative decision and her mother did not yet have her interview. Until you are eightteen, you can stay with your family in the camp even if you have been granted asylum. But when you come of age, you have to leave.

My friend is terribly upset and worries a lot that she will have live all by herself somewhere outside the camp. 

The same goes for another friend of mine. He lives together with his mom, who is very sick of cancer. Now he has to leave his mother too. When I heard about that, I felt a sting of pain in my heart. 

And when I think of myself turning eightteen in three months’ time and having to leave the camp and my family, I get really frightened.

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

امروز یکی از دوستانم به دیدن آمد او خیلی نگران بود چون اعلام کردند افرادی که آیدی گرفتند باید کمپ را ترک کنند، او با خانوادهاش(برادر و مادرش (پدرش را بچه که بود از دست داد)) به اینجا مهاجرت کرده بود ولی اینحا مجبور است تا از خانواده اش جدا شود چونکیس برادرش ردی خورده و مادرش هنوز مصاحبه نداده، و از اینکه مجبور است خانواده اش را ترک کند و به تنهایی زندگی کند بسیارناراحت نگران است، و هچنین شنیدن خبری مشابه راجع به یکی دیگر از دوستانم که با مادرش به تنهایی اینجا زندگی میکند و اوهم مجبوراست مادرش را ترک کند در حالی که مادرش مریض است و سرطان دارد بسیار قلب مرا به درد آورده، وقتی به این فکر میکنم که کمتر ازسه ماه دیگر من هم به سن قانونی میرسم و ممکن است این اتفاق برای من هم بیوفتد بسیار نگرانم میکند.


Being here without parents 

Tuesday, May 29, 2020  

The weather was much better today than before. The rain has stopped, the sun is shining everywhere. I felt like taking a walk and called H., a friend of mine, and asked him to join me. H. is sixteen years old and has lived in camp Moria for a year now.

In Afghanistan or Iran I would never be allowed to hang out with a boy like that, it does’t fit in our culture and religion. But here in the camp my parents are okay with it, because the situation is completely different here. 

H. was very depressed. He is so desparate for his parents. The minors live in another part of camp they call ‘the Section’. There are about a thousind minors there. 

Life conditons in the Section are somewhat better than in the rest of the camp, but the children don’t get any money and the food is not always sufficient. Sometimes they have to steal to get money for food, shoes and clothing. 

Some time ago H.’s Phone was stolen, hence he could nog call his parents. Being seperated from his parents and waiting in uncertainty makes him very anxious and sombre. Mentally he is feeling very bad.

But he is not the only one in the Section who gets depressed there. Almost all the kids I know from there feel depressed. 

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

امروز هوا کمی بهتر از روزهای قبل بود باران بند آمده بود و خورشید نورش را همه جا میتاباند دلم کمی قدم زدن میخواست به یکی از دوستانم زنگ زدم تا باهم پیاده روی کنیم، اسمش حسین است، او شانزده سال دارد یک سال است که در کمپ موریا زندگی میکند، دلش گرفته بودو سخت دلتنگ خانواده اش بود، حسین با این سن کمش به تنهایی مهاجرت کرده بود چون شنیده بود که اروپا زیر سنها را زود پذیرش میکند ولی از وضعیت فعلی اش ناراضی بود، آنها در قسمت دیگر کمپ زندگی میکنند ،آنجارا سکشن میگوید که حدودا هزار زیر سن آنجا زندگی میکنند، شرایط زندگی در آنجا به نسبت دیگر قسمتهای کمپ بهتر است اما آنها چون زیر سن قانونی هستند پول دریافت نمیکنندبه همین خاطر اکثر آنها برای بدست آوردن پول مجبور به دزدی میشوند گوشیه حسین را از او دزدیه بودند و او نمیتوانست به خانواده اش زنگ بزند، دوری از خانواده، انتظار، و بلاتکلیفی او را سخت کلافه کرده و در شرایط روحیه بدی است نه تنها او همه ی آنهایی که در سکشن زندگی میکنند و از خانواده ی شان دور است تحت فشار روحیه زیادی قرار دارند.


