For thousands of migrants coming to Greece from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Victoria Square in central Athens, will be their home until they find money and papers to start their journey to Northern Europe.
The refugees that have flooded the square and its surrounding streets, mainly Afghans, remain stranded in Athens for weeks waiting for authorities to help them get necessary documentation and for relatives to send them money to continue their journey.
Gathered either in families, or in groups of men, women and children, migrants spend most of their time sitting under the hot Athenian sun. The journey for Aghans, who are fleeing their war-torn country, is extremely long. Poorer than the Syrian refugees, and with their country being less in the news lately, they claim that authorities pay less attention to them.
As a result, their stay in each country is much longer than that of the Syrians, explains an Afghan refugee.
“In my country, Afghanistan, we have a war for 13 years! For 13 years!” one of the undocumented immigrants cried out. “My country is a war zone, an area extremely dangerous for somebody to live in. Because violence, conflicts and murders of civilians are everyday occurrences,” the migrant added.
“We are all refugees, I don’t understand why they treat us differently!”
The atmosphere is suffocating but calm, peaceful, in stark contrast with the memories that these human souls carry within them. Poverty though remains the same.
Fortunately, there are several local residents, as well as others living in the broader area that come to share bags with food and clothes with the members of this suffering population in an effort to provide them with all the supplies they need for their temporary stay in Greece.