Adaševci, October 25 – Hamed is 33 years old and has spent majority of his life as a refugee. 25 years ago, he escaped with his family from Afghanistan, and since then he has been searching for shelter. Now, in the reception center in Adasevci, he is among people with a similar fate.
I will never giver up on living in Europe, he says, I will try for the rest of my life.
His mother, brother and sister are in Holland. His wife in Austria. He is just outside the doors of Europe. And is full of hope.
His bitter refugee story began over a quarter of a century ago.
He was born in a small town in the east of the country. When he was eight years old his family was fleeing from a country where angry conflicts and the Taliban’s terror prevailed. They stayed in Pakistan for five years, and then went on to Iran. They lived there for ten years. Roughly.
– “It’s not easy to be an Afghan in Iran”, but Hamed doesn’t explain. He suffered so much that he does not build on it. He does not speak about how after ten years of living in Iran they arrived in Turkey. He only speaks of the days and years ate up by locusts. Two months in Turkey. Then they cross the sea to Greece.
-We sought asylum there. We waited three years, but the answer never came. My father in the meantime, grew old. He started thinking about where he would die. He was already 80 years old, and did not have more time for a new life. He was scared he would never see Afghanistan again. And he went back. He did not let my mother go with him. He said to her – you go with the kids.
We went separate ways. We continued to norther Europe.
Hamed in that moment was 26 years old and decided to separate from his family. His mother, brother and sister head to Holland, and he, towards Norway. They received asylum, Hamed was not as lucky. After six years of trial, he was officially rejected and deported to Afghanistan in December 2015.
As an argument, it is stated that in Kabul (Hamed is not from Kabul) is safe and he can live there.
-I can not understand that, shrugging his shoulders – I was in the country for six years. I learned the language, integrated myself, knew the whole system, had a job, and they sent me back. I returned to the country that I hardly remember.
He stayed in his home country for only six months. He ran away again. This time, with Emin, a distant cousin he is marrying and her child from her first marriage. Along the journey he traveled once before, he crossed into Serbia in June of this year.
They were in Krnjaca, and at the end of June they crossed into the Hungarian border. Hamed once again, was not as lucky. Hungarians uncovered that he had been deported from Norway and sent him back to Serbia. His wife Emin, and her child continued onwards.
-They are in Austria now. They entered the asylum procedure. I’m trying to join them. I tried to cross the border illegally eight times. They grabbed me, beat me, unleashed dogs on me and sent me back. But I do not give up. I can not give up. I still have 92 attempts. Somehow I imagined that I would succeed in the next 100 attempts.
It does not accept our suspicion that it will be difficult to succeed in staying in Norway, that it is a country that does not accept any more refugees: “No it is not so, it’s a good country, it’s brave – Maybe I just do not have luck in my life. How else can I explain that I have been deported from Norway and from Hungary…Maybe they are deporting me to Macedonia now? Maybe its up to me?” he says resistantly and with sadness but calmly. His identity of the experience gathered during the 25 years of life without a homeland is also present on his expression. He behaves like a man who “saw the world and met many people”. He constantly encourages his wife and tells her to live her life while waiting for him
– Let her take from life what it is offering her. Life has not offered anything to her so far. I do not let her worry about me. He talks with love and understanding like a man who has discovered and loved another world and shows us a photo of a beautiful woman who is dressed very modernly. He explains: I made her take off the hijab, I encourage her to act like a European. She tells me she goes to language courses and wants to go to the gym because I told her how women in Norway act…
Hamed had nothing left but to believe that his refugee journey will finally come to an end. He will live in a world he has loved and whom he believes he belongs to. He does not want to listen to the conclusions of international conferences on Afghanistan, the funds allocated to repair the infrastructure in country, as a way to stop migration, about the announcement of the deporatation of about 100,000 of his compatriots from Europe.
He had began his journey long ago, and says he no longer knows how to return.