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We are not animals

We are not animals

  • Safa and Narjes live in Vial, we live in our bubble

In the coffee shop
The coffee shop is teeming with uncles sipping coffee and watching the news, either mumbling aloud or whispering. “What solution? Like they can come up with one… You wanna hear mine? Don’t let them waste their time at the fire range, just send them on a sea patrol, have them fire a couple of shots on the inflatable before it crosses the border and you’re not gonna see any more of them ever again. Oh, and the caring youngsters, talking solidarity hogwash.”

At home
Two pictures tacked up on the fridge; Safa’s picture from Palestine says Merry Christmas; the other one, misspelling something like love you much sir, with a Greek flag and Santa Claus, belongs to Narjes from Afghanistan.

In Vial
Every morning, children show up for classes after spending the night in the freezing cold. They learn Greek, alpha for alogo (horse), vita for vatrahos (frog), going through the days of the week, kicking the ball, making puzzles. When the sun sets, they go back to their tent, and it’s zero degrees Celsius in there. In the morning, they carry rocks to make a path joining the tents to spare themselves from having to tread in the mud, then they carry water to their tent before going out again to get logs for the fire.

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Going to school offers them a break from all this savagery; they turn out in muddy clothes. People run into them calling them dirty, watch them on the news treating them as numbers; the kids smile and greet them. Many people consider them illegal invaders while others come right out with the wish that the boat that got them here had sunk.

In the coffee shop
“Hey, Maria, will you fire the stove? It’s freezing in here.”

Translated into English by Nikos Loutraris

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