My name is Hamed. This is my poem. I am from Afghanistan, in Kabul. I worked with the US Army as an interpreter. When the American troops left Afghanistan, the lives of all the interpreters were in danger. Many times we were threatened by the Taliban. I made it to safety in Switzerland and volunteer with Their Story is Our Story to help gather and share the stories of others forced to flee.
A small part of me imagined what that kind of high-stakes limbo must feel like. I saw their faces waiting in forgotten spaces all over Paris. A lucky few had secured apartments, but they were also in limbo, not knowing if they would be reunited with loved ones or if they would be deported back to the unresolved violence in their home countries.
Not until recently did I realize others had views about the ocean diametrically opposed to mine — not until I met Zarrin, a refugee our NPO, Their Story Is Our Story, interviewed in Greece.
Their tone shifts the instant they get to the part about crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece. The part about WATER. Many of our refugee friends grew up in landlocked regions. Water activities are nowhere part of their culture. No one we have interviewed knew how to swim.