Interview with Milad in Sweden

Milad, 17, is from Afghanistan. We met the first time in summer 2009 in front of the Infopoint, a circus tent in Mytiline at the island of Lesvos. It was the time of Noborder, when Milad had just done his first step on European ground. His shoes were still salty from the trip with the small boat. Some days later he was captured in the harbour when he tried to save his fingerprints and to escape unregistered from the island. They brought him and his friends to Pagani, the big detention centre. He was part of the revolts that gave the last kick to shut down this place and was released after their cell got burnt down, after 2 months of prison. His narration on Noborder and the revolts in Pagani have been published.

Dublin II means they play football with us, shooting us from one country to another, playing with us and wasting our time.

Four days after this talk, he was deported back to Greece from Italy. He even did not have the chance to leave the ship. He was then imprisoned in Arta/Greece for another 10 weeks. He was still on his way to Norway and so he went directly into the next truck after his release. One day later he was imprisoned again. This time in Macedonia. He hurt himself very badly to get out of there after another 10 weeks of prison. He was captured again in Hungary in a very cold night in February. It was in Hungary when he said the first time that he feels a little bit tired of all this. It was the first time that his trust to reach Norway and to be safe there was shattered. He had applied for asylum in Hungary. He said he felt too powerless and too tired to stand the prison for another unknown period of time, although he feared now that his deportation to Hungary was even more risky than to Greece. He felt the Dublin II trap for the first time. He was not able to stay in Hungary, where as he says: The conditions to have less than nothing drives the people to rob the one besides him. He finally reached Norway some months ago. When he got to know that he would be deported to Hungary he fled to Sweden. The interview was made via telephone in June 2010.

w2eu: Hey Milad, how are you? And: where are you?

Milad: I’m in Sweden now. Near to Orebro in a camp for refugees. It is a very small camp for minors and the people here are kind. Nice place, television and everything. We are only 10-11 guys here, all of them underage. It is really nice for one week, two weeks. But actually we are wasting our time here. And it is very far from the city – far from society. We are not in fact imprisoned. We can go to the city. But it is 20-30 kilometre far. Too far to walk every day.

w2eu: What about your future in Sweden?

Milad: Actually I don’t know. I have a big problem called Dublin. I have a little hope because Sweden is a little better than Norway or Denmark. That’s why I came here. But already they found my fingers and I am waiting for the answer. I have a little, little hope. I wait what they will decide about me. It’s not sure yet, if they will deport me to Hungary.

w2eu: There have been reports about people who have hurt themselves in Sweden out of fear to get deported. Have you heard about this?

Milad: Yes, it is a big problem about Dublin II. It is a little better here, because they will not send the minors back to Greece from Sweden. But to the rest of the countries Sweden will send all the people back if they have there fingers. Last week I heard that in Malmoe one guy, he closed his mouth with string and needle. He had been in hospital after this. They want to deport him back to Hungary where he got fingered. He has some problems there. I am not allowed to share the details. I’m sorry about this. But I know about it and I take it very serious. He is really afraid to go back there.

w2eu: Are there more guys with you who have these kinds of problem with Dublin?

Milad: Here with me there is one other guy. He is travelling trough Europe since two years now because of this Dublin.

w2eu: What do you think could be done against these Dublin-deportations?

Milad: It is difficult. I think we cannot do anything. We really need help of the people actually. We alone cannot do anything. Maybe a group, a political group. Maybe NGOs or social workers. Maybe they can help us. Our voice… really, nobody is listening to us! I mean to us refugees. I don’t know too much, but I know that you know people, who can do something.

Actually we all had a hope, when we came here from different countries. They are playing with us and they are trying to break our hopes. Maybe after some time like this, we will become crazy. I cannot explain, but I am sure something bad is going to happen to us. After some time, when they will still do the same with us. When they play football with us. They are shooting us to other countries. It’s the same like we are a football, shot from one country to another country. Just playing with us and wasting our time.

We came here and honestly, we need help! Nobody is listening to us. And there is nothing to do for us. We are isolated in this Dublin II system.

w2eu: Yesterday you said to me that the conditions to fight, they are really different than in Pagani, in Greece. In the first detention prison you got to know in Europe. Can you explain it?

Milad: In Greece with the protests and the revolts and fire inside the prison we had a direct result. We were released. In here it is much more difficult. We should do something else. But I don’t know: what should we do? We cannot do the same thing, which we have done in Greece. In here, we must manage that they will really understand our situation. They must feel our problems.

w2eu: Have you ever heard that here – I mean here in Germany – there has been a long period of struggles of refugees who are fighting against what is called the residential law and against the isolated ‘Lager’, the refugees call them jungle camps. And they say: The first thing is: we have to break this isolation. Before we cannot struggle.

Milad: I don’t know much about the situation like this. It is the first time I face this kind of isolation and they are giving us the hope that we will be here only for a short time and they will find a flat in the city for us. I hope it will not be permanent. This isolation is hard. It is the easiest way to make the guys crazy. It is really so difficult when you don’t know about your future. I don’t even know about next month. What will be going on with me in 20 days? I’m always thinking about this. And to be honest, I am suffering. It is not the first time to suffer. I am in this insecure situation since more than 10 months now. I know others, who are in the same condition for one year, two or three years. I don’t know how they can stand this. There is one guy here, he almost applied in every European country, but nobody accept him. He starts applying the second time in the same country, because there is no country left.

What is going on with our lives, what will happen with us in the future? It is a really big problem. If somebody has been suffering once in this condition, he will understand. It is the big problem. The second problem is: we cannot move anywhere else. We have no family here. Everybody here has a different problem. In places like here it is very difficult to stay. They are really wasting our time here. After months and months they will anyway give the same useless negative answer. Everybody can become mad and crazy in this situation. They break your hopes and waste your time. You must start the illegal travelling once again after months. It is easy to become mad.

w2eu: What is the problem with Hungary?

Milad: Everybody does as if all European countries are the same. But it is not true. Greece and Hungary I have seen, and they are not like other European countries. In other European countries they have a special treatment for the minors for example. Not in Greece and in Hungary. They treat us all the same. When you get deported from any other country you will be imprisoned and nobody can say how long. I have also personal problem, why I cannot return. There is somebody… I am sorry I cannot explain deeply. The camp is not a real camp. You do not feel you are in Europe.

w2eu: What has to change, that you will feel respected?

Milad: Oh, there are so many things that have to be changed! They must start to try to understand and to think about the problems. We have to change the whole rule of Dublin. If someone is going to die, they don’t care. They just care about this rule. But what are the rules for? Are they made to kill the people? To make us all crazy? I think this rule is really made to make the people crazy. To send the people back in Greek prisons, back in Hungarian prisons. This rule, it really must be stopped. Sometimes I think I have to go back to Afghanistan because it could be at least better than Hungary. But I cannot survive there also! My hope is depending on one signature. Somebody sitting somewhere in an office. If they will accept me here it is okay. Otherwise I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know who will it be, who will decide about my future, somewhere in his office.

It is not only me. There are so many guys. They have a hope. If there is somebody who listens, if there is somebody in Europe who is really understanding: I think if the migration officers they are not understanding, there has to be others who make them understand. And if they can, they must help us. Thank you, I am really happy that somebody listens to our problems.

w2eu: Thank you for talking with us!

About w2eu

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The name Welcome to Europe expresses the discontent and anger we feel when looking at the fatal realities of the European external border: the long documented deaths and suffering have continued for years, and no end is in sight. We stand for a grassroots movement that embraces migration and wants to create a Europe of hospitality.


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Voices from the Inside of Pagani (2009)

Watch the video