Sam’s Story, Greece


Photo by A. Kitidi/2014

Sam was 17 years old, when he fled Kunduz in Afghanistan. He soon realized that the road to Greece was only riddled with obstacles. However, after the murder of his parents, who were killed simply because they were musicians, the need to save his life, and the lives of his younger brothers gave him the strength to endure the journey on foot, the lack of money and shelter, the bandits and smugglers he came across. Nonetheless, nothing could have prepared him for the shock he experienced on the streets of Athens.

“One night in October 2013, I was returning home from music practice – I enjoy playing the drums. Suddenly, a group of 15 people ganged up on me and asked where I was from. “Afghanistan,” I replied while extending my hand to greet them. They only responded with kicks and blows to my head. It was terrifying. I lost consciousness and fell on the pavement, until a sturdy African passer-by helped me up and carried me home. He explained to me that this racist group enjoys brutalizing dark-skinned foreigners.

For me, one of the greatest challenges facing society, the government, and organizations like UNHCR, is combating hate. I wish that all could understand this: we are forced to flee our homes, we’re not coming here to cause trouble. I wish they could understand we’re all human beings, living under the same sky.”


Text by K. Kitidi

1 family torn apart by war is too many

Learn more about our work with refugees at