This film takes a look at an absurd moment of disbelief and fear. It examines the internal processes that develop and offers a visual depiction of a person forced into extreme circumstances- A moment of dislocation. We follow the protagonist through the beach in Greece, desert of Texas and forest of Slovenia and journey into his mind where the memories of his lost home slowly decay.
We invite you to explore the stories of people who’s lives have been dislocated- the stories of refugees and immigrants
Jude’s story (Nigeria)
We met Jude in Cyprus when we were helping Refugee Support set up their amazing Dignity Centre in the heart of Nicosia. A local church group were running a breakfast club for the refugees sleeping rough. Jude was one of these young men that you were just drawn to, he had only just arrived in Cyprus and was clearly tired,shaken and alone. Jude slept on the floor bf a church with over 30 others in a similar position. Conditions were not good but he was so grateful for the little he had been given and was appreciative of the hand of friendship the volunteers and local community was able to offer. This is Judes story as told to us -” I left Nigeria in March 2019 and after a long and tough journey finally arrived in Cyprus over a month later at the end of April. – I thank God I came through. Earlier around 6th to 8th March there were serious Boko Haram attacks in some of the major towns of Mafa, a local government area of Borno state. My family comprises of my parents and my three sisters who live in Mafa town in Borno state Nigeria. On that fateful day I was at my business place and both my parents should be at my home and my immediate younger sister went to work while my two kid sisters went to school.
Without any warning in a twinkle of an eye there was shooting everywhere, people running here and there and some houses were on fire. From my business place to my house was 30 minutes by foot. I ran home only to find out that the house was empty, everyone in the vicinity had also fled from their homes. I managed to escape the area and jumped into a drainage, I dislocated my left ankle but I kept running and hiding from one-spot to the other.The shooting was really heavy and a lot of people died in the process but God kept me safe. I ran into a man called Alhaji, who was one of my customers, he is a Muslim man and well connected and so offered to hide me. I hid for two weeks but I could not find my parents or my sisters even though I tried to phone them all every single day but nothing available on their phones, even till this day their phones are not available. Alhaji offered to help me leave • ‘Nigeria because there was no hope for me to stay alive, I had no choice than to accept his offer and after such tough travel found myself in North Cyprus where I was stranded for three weeks before after great difficulty managed to cross over to Republic of Cyprus where I hope to seek Asylum and safe life.”
Marwan Mahmood’s Story (GAZA)
We met Marwan and heard his story when we were volunteering in Cyprus where he is now a refugee .
My name is Marwan Mahmood I am 33 and was born and raised in Gaza. Since I was a young boy in Gaza all I ever wanted was to live in peace and to help bring an end to the violence and killing between the Palestinian and Israeli people. I am a committed peace activist and have participated in many events that has allowed me to befriend many like minded Israeli people who share my views and desires and are happy to work together and to share positive ideas and actions. When Hamas learned about my activities and my open friendship with the Israeli people I got arrested several times and became a target which resulted in me getting badly injured and then being treated at an Israeli hospital.
They did not want the outside world to know that there are many people here who want peace and want to live as friends with our neighbours. My ID papers got confiscated after my treatment in hospital and I realised It was not safe for me to return to my family in Gaza. Frightened for my safety I realised I had to seek asylum in Europe. With help from friends I found a way to get to Turkey via Jordan but due to close relations between Turkey and Hamas I was still not safe and the Turkish embassy blocked my visa into Europe. From Turkey I had to borrow funds to get to the Greek side of Cyprus. For the first time in years I feel safe here in Cyprus and in general the Cyprus people are friendly and welcoming to the many Refugees that are seeking refuge here. Daily life is tough however as I am not allowed to work and I could take as long as 18 months to go through the asylum procedure to hopefully gain full refugee status. We have nowhere to live and the social welfare allowance is not even enough to cover the minimum requirement for food and daily life. I am determined to continue my vital peace work in the future but for now I will give back to the people of Cyprus by volunteering for the local Red Cross who are very kind and helpful to other refugees.
Sharifa’s Story (AFGANISTAN)
This is Sharifa from Kabul, Afghanistan. Her 2 brothers and 1 younger sister are all in Sweden with their mother. Sharifa stayed in Kabul with her husband who worked for a politician. She completed 3 years of her Medicine degree at Kabul University before having to leave.
On Afghanistan: ‘Living in Afghanistan is impossible. Every day, every week there are bomb blasts, targets, criminal recourse. Even though Kabul is the capital city it is not safe.’
