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Here are a few of the short stories about MIGRATION written by the Greek students, as part of the preparation stage for C1 meeting:
A story of a 29-year-old woman refugee from Syria
Suddenly, the explosions began, bombs in schools and shots into the crowd. Nobody knows how many people were killed. My husband was photographing the marches then they arrested him and they put him in prison. When things got worse, my groom was the one who urged us to illegally flee to Turkey. Besides amid the war how to doff passport?
It was September 2012 and the borders near my town were closed. So, we had to go 400 km to Aleppo in order to leave the passage Bab El Hawa. We were seven people and fortunately they did not ask a lot of money – we gave about 600 euros to cross the borders. But the money we spent to go from one city to another was much more. We avoided the main road and we made the first trip by car, then we walked, then by car again … Everywhere was surrounded by barricades and roadblocks, which we had to pay to let us go. Sometimes they were shooting us. I was alone with my six children.
When we arrived to Athens, in Piraeus, three young people from Syria asked me where I would go. I told them that I did not know anyone and I did not have any money. So, they took me with them. We were living in a basement, 20 people, until finding someone to help us. One day they kicked us to the street, beneath the rain. For the time being, we have moved to five houses. The house that I live now is rented by another young Syrian, who saw me alone with my children and he offered to accommodate us.
The society treats us like if we are enemies. When they hear my children speaking a foreign language they push them or they make fun of them. Yesterday I told to some Syrian people to fix my washing machine.The moment they entered my house the police arrested them. My older daughter came down to see what is happening and they almost arrested her too. I was crying all night. If they hurt my children, I will commit a crime.
I am thinking of selling everything I got and return to Syria. I want to raise my children properly. I want them to study and graduate from a university to guarantee their future. We did not escape from war and death to live with racism. I think we deserve better than this.
Based on a True Story
At first I didn’t know my life would make such a huge turn. I met my husband and in a short period of time we got married. He hadn’t told me that he had an invitation from a relative living in the U.S.A., because back then, in the 60s, only with an invitation from a relative living in the U.S.A., someone could go there. After two months of marriage he decided to go in order to make more money. I did not follow him, because I was afraid. I was only a young girl and I didn’t want to leave my mother on her own, here, in Greece. After my husband left, I was really sad and I missed him. After about 3 months, I found out I was pregnant, but I couldn’t tell my husband immediately because we didn’t have a phone back then. I had such a difficult pregnancy and the only one by my side was my mother. After two and a half years my husband came back and saw his baby boy, Billy, for the first time. He told me I had two choices, whether to go with him to the U.S.A. or stay in Greece. At that time, Greece was not nearly as developed as other countries, there was poverty and unemployment. I didn’t want my child to grow up in an environment like that. I wanted him to be happy and have opportunities in life ……and that was the reason I had to migrate.
“I was born in Ukraine, Odessa in 1977. I enjoyed the last drops of Soviet education as a musician and young child interested in physics and math. It took me a long time to decide what to do in life music and physics are very interesting to me. So I studied physics at the University of Odessa and music at the Conservatory at the same time. Now I live in New York. I teach jazz, piano and composition in Boston Massachusetts. I travel all over the world with my music. Sometimes I can’t even believe I became the person I am today. My cultural identity hasn’t really changed. I was 17 when I came to Germany. Although it wasn’t really my decision as I was following my family, I was very excited to go to Germany and was given the opportunity to tour the country as a young composer. My father had dedicated his life as an engineer developing different infrastructures for the Soviet Union and suddenly he realized he had no money to feed us. We’re a Jewish family that experienced some anti-semitism. Personally I faced it minimally as a child but I don’t consider myself a victim. My father though, faced it for many years. In 1995, my family applied for a German “visa” as refugees. And that was the reason I had to migrate.”
THE JOURNEY TO SAFETY
It was late when I smelled something burning. The Turks had set the city on fire. I heard shouts and screams from everywhere. My parents told me and my two sisters to pack anything we could as quickly as we could and leave. And right then we knew, we were never coming back.
We did as we were told and the smell of burning houses became more intense. We stated running towards the harbour where most of the people we’re heading to. An explosion broke out from my neighbour’s house and I was scared to death by the thought that someone may be still in there. But we kept going, there wasn’t enough time to check the house and the Turks were already in the city taking the girls with them. Once we arrived at the harbour, the situation was unbearable.
Thousands of people were waiting to get on board to escape from this tragedy. Luckily we found my father’s old friend who had some space on his ship. As we sailed to the unknown, people we’re drowning and pushing to get on a ship. The conditions on board were miserable; there was no food, no water and people were dying from hunger and diseases.
We were travelling seventeen day or so until we reached Piraeus. The slaughters and the fires were becoming more and more back home. There was a new life ahead of us, hopefully a better one. Telling this story to my grandchildren has always been difficult as well as painful, especially when I tell them ‘…there was no other way we would leave or die,and that was the reason I had to migrate’
The town was blazing in fire. The bombs where coming down to my hometown like rain ,from a distance I could see Allepo on fire, large buildings, parks, schools, all gone in a blink of an eye . At the time I was just five years old , as old as the Syrian war itself.
I was living with my mother and brother, my father was gone by a previous airstrike, airstrikes were common but I never thought that my hometown would be a target. Until last wednesday. I was playing with a bottle on the main square of Allepo just across the street from my home, all of a sudden I could hear the airplane’s tourbines, getting louder and louder every second. Amongst a city of ruins you could see ambulances storming in to seek out survivors. My mother’s arms were shaking, she said that we had to leave as a teardrop was gently going down her left ,covered in dust, cheek. My brother he was a lot older at the time, he knew that we had to leave so he started getting the most usefull stuff he could find in a bag, he was crying also. My journey to Europe had just begun. It took us 5 days to get to Turkey, we were travelling with a group of women and children, the men were left behind to make sure that everyone got out. It took us 3 more days to get to Turkey. When I arrived I thought that the hard part of getting to Europe was gone, silly me… it had only just begun. A tall man was standing infront of an old rafting boat, he said that we had to wait for the next boat to come, so we stayed with the other Syrian people, waiting to get to Greece.
Finally it was our turn to leave. I got to the boat and sat between my mother and brother. As we were sailing the wind was getting stronger, our boat wasn’t made for this. We were inside Greek sea now, the captain got to the bigger boat and left us, he said that they will come to save us. After ten minutes I saw a black boat coming towards us with great speed. In that boat men and women with red suits saying “we are here to rescue you! Stay calm and don’t move!
Thank god all of us made it to an island named Kos, we were transferred to the police station, and then to a camp with some short of houses. It wasn’t much , but as long as I know that I will live to see the next day’s morning light it was good enough for me
War, followed by fear of not knowing if you stay alive or not, chaos ,death , despair, those where the reasons I had to migrate.