My pen won’t break, but borders will
By Parwana Amiri
Published by w2eu-Alarm Phone, 2020
Parwana Amiri is a young girl from Afghanistan who lived in the Moria camp together with her family after reaching Lesbos in September 2019. While there, she had been writing about her experiences. Often at night, when the other eight people she was sharing a tent with were asleep. Alarmphone has now published her first book.
Moria might have burned down, but a new camp has been erected. So far there has been no change in European policy. As long as this is the case, the voices of brave people like Parwana need to be heard.
“Put yourself in our shoes! We are not safe in Moria. We didn’t escape from our homelands to stay hidden and trapped. We didn’t pass the borders and risk our lives to live in fear and danger.
Put yourself in our shoes! Can you live in a place, that you cannot walk alone even when you just want to go to the toilet. Can you live in a place, where there are hundreds of unaccompanied minors that no one can stop from attempting suicide. That no one can stop from drinking. […]
In this situation the first thing that comes to my mind to tell you is, we didn’t come here to Europe for money, and we did not come to be European citizens. It was just to breathe a day in peace.
Instead, hundreds of minors here became drug addicts, but no one cares.
Five human beings burned, but no one cares.
Thousands of children don’t have their vaccinations, but no one cares.
I am writing to you to share and I am hoping for change…”
In her letters, Parwana puts herself in the shoes of different people living in the camp: a young teenage girl like herself, living in a crowded space together with strange men; an old woman who is fighting for her sick husband; a transgender person; a young unaccompanied minor; a mother and wife of a paralyzed man.
With endless empathy, Parwana speaks about the everyday suffering, the dreams and beliefs of the people around her. This is a strong testimony from the heart of Europe’s failure, written by a talented young writer who is not only aware of the emotions of the people around her but also of the world we live in, which constantly reproduces exclusion and degradation:
“Stop lying and pretending that people are safe here. Stop saying Europe is a better place, when it is only better for some and not even accessible for others.
My pen won’t break until we end this story of inequality and discrimination among human kind. My words will always break the borders you built.”
The full book is available here.
Reposted, with minor edits, from Are You Serious.