On leaving Afghanistan: ‘People wanted us… other people warned us of this so we escaped’. Friends of Sharifa’s let them know that bad people were coming for her and her husband. They fled in the night to Bamyan. She thought they would be safe there, but again they had to flee, this time at 4am to Kandahar. From there they applied for a visa to Iran and once approved were able to stay for 1 month. Still they were being chased, so after contact with her family in Sweden they decided to go to Turkey because ‘the UN was there and the UN would keep us safe’. However, in Turkey they spent 6 months waiting to have their asylum application considered so crossed into Greece over the Evros river. She and her husband were put in prison for 4 days before arriving in Katsikas and have now been here for 2 months. Sharifa has been told their interview for asylum will be in March 2020 so until then,they will stay in Katsikas camp.
On her future: ‘I had planned my future very well, but because of this situation I can’t.’ She hopes to reunite with her family in Sweden and finish her medical degree to become a doctor. ‘If there is an opportunity to study I will.’
On RSE: ‘RSE is so great – especially for me – we are so thankful for you, for supporting refugees. I like to come to the market everyday to see the volunteers’.
Because Sharifa’s English is so exemplary she is often a translator for the camp. Many people ask her to accompany them to the hospital so she can translate, especially the medical jargon. ‘Sometimes the people ask for help. I like to help them because I see they are not being welcomed here (in Greece).’
Payaman’s Story (KURDISTAN)
Payman is 20, from Kurdistan and speaks Kurdish, Arabic, English and Turkish. He has been on Katsikas camp for 5 months with his mother and 2 of his sisters. Before that they were 7 months in Moria camp.
His other sister is in Athens while his brother and father are still in Kurdistan.
He was a student in Duhok and at nights would help at his brother’s carpentry business
On leaving Kurdistan: ‘In Duhok – no jobs, no electricity, no gas. Fighting has finished but there is nothing. But nothing in Greece – no work. Only sleep.’
On Refugee Support ‘if not for Refugee Support there would be no food, where would we get food (from)? Refugee Support is very good – no worries about money, we can get food and have no problem. Every week when you give us points, it’s very good. Greece is crazy, they give us nothing, but here we have food – if not there would be pain everyday.’
When asked the question: Where in Europe do you want to go? His answer: ‘anywhere with football’.
On the future: he wants to go back to Kurdistan because his father and brother are there. His brother tried to escape but was put in prison by Turkish police for 20 days then got sent back to Kurdistan.
When asked about his dream job : ‘My dream is only to leave Greece, to get out’.
Pakbin’s Story (IRAN)
My name is Farzaneh Pakbin – or Katty – and I am an Iranian refugee located in Syria. I need to share my story while I am in Syria. I hope you will have some time to read my story. I have contacted many organisations – you can see me trying with my Twitter account – but it seems that nobody is listening to me.I am in Syria with my mother and my sister. We have been living here for 8 years. I paint and have a facebook page. We are Christian and we aren’t safe in Syria.We are still waiting to be resettled into another safe country. Here it is very dangerous as there is the war and we are very afraid. We are also disadvantaged due to our nationality and because we are three women.
Due to political reasons my father disappeared in Iran many years ago. We then decided to escape into another country and we arrived in Syria. When we escaped from Iran my sister was raped from some people of the Iranian regime.
At that time, I was studying to become a software engineer. However, I could not study in my country due to the Iranian regime.
We are now living in Syria as refugees. The UNHCR in Syria did not help us to resettle into a new and safe country. In 2011-2012 our case was accepted from: Canada, Belgium and Switzerland. It was an emergency case. However, we were not able to be resettled.
The medical report which certified that my sister was raped was lost by the UNHCR staff working in Syria. I discovered about this on the 23rd May of 2018 as the staff of the UNHCR said that they did not find the medical certificate. The proof of rape and torment was therefore lost. We are stuck here and we don’t know what will happen to us.
Here our life is terrible. We have been in this country for eight years and we have seen our friends and neighbours dying. Last March a child from Sudan, who was a refugee like myself, died. He was a member of our Christian church which is giving us some food to survive. He died on mother’s day. While all the children in the war celebrate mother’s day we see children who die.
In Syria we lost the place where we were living three times. Thus we had to sleep on the street. We could not use the toilet and we stayed 13 days begging on the street. When we asked for any help to the UNCHR in Syria we received threat and at times we were very scared. We experienced racism due to our nationality and we were afraid as we are women. Here women together with children are the most vulnerable.
