The unknown creates evil.
The unknown creates false realities.
The unknown produces fear.
I’m sick of seeing all the negative things that surround the refugees. It shames me to say that even I, someone who refuses to believe everything I read, even I was subconsciously influenced. The typical photo of dirty, exhausted and extremely poor people was embarrassingly the image I had of refugees. That was until I went and saw for myself.
I left my Airbnb accommodation and got the 10am bus from Mytilene to the Moria village. As I was getting off there were two men, late thirties, well dressed in a basic t-shirt and shorts, one of them carrying an envelope. I thought I heard one of them asking the bus driver for directions to the camp and so I stopped and started to talk with them.
Only one could speak English. They were from Iran and I just assumed they were here to help in regards to a charity, perhaps translating or were simply journalists. We talked and made basic communication while they showed me a short cut to the camp through the trees. They knew where they were going. Anyway, as we were arriving to the big metal gates that enclosed the camp they stopped.
“You can’t come any further, only refugees are allowed beyond this point.”
I was stunned. I didn’t know what to say. All this time wanting to talk to refugees and know their stories and I’d just spent 10 minutes walking through a forest with people that seemed more like engineers than refugees.
This is my point precisely. Stop looking at the news with these “poor families from Syria” images which the majority of people do not relate to. These people are just like you and I. Granted, there will be people who had nothing in Syria but the majority of people that I came across were mothers, engineers, students, ex military, programmers. The list goes on and on.
There was one guy who use to have his own fashion company, fashion was and is his life. He was the typical guy we see nowadays on British streets, his hair, his beard, his skinny jeans, so much so that I caught him with one of the girls who runs the pop up cafe outside the camp. He was using her tweezers to pluck his beard to make it perfectly straight, not one hair out of line. I can still see it now, with his mini mirror. It really did reiterate the fact that we are all the same. If these people previously had been photographed in their normal lives without their country of origin, they could easily have been mistaken for European natives.
Stop allowing fear of the unknown, fear of differences, affect the way we treat these people. I know the media is constantly reporting horrific things but this is not the majority. I did not meet one person who in the slightest voiced negative views towards Europe. If anything they expressed how much they hated their own leaders. Europe was never part of the conversation other than a safe haven.
Please watch the video below and see for yourself how I celebrated Eid (Muslim Christmas) with three of them. I felt like I was out having food with my friends. Although they wouldn’t let me pay for a thing. My friends make me pay my part!
It was horrible when the night ended, knowing that I had my private room to go back to while they had to go back to sleeping on the floor in the dry heat with thousands of people.
Life can be unfair, don’t allow fear to make it even worse.
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