Galrim is from Pakistan. He left his country because his family opposed a case of electoral fraud and were stigmatised as political dissidents. They were persecuted and some of his relatives were killed. Galrim was sent away in the hope that he would be safer outside Pakistan. In Turkey he was promised help and safe passage to Greece. Instead, he was kidnapped and held hostage in a basement alongside other refugees. The kidnappers asked his family for ransom and kept torturing him for months. Galrim has been shot, cut and pulled along the ground by a track. The signs of torture are visible on his body. Finally his father paid the ransom and Galrim was set free. He crossed the Aegean to Lesbos where he was advised by the UNHCR that he is entitled to asylum in Greece as a victim of persecution and torture. He remains in the Moria hotspot for the past five months and he has not yet had the basic first ‘interview’ for asylum.
Galrim waits patiently. He worries about radicalisation in Europe. He told us: “The extremists are creating a systematic culture of fear in Europe. They want to turn local societies against the refuges and to sabotage solidarity initiatives and political decisions towards opening borders and granting asylum to people from Asia and the Middle East. Radicalisation only increases insecurity and racism.There are many first and second generation refugees/immigrants who are marginalised in European societies. The extremists will manage to recruit amongst those who are frustrated. As a result, extremist elements will manage to politically survive and thrive on the back of a continuous, artificial opposition between the so-called East and the so-called West”.
Galrim continues: “Europe must prove wiser and demonstrate more political openness and solidarity, support democracy and transparency. Europe must take care of its citizens. All of its citizens. Europe must strive to reduce the social, economic and educational gaps between people. This system is broken. If Europe gets carried away by fear and hatred, if the EU continues to support wars, if it keeps intensifying policing and gives-in to fear, then the terrorists will have won. It seems that they are winning already, because I do not see any such signs of wisdom around”.
[Detail from the barb-wired hot-spot/camp/temporary prison of Moria]