When the war started in Syria we lived without electricity and water for weeks. We drank unhealthy water risking our lives many times. We were sick and insecure. We could not get access to medication and we could not see any doctor.
I saw dogs eating bodies of those who were dead on the street due to the war. We have called the UNHCR in Syria many times but they have never helped us.
We don’t have any residency Syrian card. Thus, we can’t work or study. We barely have food to eat. We can’t rent a house and we cannot even buy a Sim card.
We don’t have human rights.
Mohammed’s Story (SYRIA)
I grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria, which was bombed. Missiles and mortar killed my friends and burnt my home.
I never wanted to leave Syria, but I had no choice. I was arrested and tortured by the Regime for six months. It felt like 60 years. They hung me for three hour each day in a 1 x1 metre cell. I shared a cell with two other men; we had to sleep standing up because there wasn’t enough space. I thought I was dead. They accused me of being a rebel, but I had never fought in my life.
My shoulders cracked. I can’t even carry my child. When you enter interrogation, you are totally naked. People are dying and screaming in front of you. They hit me with electricity cables. But the most difficult part is the hanging. I was blindfolded and often lost consciousness.
When I finally came out of prison, I went home. But what I saw was incomprehensible. At each side of my town, militia were fighting each other with missiles. My wife was shot. Food was not available, and used as a weapon of war. My wife – Rania – was pregnant, but we lost our baby.
I had no choice but to leave. I carried my son the best I could, and my wife – who could barely walk because the bullet was still in her knee. We walked to Turkey, and eventually arrived in Greece. They call it ‘The Journey of Death.’
We had reached safety, but we were unprepared for what was to come.
After walking for two days, we were given a tent filled with rain. I had to use my only clothes to mop up the dirt. My son cried because it was so cold. Rats played inside the tent. My child didn’t understand why we had to leave. He developed a serious fever, but there was no ambulance and I had no money to transport him to the hospital. I walked for miles, and carried him on my cracked shoulders. Would we have been better off in Syria?
My family now live in a container in a field. I am an engineer, and my wife is a successful wedding photographer, but we are not allowed to work. I don’t want to live on handouts, but we have no choice. We are at the mercy of government policies, and must wait until December 2019 for our next interview to claim asylum.
I feel so much shame, that I can’t provide for my wife and son. I am humiliated. We are stuck; a number in a system.
Even if I get residency in Greece, I have no passport, so I can’t visit my sister in Turkey or mother who is still trapped in Syria. There is also no work here. I don’t want anything from this life, I am not asking for money, housing or clothes. All I want is to secure a dignified life for my wife and son. I want to sweat, and work for their future. We are strong, we have survived pain only Syrians can understand. But, I need a new kind of strength: hope.
I miss my family. I haven’t seen them in three years. My brother is still imprisoned by the Regime, I pray he is alive. Why is it my sin, that I was born in Syria? Born as a Palestinian with no rights, no identity?
In the name of my family, I appeal to anyone who will listen. Is it not our right to sleep on a bed? Buy our own food? Protect our children from falling bullets?
Who knows. I sit in my container, waiting…and waiting. Trapped. Helpless.
It is not our right to live too?
Ragida’s Story (SYRIA)
Ragida is 24 and her daughter Elena was born last week by C-section in a Greek hospital. She is married to Moayyed, aged 28, and they have another son called Haji who is 1 year old. They are from Raqqa where Moayyed was a stonemason and have been refugees for just over a year. The fighting and bombing was intense and getting worse so they had to leave when she was heavily pregnant with her son Haji. They made the journey to Turkey in about 10 days and immediately crossed the Med in a dinghy with other refugees. Ragida said she wanted to make the journey while pregnant because her baby would be safer inside her and she was afraid that he would die if she was holding him. She had Haji by C-section just 4 days after arriving on Lesbos Island.
That was a difficult time and Haji was not well so after 15 days they were transferred to Athens where they stayed in an apartment for 7 months. They liked it there because they were in the city and made friends but they had to share the apartment with another family and had no privacy. So they came to LM Village about 5 months ago.
Because her first son was born by C-Section she was booked in to the local Greek hospital to have her daughter by Caesarian. That was a confusing and worrying time because she was there for 5 days and the doctors could not tell her when they were going to operate. After 3 days they fully prepped her for the operation and then postponed it for another 2 days. She is in pain following the operation but is not allowed to take painkillers and is unsure why that is. Despite all this confusion, she is doing well and Elena is healthy.
