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 is inspired by the terrific and inhuman conditions of refugees in the new  Moria camp. There is a character in this poem, that is speaking about her/his feeling and actions, being there and being witness of all what is happening to people there.  Also it is written to move the readers, to act and not only read or see the photos, but to also search for solutions for the current condition. Refugees in camps like Moria have been burning for years and I wrote this poem to connect readers with refugees in Moria and with the same conditions in other camps, and to have strong solidarity of people with them.

Illustration by Joana Maria Neves

The round part represents the world and what she sees all around her in the poem. Each flame is different from the next, but all of them are connected

In front of my eyes

In front of my eyes….

Everything is burning

Everyone is fleeing

Children are crying

I do not know what to do


In front of my eyes….

Tents collapse into ashes

Nothing remains sound

Smoke invades the eyes

Nothing exists but fire


In front of my eyes….

Babies are screaming,

Are they burning?

No one can help another

Each after his own survival


In front of my eyes….

Everyone is seeking water

Not a drop to be found

Some with bags or blankets

Cling their children in their embrace

In front of my eyes….

A baby clutches her doll

To keep it safe

She may play with it later

No one knows her world


In front of my eyes ….

A mother is sobbing

Screaming for her lost boy in Moria

No one reaches her, no one helps

No one asks her — how she feels


In front of my eyes….

I can stay no longer

I could be one of them, among them

If I would be a refugee, in prison

I got lucky, should I not hold their hands?


In front of the world’s eyes….

Open your eyes , these are real scenes

You, too, could be one of them

Don’t blame; stay, help!

You don’t know: what a “refugee” means