Quarrels and fighting 

Monday, May 25, 2020 

I took these pictures on May 23. I was walking around camp with some kids from my photography class when we saw this. Someone had been stabbed. The police had come and taken the wounded with them. There was blood everywhere on the ground, and someone was dragging the blood-soken shirt. Only this month we have had five or six fights like this. 

I can’t bear it here anymore. Or rather, much less than before. There is no end to the ugly things happening here. Since the quarantine we are shocked by news about knife assaults, fights and murder.

We have been in quarantine for three months now. Everywhere the quarantine has been lifted, except for us here in this camp. We used to go the beach or to town for a walk. But for three months now, everything is closed and forbidden for us. 

Our asylum procedures have been on hold for months. That also causes a lot of psychological pressure. Because of all this misery, people can no longer suppress their irritation and anger. They have little resilience, they have a short fuse so to speak. 

The smallest things can result in big arguments that often escalate. Discussions, arguments, quarrels and fights in the long lines for food, at the showers, the toilets and so forth – it happens all the time. 

These things have changed Moria into hell for us.

Our hell.

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

دیگر تحمل اینجا برایم خیلی سخت تر از قبل شده، اتفاقات بد تمامی ندارد، چاقو کشی، دعوا،قتل،از روزی که

کمپ بسته شده و کسی اجازه رفتو آمد به بیرون کمپ را ندارد این اتفاقات چند برابر شده، قرنطینه سه ماه شد، عمه جا برای دیگران باز شده ولی برای ماهنوز هم کمپ بسته است و کسی به سختی اجازه خروج را دارد، قبل از اینها ما برای گذراندن اوقات کلاسهای مختلف شرکت میکردیم برای پیاده روی به ساحلو شهر میرفتیم ولی در این سه ماه درهای همه جا به روی ما بسته است، کارهای پناهندگی ما متوقف شده و فشار زیادی را تحمل میکنیم اینها تاثیرات خیلیبدی روی اعصاب و روان ما گذاشته باعث شده تا اکثر مردم اینجا کنترلی بر اعصاب خود نداشته باشد و با کوچکترین اتفاق و یا حرفی دعواهای بزرگی رخ دهد،هر روزه سر صف غذا صف حمام، توالت، محل شستشو،دکتر و صفهای دیگر بحث و درگیری اتفاق می افتد بین مردم، این اتفاقها باعث شده موریا تبدیل بهجهنم شود برای ما.


Despair 

Monday, May 11, 2020 

I don’t dare going to my hangout place.

Today is Monday. I haven’t been outside for a week. 

I had a date with a girl friend to go to Hope Project today, but yesterday evening we heard that the quarantine has been extended again.

Art classes will not start for another month. I don’t have any hope anymore to ever leave this camp. 

I am also afraid to go to my hangout. I think of the girls who have been raped. What a painful and horrifying experience. I wonder what they are going through mentally. I am afraid it will happen to me too. 

And it is not possible to go to the police out of fear for something like that. They would say: come back when it has happened. 

I feel so cramped and lonely. As if I am suffocating. 

Such a life I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams. 

Pessimism is rooting deeper and deeper within me. The negative thoughts are taking over and I cannot control them. On top of that, the returning headaches make me crazy. 

I waited for better times with enthousiasm and impatience, but my hope has turned into despair. 

I am at the end of my hope. 

It is harder than ever to bear life in this camp. 

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

امروز دوشنبه است نزدیک یک هفته از خانه بیرون نرفته ام قرار گذاشته بودم با دوستم امروز برویم

hope project

ولی شب قبلش شنیدم که قرنطینه باز هم تمدید شده و کلاس نقاشی هم برای یک ماه دیگر بسته خواهد بود، دیگر امید ندارم از اینکه دیگر بتوانم از کمپ خارج شوم، دیگر به خلوتگاهم هم میترسم بروم، به دخترانی فکر میکنم که به آنها تجاوز شده چه درد روحی ای را تحمل میکنند، از اینکه نکند این بلا سر من بیاید بشدت ترسیده ام کاری هم نمیتوانم بکنم اگر به پلیس بگویم میگویند برو هر وقت بلا سرت آمد بیا شکایت کن، چقدر احساس خفگی و تنهایی میکنم من انتظار این زندگی را نداشتم امیدم خیلی کم رنگ شده است افکار منفی دارند در ذهنم  قدرت میگیرند نمیتوانم کنترلشان کنم سردرد کلافه ام کرده، من منتظر روز خوبی بودم ولی تبدیل شد به یک روز دردناک، تحمل این کمپ برایم سخت تر از قبل شده.


