'Humans Are Human. Blood Is Blood...'
I hear a lot about Arash before I meet him. He is known in Greece for his work as a translator with refugees, most of which he does for no pay and with enormous heart.
He’s originally from Kabul in Afghanistan. He and his family fled the country when his parents, who worked for the government, were threatened by the Taliban.
Arash is fluent in Greek and English, and provides a lifeline to refugees of all nationalities who look to him for support. On the day that I visit the centre from which he works (through the Salvation Army), hundreds of people are queuing outside waiting for his assistance.
‘My family is in Sweden,’ Arash tells me. ‘If go to Sweden I am sure I would have a better life. I finished university, so if I go there I will have a job, more money, a better life. But why do I stay here? What is the reason? Because I love this job, I want to do this job. If you come into my office you will see I am running up and down, up and down to help these people.’
‘It is important for me because blood is blood for every person. It is not about a country. Whether you’re from England, from the USA or from Afghanistan…humans are human. We are no different.’
‘People lose hope. They don’t know what will happen in the future. They come here thinking the border will open up, but now they’re here they realise the border will never open again and now they don’t know what to do. They don’t have the money to go back with traffickers. They can’t go back to Afghanistan because they sold their houses and everything they owned to try and reach hope in Europe.’
‘They stay in Greece because they don’t have a choice. It’s very difficult to see the people and the problems they have. It’s difficult to know what to do when 300 people come to you for food. But I don’t want to leave them. When you start working with refugees, you don’t leave.’