Aziz’s Story, Greece

Photo by Christos Tolis/2014.

Photo by Christos Tolis/2014.

Aziz* was 10 when he witnessed his father getting killed in Afghanistan. Together with his older brother, sister and mother, they had to run for their lives. Aziz and his brother went to Iran.

“The day we left, we cried and cried but we couldn’t stay in Afghanistan any more. At the time, I thought we would return back one day. I didn’t expect my life would take that turn. We lived in Iran for three years, paperless, penniless and experiencing intense racism. My brother then decided to send me to a European country, where things would be ‘better’. I crossed the sea to Lesvos Island, Greece and then reached Athens. During that journey, I lost my most valuable possession: my father’s ring which was the only thing I had to remind me of him.

I am now 23 and have been living in Greece for seven years already. I see my life getting worse day by day. How many years can a person live without a future? I applied for asylum in 2008 and never received any notification. I have no papers, no home, no job. I have tried to leave but without success. I don’t expect anything anymore. The problems have made me lose my mind.

As if all these weren’t enough, in late May this year, I got beaten at the street. I had just arrived in Athens from Igoumenitsa port after another failed attempt to reach Italy. It was 3.30 a.m. and was heading to a friend’s house. Five men suddenly surrounded me and started hitting me on the face. I got dizzy and fell down but they kept kicking me. Then they saw I was not moving and took off. My nose was broken and my eye got all swollen up. At the hospital they said I was lucky they didn’t draw a knife. I can’t stay here anymore. I want to go somewhere where there are laws. If they killed me that night, nobody would do a thing.

What despairs me the most is that I cannot help my mother. I hear she is sick and very worried for me while my brother is still in Iran unable to help. If my life weren’t in danger in Afghanistan, I would go back in a minute.”


(*name changed for protection reasons.) 

The assault against Aziz, took place in May 2014, and has been recorded by the Greek Racist Violence Recording Network.

Text by Elisavet Nazli/2014.

1 family torn apart by war is too many

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