Going out again?

Friday, May 8, 2020

I have not been out for two or three days. I don’t feel safe and I am rather tense. My headaches have worsened. 
A girl from my art class sent me a message that the quarantine will be removed on Monday and that we can start going to class again!

I was so happy to hear this. I cannot stand it here anymore. I get so happy knowing that I will be able to spend my days outside camp and pick up painting. 

I’m getting in the mood again.

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

دو سه روزی است که از خانه بیرون نرفته ام احساس خطر میکنم فشار روحیه زیادی را تحمل میکنم سردردم هم این روزها شدت گرفته، یکی ازهمکلاسی هایم پیام داده که دوشنبه قرنطینه ی کمپ تمام میشود و کلاس نقاشی هم باز میشود از شنیدن آن خیلی خوشحالم دیگر تحمل کمپ خیلی سختشده از اینکه میتوانم روزهایم را خارج از کمپ بگذارنم و دوباره تابلوهای نقاشی بکشم باعث شده تا روحیه ام خیلی بهتر شود.


Chased by boys

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 

In camp Moria

Today the girl next door stopped by. She told me something disturbing. She said I had better look after myself, as her brother heard that some boys are after me. From the way she described it, I got a hunch who they are. I thought to myself: things aren’t bad enough… 

I suspect one of the boys is the guy who asked me out some time ago, which I refused. He was insulted and threatened to harm me if I did not go with him.

I did not take it seriously, but to be honest I am a little worried now. Especially because I heard about women and girls and even children being harrassed and raped. The police doesn’t do a thing. It seems as if they don’t care much. 

I talked about it with my parents, they are also worried – but what can they do?I can only hope that the quarantaine is lifted soon so that I can go to my classes again. That is the only way to get a little bit away from the distress and the dangers of the camp. 

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

امروز دختر همسایه به خانه ما آمده بود اسم او سیمین است،خبر های خوبی نگفت، میگفت بیشتر مراقب خودم باشم برادرش میگوید چند پسر

چند روزیست مرا زیر نظر گرفته مشخصات یکی از آنها را گفت حدس زدم چه کسی باشد، ای وای این هم به دغدغه های من اضافه شد، به

چند ماه پیش فکر میکنم پسری که  بمن پیشنهاد دوستی داد ولی من آن را رد کردم تهدید هم کرده بود که اگر با او دوست نشوم بلای سرم می

آورد جدی اش نگرفتم، اما این روزها استرس زیادی دارم چون خبرهای تجاوز به دختران و حتی کودکان در کمپ زیاد به گوشم میخورد پلیس

هم هیچ واکنشی به آن نشان نمیدهد، امیدوارم زودتر قرنطینه تمام شود تا از محیط پر دغدغه و خطرناک کمپ دور شوم با شرکت در کلاسها.


Hotter every day

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 

Children cooling off 

Summer is coming and it is getting hotter and hotter in our small tents. It becomes harder to endure the heat when staying inside. 

Also, the showers are busier than they used to be, nothing is changing for the better. 

The hot weather induced my headaches again. And that makes it hard for me to concentrate. 

I go to my hangout, far from the masses and the noise of the camp. 

The blazing sun burns my head. There the headache is again. 

