SMIRNE - This is the story of Mohammad 26, with his wife Aia of 17 and Jasmine, born January 13 when they were already Syrian refugees in Turkey. A story now like many others. Yet exceptional in its details, as all the good stories are. And more with a good ending (at least for the moment, because their exodus is not finished).
We made it to the hamdurillah! , Mohammad smiled at us on Thursday by the new migrant reception center prepared by the Greek authorities on the island of Lesvos. For months they dreamed of the moment when they would come down from the dinghy on European soil. But there were tales of survivors of shipwrecks, almost 500 deaths drowned in the Aegean only from the beginning of the year until today. The blackmail of the smugglers, the joke of a stretch of water less than a dozen kilometers wide, yet so treacherous in old dinghies, with rusty engines, blackmail and the brutality of the smugglers.
They were afraid, they did not know if it was right to run the risk of crossing the sea together with Jasmine, who sleeps unaware and blissful in the arms of them, bundled up in blankets and dresses too heavy in the off-season heat. Typical of those who come from regions of desperation and death, where they try to avoid too great dangers to be faced realistically covering their children in an excessive way.
Thursday night they had to embark for Athens and from here look for a means to Macedonia and then the long, endless Balkan route to Norway, where there is a distant cousin of Aia who, they say two, promises to help us.
Try to imagine them, even looking at the photos and videos taken three days ago with them in the Hatuniye Parki square, in the ancient part of Smyrna, dominated by the Byzantine castle. A mandatory place to deal with smugglers. Low houses, five palm trees, small restaurants selling shawarma and falafel prepared like in Aleppo, the red walls of the Hotel Aslan and other similar inns that for 25 euros a night offer a bed (not a room). We usually sleep in the streets, but who has children and arrives in the winter at least the last night before following the smugglers tries to stay here. The price is exorbitant, it is part of the long chain of poor people who exploit poor people.