A poem by Parwana Amiri

Parwana Amiri is an author, poet and activist from Afghanistan who is living in Greece since September 2019. Her poetry may seem softly written, but it contains hidden stories and bitter truths. With her work, she challenges the power of art and poetry to convey these bitter truths of the times. This poem focuses on fire, which has been a strong reason for vulnerability for a long time in all refugee camps, especially those in Greece. It tells the story of refugees after the fire attack in Moria and their conditions after the fire. We have been burning in this fire silently for a long time, but we want to end it, by standing together, asking for freedom.

Illustration by Joana Maria Neves.

“In this illustration I wanted to focus on the warm and coziness the fire brings. It’s already such a chaotic world that I wanted to remember some peace of mind.”

A fire

It does not only burn into ashes

It does not only destroy

It does not only kill

A fire….

It can make light to see

It can guide in the darkness

It can warm in the cold

A fire….

A candle needs the fire

A meal needs the fire

To start up, to turn on, to show out

But we don’t need the fire

We have been burning a long time

We don’t need the fire

We don’t hold a candle in our night

In this fire….

We lost our hopes

We lost our tents, our new homes

Here in this host country, in its camps

As we did in our country that we fled

In this fire….

In Moria, in Samos, in Chios

In Refugee camps around Greece

We have been burning silently

Subjugated, without dignity

In this fire….

Tens of us have burned

Changed to bundles of coal

No raised voices, no closed fists

Silence has never been a solution

After this fire….

We can find, we can move

We can want, we can raise

our heads, our fists and our voice

Asking for “freedom of movement”