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

نزدیک

 تابستان هستیم و هوا گرم شده خیمه های کوچک ما این روزها بشدت داغ میشوند و تحمل ماندن در آن بسیار سخت استحمامها هم

شلوغتر از قبل شده اند و وضعیت دشوارتر شده با گرمتر شدن هوا سردرد های من هم شروع شده سخت میتوانم تمرکز کنممیروم به پاتوقم

خلوتگاهی که دور از جمعیت و صداهای کمپ است، آفتاب بشدت میتابد و باز هم سردرد…


Sick

Monday, May 4, 2020

Inside our tent 

These are terrible days for me. I have a very hard time with the uncertainty, the quarantaine and because I am sick. Mentally I don’t feel well at all, more like a wreck. And now, on top of that, I have a cold that doesn’t seem to go away. My loud couging keeps everybody awake at night.

My father stands in line for food all day long and my mother is busy washing the dishes and the laundry in a confined space with little water.

I turn on the electric kettle. My father enters with the food. He can see I look terrible and it saddens him that he cannot make me some soup. He brought me honey and lemon to add to the hot water. 

Soon after that my mother arrives. She is dead tired and her back is aching. She has trouble sitting and even lying down. At the same time she is worried about my health. It makes her sad that, because of the shortage of this and that, she cannot cook me a decent meal to give me some strength. 

It has been raining non-stop for two days now. In this weather, and the state I am in now, I cannot stand in line for hours to see a doctor.

God! When will this exhausting time finally be over?

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

این روزها بشدت سخت میگذرند بلاتکلیفی، بیماری، قرنطینه ،اینها همه فشار زیادی به من وارد میکند از لحاظ روحی اصلا حال خوبی ندارم اما بیماریجسمی هم به آن اضافه شده سرماخوردگیه ای که گریبان مرا گرفته و خوب نمیشود سرفه های بلندی که شبها آرامش را از همه مان گرفته، پدرم صبح تاشب صف غذاست و مادرم همه روزه مشغول شستن لباس و ظرف در یک مکان کوچک با آب خیلی کم است، چایساز را روشن میکنم تا کمی آب جوشبخورم پدرم آمده غذا آورده مرا با حال بد میبیند و ناراحت میشود از اینکه نمیتواند برایم سوپ تهیه کند او لیمو و عسل آورده تا با آب جوش بخورم،مادرم خسته از شستشو برگشته کمرش بشدت درد میکند به سختی میتواند بنشیند و دراز بکشد و نگران و ناراحت من است که از کمبود امکانات نمیتواندغذاهای مقوی برایم بپزد، دو روز است باران میبارد نمیتوانم با این حال بد زیر باران ساعتها صف دکتر منتظر بمانم، خدایا این روزهای سخت پس کیتمام میشود.


Bubbles

Friday, May 1, 2020 

Today I watched the children around me playing. With wood and old stuff from everywhere and nowhere they made themselves some toys. 

They look content and happy, but they have no clue that the stuff they use could be contaminated with the coronavirus. They made kites using twigs that they broke off the trees and garbage bags that they found in the trash. They make bubbles using empty water bottles and they turn fruit boxes into cars. 

This they do every day and they are happy for it. I can see that they enjoy the smallest of things.  

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

نشستم به بازیه بچه ها نگاه میکنم به چوبها و وسایل کهنه ای که نمیدانم از کجا پیدایشان کردند و به عنوان اسباب بازی از آنها استفاده میکنند و خوشحالند که آنها را دارند به این فکر نمیکنند که ممکن است آنها آلوده و عامل بیماری باشند. با چوبهایی که از دست کنده اند و پلاستیکهای زباله بادبادک درست میکنند، با بطری های خالیه آب حباب ساز مسازند با جعبه های خالیه میوه ماشین درست میکنند و تنها سرگرمیه آنها همین هاست و دلخوشند به همین چیزهای کوچک.


The jungle 

Thursday, April 30, 2020 
The place in the jungle where I often go to relax

These days I often wonder what the future holds for us. What will be our fate? How long will we roam and wander around? I have nightmares about being sent back. The fear of ISIS and the Taliban does not leave me alone anymore. 

All the time I try to distract myself with positive thoughts about my future and my goals. I walk to the ‘jungle’, that is the area surrounding the camp. As the official camp is full, people have built their own places there. I often go there for a walk to chase away negative thoughts, but mostly to kill time. 

