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.

Parwana believes that when there is no hope in our hearts, no light in our life and we have nothing to cure each other’s pain, we can give smiles as a gift to each other. Living the hardships of life as a refugee, she knows that they will not take away the hope from her heart that comes with a smile.

An Illustration by Shukran Shirzad, an Afghani artist living in Greece

I, Shukran, illustrated the scenes where many people were trying to survive after Moria camp in Greece burned down. This man was trying to rescue his children, holding them against hopelessness with a hug and with thousands efforts to pass the dark tunnel of smoke and burning tents to get rescued.

Like a light at the end of the tunnel

If there is no hope in the sky, you smile!

If the world does not let you sleep, you smile!

If the earth freezes you, shelter-less, you smile!

If the wind screams and frightens you, you smile!

Keep up your hope and smile!


Calm oceans follow the tsunamis

Sunny days succeed the rainy nights

Strong stones shape after volcano eruptions

Limpid water comes from deep wells

Like a light at the end of the tunnel, you smile!


Like a rainbow, after heavy storms

Like a revolution, after daring actions

Like a strong chain, after solidarity vows

Like a free bird, after breaking the chains

Keep your head up and smile


After standing against inequalities, you smile!

After asking for justice and what’s right, you smile!

After fighting for peace against war, you smile!

After struggling for your future, you smile!

Make them afraid of your strength and smile!


Smile, as the world wants to wipe it!

Smile, as you find your life against it!

Smile, as you have solidarity behind yourself!

Smile, to burn the unjust eyes of the politicians!

Smile, as they are afraid to see you smiling!