Through the eyes of a refugee

Yesterday, Tuesday 10.05.2017, class 9 was invited to come to Mladinski center in Zagorje to watch a play about refugees. Or at least that’s what we thought…

When we arrived there was a lady who gave us information about refugees and showed us some very impressive films about what is happening at the moment in Irak, Siria, Iran & Afghanistan. After that we got our identity card and some money and we already could feel that something was going to happen. On the identity card we could read our new name, our nationality and our life story. The conclusion was that we were a man on the run with his wife and three children, and the oldest one was sick. We wanted to go to Greece but we needed money for smugglers to take us. We had €1000,- each for the boat.

The lady left the room and the play started, with us as main actors. 7 or 8 people with masks, flashlights and pistols came into the room. They were screaming that they wanted all the stuff we had with us and they told (screamed) us that we had to give €1000,- otherwise we couldn’t get on the boat. We were a bit flabbergasted by the switch that the morning took in just a second. But we had no choice but to just play along with our smugglers. We got instructions about what to do and even more what not to do… After we had nothing more on us besides clothes we had to run to the boat and sit. The boat left in the middle of the night and with sounds they made it really realistic. It was dark, you could hear the water splashing around and babies were crying. After a while a door opened and we could see the daylight again. The police caught us and they brought us to a place were we would be separated. If you didn’t listen you would be immediately deported back to where you came from. (Of course I asked something because I don’t speak Slovene so I was one of the deported people.) For the rest of us, they had to get some sort of paper to get access to the main land and to continue their journey. What you see on the news, that volunteers want to give blankets and water to the refugees; even that was in the play. But the policemen wouldn’t let them trough to give it to us. The group that could continue the journey was taken away first, after that we (the deported group) could also leave the room and we were all taken back to the room where we started and the play was over. I think it all took about an hour but a very long and emotional hour.

Back in the room, a few players came and sat with us. Two actors were real life refugees from Iran and Irak. They told us about the life that they had before they ended up in Slovenia. How they have experienced way worse. Being in jail, beaten, starving, cold, afraid for the next day and even the next hour. That everyone sends you back to the previous country where you asked for asylum. And how happy they are to live in Slovenia now where it is save.

 

It was a lot to take in and a lot of different impressions at the same time. You really felt like a number instead of a human being. I think the actors who played the smugglers, the policemen, everyone, were really good and really real life! And then to imagine that the nervousness and insecurity we felt can be multiplied by the highest number thinkable and still it will not come close to what real refugees feel. It feels unreal and inhuman. And its happening right now, at this moment… I’m sure that the next time I watch the news or hear something about refugees, about the war that is going on at this moment, I will look at it with a different view. I wish that I will never know how it really feels like.