I see houses that were built out of wood and leaves in a very creative way. Wonderful, I think to myself. I pass clay ovens that people made themselves to bake bread. Then I think: how creative and stunningly beautiful. I stroll by with a smile on my face. 

A few metres ahead I suddenly smell an incredible stink and I see a heap of garbage that annuls and completely spoils the beauty of the trees. I leave that place quickly and head for the quiet spot where I often go to relax.

Again, I do my best to think positive and remind myself of beautiful things. 

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

این روزها به این فکر میکنم که سرنوشت ما چی میشه تا کی آواره و سرگردان خواهیم ماند و کابوس دیپورت به کشور خودمان و ترس از داعش و طالبان آرامش را از من گرفته، خودم رو درگیر فکر کردن به آینده و اهدافم میکنم تا کمی این افکار منفی دور بشم، میرم جنگلهای اطراف قدم زدن تا کمی اوغاتم سپری شود خونه هایی رو میبینم که با چوب و برگای درست با چه خلاقیتی درست شدند و کوره های کوچکی که مردم برای نان پختن ساختن واقعا شگفت زده ام میکنن ولی کمی جلوتر که میرم با انبوعی تز زباله و بوی بد روبه رو میشم که زیبایی رو از این جنگل گرفتند، از اونجا دور میشم و

میرم خلوتگاه خودم با خودم خلوت میکنم و سعی میکنم کمی انرژیه مثبت از طبیعت دریافت کنم.


Ramadan 

Thursday, April 23, 2020 
My brother watching other kids play 

The days follow each other and we are still waiting for good news or something nice to happen. To stay in the camp all day is becoming harder and harder. If I could go out, I would restart my painting and English classes. How long can we keep this up? My brother is asking all the time: ‘When are we going home, so that I can go to school?’ Unfortunately I have no answer. 

A third group, vulnerable people from the camp, would be transferred to camps and hotels on the mainland because of the coronavirus. But they announced on a loudspeaker that for now this plan was cancelled. We don’t know if someone in the camp caught the virus, but we did see a few ambulances entering camp after this announcement. Everybody in the camp was talking about it. We don’t know what is going on exactly. I can only hope that all refugees will be relocated as soon as possible. 

Today is also the start of the Ramadan. A month in which we don’t eat or drink anything from early in the morning until after sunset, in order to feel and experience how poor people live. A sort of compassion. But who has compassion with us, refugees? 


Shopping

Friday, April 17, 2020

It was at about two o’clock at night when we all woke up because there was screaming at the neigbours’. My little brother cried out: ‘Fire! Fire!’ We all thought that there was another fire. We ran outside, panicking. Then we saw our neighbour, who screamed: ‘It was a thief!’ 

The neighbour told us that he came back from the toilet when he saw a strange man getting into their tent. When the man saw him coming, he ran off with a knife in his hand. 

We went to the police all together, but the policeman said we had to come back in the morning. We talked for a while with the neighbours and then went back to our tents. 

At around five in the morning my father got out again to get a waiting ticket for the supermarket. There is only one supermarket in the camp where 20,000 people do their shopping. My father came back for lunch. He had number 60. 

At around three in the afternoon he went back to the line at the supermarket to see if it was his turn. It is now five thirty and my father is not back yet. 

It is raining and it’s also a bit chilly. We are very worried about my dad having to be in such busy places for so long. Especially in this time, when everybody tries to stay inside to avoid catching the coronavirus. 

I myself don’t feel so well today and I am afraid that I have caught the coronavirus. Tomorrow early in line for the doctor’s. It is going to be a long wait, with a lot of worrying and uncertainty. 

