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.
This poem is inspired by protests that Parwana attended in Ritsona camp, criticising the conditions that the camp residents had to live in without access to basic human rights and a chance to integrate with local society.
An Illustration by Shukran Shirzad, an Afghani artist living in Greece.
Can we become one of you
Integrated with you?
Can we live together
In the same society for ever?
Can we get insurance
Can we be hospitalised?
Can we influence anything?
Can I become your neighbour?
Or a friend speaking with you?
Can we stop being seen as objects?
Can we Iive as subjects for some weeks?
Can we leave behind the rotten thoughts?
Exchange them with humane norms?
Can my child hold your child’s hand?
Have fun in playgrounds?
Can we come around one table?
Discuss, speak and laugh?
Can we share each other’ s stories?
Back our voices and demands with justice?
Why can’t we join hands?
Why can’t we move further?
Instead of getting repressed
Why can’t we speak louder?
Why are our eyes averted?
Why aren’t we called one nation?
Why can’t we be in one homeland?
Under the colours of one flag?