Tracing the footsteps: A diary of the project III: “Portraits-1, Thessaloniki”

The third part of the travelogue by Özge Çelikaslan and Alper Şen of Artıkişler Collective is entitled “Portraits-1, Thessaloniki”. It includes the stories and narratives of migrants living in “Solidarity house”, an old house in Thessaloniki built by the Ottomans that was occupied by anarchist groups in order to establish a residency for migrants. In “Solidarity house" the residents are living and working collectively. “Portraits-1, Thessaloniki” is a collection of comments from a conversation Özge Çelikaslan and Alper Şen had with Omar from Syria:
"I have nothing in Syria”

“I have no family in Syria. They all died. I have no home to stay. Our house was blasted…The war in Syria started right after the events in Deraa. I was 13-14 years old at that time. The students were marching for freedom in the school. Then the police came, caught these kids and tortured them. In the meantime, one of the kids was killed. After that, the kid’s relatives rallied. The police attacked them again and people were killed again. The rallies spreaded to Aleppo, Homs and other cities.”

“Then everything became a mess…The war expanded…ISIS came up. People staying in Syria have no food, no water, the electricity was cut off. Many people went to Jordan and Turkey. Many of them tried to run away by paying money but now they are waiting on the border.”

“I also decided to run away from Syria on 2015. First I went to Jordan. Then to Turkey… I stayed in Istanbul in Turkey and then passed to Izmir. From there we passed to Laros by boats. Then we received our papers and went to Athens. When we arrived to the border it is closed. Then I came to Thessaloniki. I have been staying here in this occupied house for 4 months. I was planning to go to Germany, I didn’t want to stay in Greece. I took the road to go to Germany. I have a relative there.”

“I have nothing in Syria. There is no meaning to go back…Maybe I can study in Germany or I can work. I have a permit here for 6 months. Either we apply for asylum or we will be sent back to Turkey. There are some smugglers offering to take away to Germany but they ask too much money…”

The series of diaries entitled "Portraits" will be continued…

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