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

ساعت تقریبا دو شب بود همه خواب بودیم که بازم با صداهای دادو بیداد همسایه بیدار شدیم برادر کوچیکم با ترس از خواب پرید و داد زد آتیش آتیش ما همه فکر کردیم بازم آتش سوزیه ولی رفتیم بیرون دیدیم مرد همسایه داد میزد دزد دزد اون میگفت وقتی از توالت برگشتم دیدم یه غریبه داشت داخل خیمه ی مان میشد که تا اون رو دید چاقو بدست فرار کرد رفتیم دنبال پلیس ولی اون گفت فردا صبح بیاین اداره پلیس پیگیری کنید بعد از چند ساعت گفتگو با همسایه ها همگی برگشتیم داخل خیمه ها ساعت ۵ صبح بود که بابام رفت فروشگاه کمپ تا برای خرید نوبت بگیره و نوبتش شماره ی شصت بود (چون ما اجازه خروج از کمپ رو نداریم و کمپ فقط یک فروشگاه داره که جمعیت بیست هزار نفریه کمپ از یک فروشگاه خرید میکنن و بشدت شلوغه).

بابام بعد از برگشتن از صف غذا و خوردن ناهار ساعت ۱۵بعد از ظهر بود که رفت فروشگاه(چون هنوز نوبتش نرسیده بود) الان ساعت ۶و نیم بعداز ظهره بارون شدیدی میباره و هوا کمی سرد شده ولی هنوز بابام از فروشگاه برنگشته و ما خیلی نگرانشیم که مجبوره ساعتها توی مکانهای شلوغ منتظر بمونه تو این وضعیت خطرناکی که همه تو خونه هاشونن که به ویروس کرونا مبتلا نشن از یک طرف من هم مریض شدم و نگرانم که به ویروس کرونا مبتلا نشده باشم باید فردا صبح زود برم و تو صف طولانیه دکتر منتظر باشم


Painting

Tuesday, April 14, 2020
I made these paintings at Hope Project. 

A new day with the shadow of death hanging over the camp as a vulture. 

I want to do something fun. I pick up my sketchbook – I have almost run out of blank paper. I think about the time before the coronavirus. In the mornings, I used to go to the school that was set on fire in March. I think of ‘Hope Project’, where I used to go in the afternoons. There, I got so absorbed in painting that I forgot about our misery. 

I think about the past, the time before we fled. My interest in art grew every day. I wanted to engage in drawing, photography, fashion design. I had great plans, I wanted to make the world more beautiful with my art. 

But life also showed me its cruel side. We had to flee. Along the way I experienced some terrible things, and fate brought us to Moria. But even here I continued with my plans. Step by step I proceeded. 

After all we have been through, this terrifying virus will not be the end, life will show us its beautiful side again. 

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

شروع یک روز دیگه در کمپ بازم روز مرگی. دلم یک اتفاق تازه میخواد فکر می کنم که چیکار کنم میرم سراغ دفترم که نقاشی بکشم دیگه صفحه خالی هم ندارن.  یاد قبل کرونا میوفتم یاد مدرسه‌ای که هر روز نصف روزم با کلاس هایش سپری میشد که آتیش گرفت و یاد Hope project که هر روز از ساعت ۲ تا ۶ شب اونجا بودیم و اونقدر غرق نقاشی کشیدن بودم که ذهنم خالی از هر دغدغه ای می شد.


Fire

Friday, April 10, 2020 
Deze afbeelding heeft een leeg alt-atribuut; de bestandsnaam is dagboek-4-1.jpeg
After the 17 March fire 

My father woke us up this morning, he was scared: ‘Get out quickly everybody, there is a fire!’ We hurried out of the tent. 

The fire could be extuinguished quickly. Two tents near us burnt down completely. The tents are made of plastic and fabric, very inflammable. 

This time there are no wounded, but on March 17 a girl got burnt completely, I saw her. Since then my little brother and I are scared and stressed out even when we see smoke. 

After I recovered a little bit, I went to shower. There was only cold water, and halfway through even that stopped. And my dad come back from the foodline without lunch: it was finished. We filled our stomachs with bread and sugared tea. 

Still, in between all those ugly events a cheerful thing happened: our neighbours told us they got their refugee status. We are happy for them.  

Later I drank tea with my mom when my little brother came running in to the tent: ‘Mom, mom, my friend says another fire will come and we will all be burnt!’ 

How or when will we leave this misery behind us?

