Voices of Young Male Refugees. Samos July 2017

“We presented a detailed case of our situation to the Asylum Service. We told them of the tragedies we experienced in Aleppo and why we had to leave. We wrote about the difficulties we faced as gay lovers both in Syria and in Turkey and that we wanted to stay together. The Asylum Service rejected this report and told us that if we had a gay marriage then it would be different. We want to get married. But where? Syria, Turkey? That’s impossible. Why do they say this?” (Syrian 22 years)

“The psychologist asked to see me and said she could help my case. I spoke to her for 30 minutes. Then she said can’t help me. She isn’t a psychologist who helps people with problems. Her job is just to write a report. Why did she let me talk for so long when she knew she couldn’t do anything for me.” (Syrian 23 years)

“I had a good relationship with the psychologist. I was seeing her once a week. Then last week when I went to see her she told me not to come again. There was nothing she could do and she was very busy. I am confused. What did I do? (Moroccan 24 years)

‘You live in this house but it is not your home. You are not the boss. We decide everything’. (UNCHR housing service).

“I have just come from the UNCHR office and they told me that they have all my details and that they will call me when they have news. Why do they lie to me. They don’t have my number and they never asked for it. “ (Syrian, 33 years)

“ They want us to accept everything. We must be happy with anything they give us. If we complain we are seen as difficult. I have been given a bed in an attic bedroom. I was very happy to move out of the camp where I was bullied everyday. But I can’t breathe in this room. It is so hot. It is an oven. They told me if I didn’t like it then I should go back to the camp.” (Syrian, 19 years)

“When I got to Athens I found that my paper was not correct. The Asylum Service had forgotten to add a signature. My lawyer told me that they make this mistake many times on Samos. I was frightened about what would happen to me if the police checked my papers in Athens. So I came back to Samos.” (Syrian 23 years)

“My Somalian wife was 9 months pregnant and we needed help. We went to many refugee services in Athens. We went early in the morning but there were always lots of refugees already waiting outside the offices. We would often wait hours outside. It was very hard for my wife. Most of these organisations had security guards to keep us outside and were not friendly. We were treated like cattle. Then when we got inside and we found people who were useless. ‘We know nothing’; ‘We can’t help’ ‘Do you want to see a lawyer?’ I was so angry. I told them you take refugee money. You live from our backs. But you do nothing for us. So many of these people tell us that they are new on the job which is why they can’t help us. But we need people who can do the job. Why do we get this?” (Algerian, 36 years)

“I hear what you are saying about the long lines of cars parked up by the camp (over 100 yesterday). I think there are around 300 people now working in the camp. But we have a big problem. It is very Greek. There is no organisation and no leadership. Many of the workers are appointed through Government schemes where social criteria are used. This is often positive but so many lack any skills and without some one to draw up work plans and support they do nothing. Many of the contracts are short term and sometimes wages are delayed. These are not jobs that many people want.” (NGO co-ordinator, Samos)

“ We know about the cell in the police station. They use it to threaten us. Last week I spent a night there because they said I was rude to a policeman in the camp. This was my punishment. I am 16 years old”. (Pakistani boy)

“No idea. I know nothing about Ramadan and nothing about Eid.”

(Care worker in home for minors of whom over half were observing the fast. Eid was 2 days later).

“Why me? Why me? This is the question which never goes away; night or day. I can never relax. I never feel safe. All those I came to Samos with have now left for Athens. There is just me still on Samos. Why me? What have I done?” (Syrian 24 years)

“I went to a hairdresser in the town and told to leave. ‘We don’t cut hair of refugees.” (Afghani 27years)

“Nobody stops to give me a ride. I have been walking for over three hours [from Karlovassi to Samos Town). You are the first to stop. Thank you.” (Moroccan 24 years)


One response »

  1. Dear Chris, Tony and Sofiane, Just to say thank you once again for this and the other post recently. Mary and I are coming to Samos, usual place. I arrive on 24 July and am booked to stay till 30 Sept (at least!). Mary will go to Georgia with the grownup kids until 7 Aug when she comes to Samos.

    We would of course love to see you all and would be available to help you with your work.


    Stephen and Mary


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