About Refugees, By Refugees

Aram Gholami

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Mahdiyh Haidari

My dream is to keep studying obstetrics and gynaecology,” says refugee Aram Gholami (pseud, 33). Aram fled to Turkey from her home in Iran after her brother attacked her, breaking her nose and jaw. He did not approve of the man she loved. “He was really against us being together,” she says. While in Turkey, Aram’s brother continued to pursue them, and forced the couple to flee once again. They were smuggled into Greece “with ease,” but: “when I arrived in Europe it was very difficult. I didn’t think that I would be in such a place, particularly Moria [refugee camp] which is like hell.” Life as a refugee gave Aram “feelings of anxiety and sorrow.” She says, “I used to be a happy person but now I hardly laugh and feel quite melancholic.” Now in a “small and good house” in Mytilini, Greece with her husband, she keeps herself busy caring for her son. “I was not very strong,” Aram says. “but because my beloved husband was beside me I was able to overcome [the hardships] and become stronger.”

Trigger Warning:

full interview

This translation was provided without the questions that were asked by the interviewer.
Aram Gholami, 33 years old, from Iran.

  1. I live in a rental house. 
  2. I live in a small and good house. 
  3. I live with my husband and son and because my spouse got into a fight with an Arab he is in prison now. One night we went out for dinner with my husband and son. The Arabs stole my cell phone there and when my husband noticed they got into a fight and my husband beat them. The police took my husband to jail for fighting and now I live with my son and friend.
  4. Because I go to Bashira classes ( a place where women are taught to knit, sew, and learn other languages) and I’m busy [taking care of] my son. 
  5. What makes me happy is the happiness of my family.
  6. When I arrived in Europe it was very difficult. I didn’t think that I would be in such a place particularly Moria which is like hell. And that the government is so anti-immigration. There is also racism and lack of sanitary and other facilities and neglecting immigrants.
  7. It’s made me feel depressed. I used to be a happy person but now I hardly laugh and feel quite melancholic.
  8. Feelings of anxiety and sorrow and I am always by myself. Being away from one’s home and family is really tough.
  9. No, I never imagined enduring these conditions. When I first came to Europe they wanted to get myself deported but I resisted and my spouse stood by me and I was able to overcome it. Otherwise I would have gone back and got myself deported.  
  10. No, I never thought I could be so thick-skinned and confront [the problems]. I was not strong but these conditions have made me strong. 
  11. At first, I was afraid of the corona [virus] but not anymore. I was so scared that I kept cleaning everywhere obsessively .

Your History:

  1. Everything started with my husband. We used to love each other but my brother who was a leader at Islamic Revolutionary Guard believed he wasn’t a good match for our family because he drank alcohol. He was really against us being together and stood between us. However I wanted to be with the one I love because I had cancer. My brother hit me so hard that I got hospitalized at times. Once he trapped me at the corner of our yard and hit me so hard in the face with his military boots that my nose and jaw bones broke. I sued him but to no avail because he knew influential people and I only got some money for compensation (Diya). We were going to secretly get engaged at a registry office with our families but he noticed and charged at the office. He hit my husband, his father and me and threatened their family. Once when we were out with my husband he sent people out to stop our car. They hit my husband and jailed him for theft of virtue (Namus). They were also jailed for “insulting supreme leader” but we got out on bail and ran away to Turkey. We got married there but I was really sad that I’m getting married in a foreign country, away from my family and without having anyone around. However, my brother noticed and sent some people through Iranian embassy in Turkey to arrest us and we had to flee to Europe.
  2. I did not have a good feeling. I wanted to be close to my family and live with them. I was really sad.  
  3. Our journey to Europe was not too difficult because we had given a lot of money to the smuggler and crossed the borders with ease.  
  4. I had a really bad feeling because I had to be away from my family and country and that was difficult. I was very depressed and melancholic. 
  5. I think about all these most of the time but not at any particular time.
  6. I have a very bad feeling. I’m sad and it’s not good at all.
  7. The conditions have aged and depressed me. I’m no longer like I used to be. At the same time, I’m now tougher and stronger.
  8. I never imagined managing this situation. It was really difficult.
  9. I was not very strong, but because my beloved husband was beside me I was able to overcome [the hardships] and become stronger. 
  10. My dream was to become an OB-GYN.
  11. My dream is to keep studying obstetrics and gynaecology and get my degree.

Many 1000 Dreams interviews were not conducted in English. Their translation has not always been performed by professional translators. Despite great efforts to ensure accuracy, there may be errors.