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:


رسیدیم به بازار کمپ شلوغترین نقطه ی اینجا مردم مدام در حال رفتو آمدن هستن. کمتر کسی از اونا ماسک و دستکش دارن.
و میبینیم که روی دیوار ها اعلامیه هایی در باره ویروس کرونا و راههای پیشگیری از اون نوشتن همه میخونن و رد میشن.


Playing kids

Thursday, April 9, 2020 
Deze afbeelding heeft een leeg alt-atribuut; de bestandsnaam is dagboek-3-1.jpeg

Today I went for a walk with my friend Nazanin. Because of corona we have to stay in the camp. Before the corona regulations, I often went to places outside the camp. I followed courses in photography, art and English at an NGO.

Nazanin told me her mother has not been well lately. Her father is deceased. Nazanin is scared to death she will also lose here mother. 

We passed the market. It is busy here, people are passing eachother at short distance. I see only few face masks and gloves. Posters about corona and precautions are everywhere. People read them and just follow their way. 

And playing children everywhere. A lot of them play marbles. The children touch eachother’s stuff. They pick up dirty things and play with them. And then they eat something without washing their hands. We often say something about it to the parents. But they tell us they feel helpless and desperate. They cannot keep their children inside, because staying in the tent they get bored to death. 

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

رسیدیم به بازار کمپ شلوغترین نقطه ی اینجا مردم مدام در حال رفتو آمدن هستن. کمتر کسی از اونا ماسک و دستکش دارن.
و میبینیم که روی دیوار ها اعلامیه هایی در باره ویروس کرونا و راههای پیشگیری از اون نوشتن همه میخونن و رد میشن.


No water from the tap

Tuesday April 7, 2020 
Deze afbeelding heeft een leeg alt-atribuut; de bestandsnaam is dagboek-2.jpeg
How can we follow the hygiene regulations if the camp is so filthy and we often have no water? 

This morning I went to the toilets to wash my hands and brush my teeth, but the water was cut off. I stood in line for hours to get drinking water. At 9.30 I could brush my teeth. 

Every day the water is cut off for like four or five hours. Sometimes the whole day, and nobody knows how it happens. I am worried that we cannot wash our hands regularly. And how can we follow regulations if there is no water? My mother is constantly afraid that we will get infected with the corona virus. 

At five o’clock, we had water again. Without water, the toilets become very dirty very quickly. The stink is unbearable. Used plastic bottles everywhere. 

When I went to the toilet I suddenly got very afraid to catch some disease or other, not to speak of corona. I wanted to get out there as quickly as possible.

Tonight, I decided to brush my teeth near the tent.

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

برای من خیلی نگران کننده ست که نتونم دستامو چندبار در روز بشورم و چجوری بدون آب بهداشت رو رعایت کنیم.
مادرم خیلی نگرانه ماست تا در این محیط آلوده و شلوغ کمپ به ویروس کرونا مبتلا نشیم


Going home without food

Monday, April 6, 2020
Deze afbeelding heeft een leeg alt-atribuut; de bestandsnaam is dagboek-1.jpg

I am waiting in front of a hall where women can take away their lunch. This hall is not big, and when it is filled up they close it and you have to wait until they open it again. It is tremendously busy here, there is no way to keep distance, not even an inch. The women standing in line talk about the corona virus all the time. They are worried because they cannot take precautions. But we still have to gather here for food, we don’t have much choice.

I have been waiting for an hour in front of the hall, but the food was finished. The police locked the gate and no one could enter anymore. It happens often that they run out of food and you have to go back to your tent without lunch.

Now I am forced to go and buy eggs on credit. We get money at the end of the month, but we cannot touch it because we are not allowed to leave the camp. 

Fragments (in Farsi) of our WhatsApp conversations with Atifa:

یک ساعت پشت در منتظر بودم متاسفانه غذا تمام شد. وقتی آن سالن پر شود در را قفل میکنند و کسی را راه نمیدهند.
در بیشتر مواقع غذا تمام میشود و افرادی که بیرون منتظر میشوند مجبورند بدون غذا برگردند.