I wish I had two wings so I could migrate and not money…

Hello, my name is Mustafa and I would like to tell you about my life. In August 2021 my country was taken over by the Taliban. Life and everyday life became difficult for many.

I, as well as many young people, were forced to leave the country to avoid arrest. I had to go to Iran, but through illegal means. I walked for about ten days until I reached Iran. I managed to arrive and with great difficulty I found a place to live and work (unfortunately illegally). So, I worked at a construction site and I realized that my life was in danger by the frequent police patrols. I was afraid that if I were caught, I would be deported back to Afghanistan. Then I decided to go to Turkey. I thought Turkey was a safe place to work and have a better life. I contacted a smuggler to take us illegally to Turkey.

Three days later we set off for the border. As soon as we arrived on Turkish territory, we were arrested by police authorities, and we could not escape. As a result, we were detained at the border. The police authorities treated us in an inhuman way, as they stripped us, took all our personal belongings and beat us. The next morning we were sent back to Iran.

I had to try three times to make it to Turkey and after I succeeded, I made my way to a village near the border. I spent the whole day hiding. At night, along with the others who were with me, we boarded a car and were taken to the city of Van. We had finally made it. The driver left us at a rundown house. Unfortunately, some thieves broke in and took all of our belongings, yet we managed to get to Istanbul after twenty days. We didn’t know anyone there and had a lot of trouble with the language. We realized that if the police caught us in Istanbul they would force us to return to Afghanistan.

After some time, we decided with some friends that the best solution for us was to migrate to Greece. Hence, at night we set off for Evros. When we reached the border we inflated a raft and were ready to set sail for Greece. When we managed to cross the Greek border the police authorities arrested us, took us to a military base in the area, stripped us and beat us. The next morning, they sent us back to Turkey. We walked without shoes until we reached a village in Turkey.

A month later our efforts failed again as we were caught once more by the police at the border. We were stripped and beaten. We were basically wearing only a pair of shorts. Can you imagine?

So, we were sent back to Istanbul and after month-long attempts we managed to cross the Greek border. We walked for twenty-five days until we made it to Thessaloniki. Now I have everything I want. A roof, friends, I go to school and I am learning the Greek language.

I wish I had two wings so I could migrate and not money…

Dedicated to the readers of this text.

Mustafa A.

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