Dispatches from Belgrade
Snow is falling slowly in Belgrade and steadily in the city. The bitter cold penetrates the bones. A condition that could prevent you from sleeping and even if you did, you don’t know if you will wake up the next day. It’s an unusual feeling, like stepping back in time, having already seen and experienced the horrors that should have disappeared and be buried in a grave forever. In Belgrade, life seems to flow naturally. Right in the heart of the city, between the central station and the bus station. Its citizens seem insensitive to the emergency that is happening here every day.
The feeling of indifference is total. As indeed, also in the European community. The words of our politicians are nothing but empty words without meaning and credibility. The truth is that the situations that have arisen are not the result of mere chance.
My arrival at the bus station was like a punch in the stomach; everything happens in broad daylight; there is nothing to hide. It is merely before the eyes of one world watching motionless as the next freezes in this Siberian hell.
They are dilapidated and abandoned buildings without toilets where hygienic conditions are prohibitive. The long corridor that connects the two main blocks is it used as an external toilet. Debris, dirt and garbage are everywhere. They lived in these conditions without necessities for people taking a shower, heating the water with an ice fire.
There are no women among the immigrants: only a few teenagers. The journey was full of hidden dangers, suffering and pain. Not just physical pain, as in the case of the young Mohamed Sami who had just turned 18. Once a native of Pakistan, Sami lived in a rural and mountainous area of the country. He didn’t choose to leave his homeland, but he had to decide to stay and risk his life or try to reach Germany, searching for new possibilities to live. Before embarking on this journey, Sami was a college student in computer science. “I fled my country because my family and I had a problem with terrorists, affiliated with the Taliban. I arrived in Belgrade across the border with Bulgaria, where I was arrested, stripped, and deprived of everything I had: my clothes, little money I had with me and my cell phone. My goal is to reach Germany”. Unfortunately, Sami lost one of his brothers in a firefight in his homeland. He left his family in Pakistan. His journey began six months ago and hasn’t finished yet.
He does not know when and how he will be able to leave Belgrade, several of his compatriots are in the same conditions, like many other Afghan boys. Young people of 14, 15 or 16 try their luck and leave families and siblings to face an endless odyssey. A journey is full of pitfalls and hungry sharks ready to exploit their vulnerability and suffering.
We are in the new millennium, and we are still witnessing scenes that come directly from our recent past. Horrors that our past generations have struggled to forget, however, return in a new form.