About Refugees, By Refugees
Trigger Warning: Domestic abuse
Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Golzar Azari, 46-year-old, from Iran, residing in Greece at organizational houses.
What type of accommodation do you live in now?
A refugee accommodation.
Could you explain the conditions of it?
In the house that they gave us, we are five people. In each room, two people live in two rooms and one in the living room. There is an Arab whom I share the room with. There are three Afghanis, including me who’s an Iranian and we all live together.
Who do you live here with?
With an Arab woman.
How do you spend your time here? Do you work?
No, I’m jobless. I sometimes study, sometimes I go walking, and sometimes I go to church.
What are the things that are the cause of your happiness?
Hearing the voices of my children.
Ever since you entered Europe, how has your life been? What has been difficult for you and what was good for you?
We suffered a lot on the way, and we thought that after reaching here, we would move on to the next destination, but now it’s around two years since we are stuck here.
Can you explain how living here has made you feel?
Until now, we haven’t seen any happiness… just difficulty, sorrow, and suffering.
What feeling do you get being away from your family members or home? Can you explain?
The feeling that I got from being far from my home and family is um… Being far from mother. I have an old mother and I love her a lot but she’s really far from us. I miss her a lot. Whenever I call her, she always cries and says, “Where did you go? Why did you go? Why did you leave me alone? You could have stayed with me,” and I told her, “Mother, that was not possible. You know how my husband treated me badly. That’s why I left.”
Did you ever imagine coping with this condition? How were you able to overcome this condition and continue your life?
It has been 13 to 14 years that I’ve lived alone with my four children. Two of my children are in Iran and the other two are here with me. One of the children is sick here and they separated him from me and took him to a hotel. I’ve stood on my own feet for 12 years, fought with my husband, he treated me badly but I was able to reach here and stand on my own feet and now I’m happy that I’m here and my children are here.
Do you think you have the ability to overcome these challenges or do you think you always had the skills?
I always could stand on my own feet.
How has COVID-19 affected your feelings, emotions, and daily life?
I got COVID and I was at the hospital for three days. Then I got quarantined for 20 days. I was not feeling well at all. Then I became better and returned home.
Why did you leave the country? Can you explain what happened?
Because of my husband. He was from the army corps and treated me badly. He was really religious and treated me badly up to an extent that he wanted to pour acid on me. Due to this I took my children and ran away from Iran.
What feeling did you have at that time?
It was very… The feeling of being alone… I suffered and endured a lot till I reach here.
How was the journey to Europe? Did you have any specifically difficult experiences that you can tell us?
It was really difficult. We suffered a lot on the way in the jungles. We suffered a lot and I was really scared especially when I had my daughter with me.
What feeling did you get at that time?
I was happy to reach somewhere… for my kids to have a future… for them to study and reach a place… to see the happiness of my children… to experience happiness myself… be in a safe place and live.
Do you often think of these incidents that happened? When? Is there anything specific that you think about often?
Yes, at night when I want to sleep. It’s been six months that I’m supervised by my doctor and I take tension pills. I mostly think about these at night and cry and then sleep.
What feeling do you get when you think of that?
I cry… Loneliness, they’ve separated me from my children. Two of them are in Iran and the other two are here. I’m really lonely here.
Has the current condition that you faced had an impact on you?
Yes, it has had a great impact, and have been taking tension pills for six months.
Have you ever imagined coping with those situations? How were you able to get along and move on from these conditions?
Since I was not treated well in Iran, I was able to cope and get along with it. I was able to do it under all circumstances.
Where did you get the spiritual strength and support to overcome the difficult days?
From the fact that there is a government that can support me here and my life to be safe… Because of this.
What was your dream before the incident that led to you running away from your country?
I was a 15- to 16-year-old girl who married. My dream was to be happy and see happiness. I was never able to see happiness in my life nor these years without a husband. I really want to be happy and see my children happy. To have a really good and peaceful life.
What is your dream for the future?
I want to study and go to work. To work and have a future. To have an easy life.