From the photos you can see what an adoring and caring mother Ragida is. We spoke to her in her home while she was resting in bed with her new baby sleeping in her lap. Her husband is very attentive and is not allowing her to do anything while she recovers from the birth.
They want to get their leave to remain so that Moayyed can get a job and earn a living. They think that is difficult in Greece because there is an economic crisis.
Noor’s Story (SYRIA)
I’m a father and a mother to my children now. I am learning English. I study every day. If I am able to learn English, I hope to finish my studies and get a job. I want a future for my children. When traveling on foot with my four children over the mountains from Syria to Turkey, it took three or four days. It was hard because my youngest was very, very young and I had to carry her, and my bags. It was very difficult. The mountain was very difficult. It was raining, and we would fall down, get back up, fall down and get back up. I think that was physically the hardest part.” Noor, mother of four.
“We got to the Macedonian border in March. We waited for a month, hoping it would re-open. We were sleeping in one small tent. It wasn’t like this camp here; it was just out in the open. There was no protection from the police like there is here. There was no support. I was scared to sleep at night in case one of my children would wake up needing the toilet and get lost, fall in the sea, or be snatched by a stranger. I was so scared there. At least this place offers protection and our basic needs. But I am scared of how they will cope this winter.
“I lost my husband. I am afraid to lose any of my children and I just want a good future for my children.” Noor, mother of four.
Shir’s Story (AFGANISTAN)
I was born in Kabul. My mother was a teacher and my father was a military doctor. I graduated from Kabul University and started working at an international organization. But the situation in my home country became very dangerous. I decided to leave because I wanted to save my life and my family. It’s really hard to talk about. Most of my friends are still stuck in a difficult situation in Afghanistan.
I saved my life and the lives of my wife and my children but nothing can replace my original country. It’s like your mother. Your mother cannot be replaced. I miss Afghanistan and I worry about what is going on there still. People are killed every day. I hope something will be changed.
Now I live in Budapest with my family. I have refugee status which means I can be a permanent resident of Hungary for all my life. We were lucky because we got support from the Migration Service so we could start our simple life. I think migrants shouldn’t rely on others to come out of their situations. If your life isn’t safe you have to try to start a new life on your own. We did that. In the past 3 years my daughters learned Hungarian perfectly. They go to school and my wife works at a kindergarten. We’re gradually integrating into society.
Hungary is a nice country. Life is easy here. I really like the weather. I’m a very emotional person, I don’t like it when it’s always cloudy. When I came to Budapest and I was amazed by the old buildings. There are a lot of surprises everywhere, for every bridge, for every building, there is a very interesting history behind it.
But there are some problems. We‘re a little bit different from other people and we feel some discrimination. But if people know you, that you’re a normal person, their opinions can be changed very easily.
There is a big issue with the Roma minority here. People’s first reaction is that they assume that we’re Roma. And they show this. It’s visible from their attitude that they’re not happy to see us. I knew about this issue before I came to Hungary and I used to be quite angry about this but after I moved here my opinion has changed and I can see that it’s a very difficult situation. Roma people are also sometimes hostile towards Hungarians. They have a dissagreement between each other and this can only be changed slowly.
It’s important to be polite and kind. This can change things so much. If you start speaking politely to someone that person can change even in just a few seconds. If you say bad things, naturally, you get back something bad. So do it for yourself. This is for your own benefit. I teach my children the same way. It doesn’t matter where you come from I respect everyone as human beings.
Abdi’s Story (SYRIA)
Abdi left his home in Mogadishu in 1992, when he was only 12 years old. He went to Kenya with his sister after his father died in the war and his mother chose to stay in Somalia.
Spending most of his life in Kenya, Abdi says he feels like more of a Kenyan than a Somali.
Abdi and his sister lived in Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya. “We lived the normal refugee life,” Abdi says. “We often had to go to school with no shoes and barely one meal a day.”
In 2005, Abdi moved to Nairobi where he got to finish his schooling and earn a college degree in human resources with the support of a scholarship. However, after graduation he found it hard to find a job, particularly given his uncertain legal status.
He worked casual jobs and eventually opened a small shop selling vegetables and fruits. In 2014, he had to return to Dadaab but ended up finiding his way back to Nairobi.
After a while, unable to return to Somalia and finding it increasingly difficult to stay in Nairobi, Abdi applied and was granted resettlement assistance.
Abdi is now moving to Portland, Oregon, a world away from the dangers of Mogadishu. He has friends there and will get sponsored by a catholic charity when he arrives.
He is eager to start his new life, seeing many possibilities ahead of him, and has already started researching possible employers.