My struggle from Afghanistan to here…

Posted by thomas hiotis on August - 3 - 2017 with Comments Off on My struggle from Afghanistan to here…

My name is Feteme and I am a 13 year old girl from Afghanistan.  My story begins in Kunduz, a city in Afghanistan.  We had a lot of problems there.  Women in my country are denied many basic rights such as the right to study or work.  Women are often abused and treated with indignity. According to our culture girls should get married at the age of 15 or 16, and are forced to have children at a very young age.  Boys are not much better off because only the wealthy ones can afford to go to school.  The rest have to take up arms and go to war.  It is a well known fact that terrorist groups are our most dangerous enemies.  If they like a girl, they abduct her or take her by force from her family.

The war in Afghanistan started many decades ago.  There are both external and internal conflicts, and they have forced many people to emigrate.  For the same reason, we too left our country to go to Europe.  We first went from our city to Kabul and then to Pakistan via Nimroz.  The border with Pakistan was very dangerous; they held us hostage in a warehouse without food and water for thirteen days until we paid them money.  We did not even have the right to go to the toilet.  When we paid them and they let us go, we went to the border with Iran.

By the border there were shots in the air for a whole hour and we were all lying down until the shootings stopped.  Then we walked for hours in a dark forest until we reached a river.  We crossed it and after hours of endless walking, we reached Iran and stayed in a town there.  The Iranians did not treat us well.  We left that town and went to the capital in order to head to the border with Turkey.  To reach the Iranian border, we passed through the city of Gazvin.  We managed to evade a police check because our driver hid us in a safe place until darkness fell and then he left us in the city of Oroomiyeh near the Turkish border.  We crossed the mountains of Makou on foot.  They were covered in snow. It was dangerous, and we saw corpses that had been frozen from the cold.  Those images were appalling and terrifying.  After fourteen hours of walking, we arrived at the border and from there we were transported by car to a place where we had to stay until we left Turkey.  Apart from us, there were many others: families, young girls, children.  I asked a girl why they were being kept there.  She told me they had not paid to continue the journey which is why they were being kept  for months in those hard and unpleasant conditions. We then continued our journey to Ankara where we stayed for 15 days.  From there, we went to Izmir where the traffickers put us in a big inflatable boat along with 70 other people.  The sea had high waves and it looked very frightening at night.  We did not manage to get to Greece because the Turkish Police caught us and turned us back.  We tried 4 more times.  In the middle of the sea, everyone was asking for God’s help to cross safely and I was constantly worried about my family and my two little brothers who were very afraid.

Finally, we reached Samos where we would get the papers that would allow us to travel legally to Europe.  We spent fifteen days there in a closed refugee camp.  For the Syrians, the process was easier and they were getting more support.  We did not manage to arrive on time, when the borders were still open. By the time we arrived the borders were alredy closed for Afghans. I don’t know why there is a difference between Afghans, Syrians and other Arabs, since we have been at war for years, while in Syria the war only began four years ago.  Many traveled illegally to the rest of Europe, but we have been living in the accommodation centre of Elliniko for a year and four months now.  I hope to see my brothers in Lebanon one day and be reunited with my entire family.

Finally, thank you for taking the time to read the story of a traveller.


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