2According to Google Maps there are at least 2.800km from Erbil in Iraq to Savski Square in Belgrade. It is the path that Rosheen (8), buy viagra Reema (7), buy and their parents Roka and Muhammad have crossed in past ten days. They are small Kurdish family that is searching for the brighter future from the one they left at home.

We found them before midnight in the park near the bus station in Belgrade. Roka had just washed children’s underwear and left it over the bench. Muhammad had tucked girls under the only blanket they had with them; but the two of them could not sleep.

As soon as Rosheen and Reema spotted two smiling strangers in their surroundings, salve they got up, smiled back, introduced themselves and jumped into our arms. Roka and Muhammad told us what girls lack for a night rest in the park. So we went back home, brought more blankets, a sleeping mat, a few sweatshirts, more food and drinks. Then we left them to rest during the night, wished them all the lack in the world and hugged them.

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If you have not done anything for these people, if you are turning your head on the other way, it is time to wake up. This is a huge migration of people passing through our city and it will last for who knows how long. Those people cannot be stopped, declarations, borders, walls, fences. These people will come here, and they are going to need our help.

They are not terrorists, they do not carry diseases, they are clean, they don’t smell – they are the same as any of you reading this, no different from your friends at the end of exhausting day. They do not carry misfortune or despair, on the contrary – they are taking along with themselves everything that they have – apart from small bags of the most important things, they are carrying hope, energy and determination for what is before them to live in dignified manner. Lives of Roka and Muhammad might not be important anymore, but they want their daughters to live without fear and with pride.

 3The next day, we were very much shaken by emotions from the previous night, and we had to go and check if everything is all right with Rosheen, Reema , Roka and Muhammad. We got to the park around the noon. Roka was up; Muhammad was sleeping on a bench after the sleepless night that he spent awake, watching after his family. The girls we playing and drawing with felt pens which their parents both them somewhere on the way. When they saw us, they ran into our arms one more time. They were eager to show us their toys and drawings. It was us they drew on the drawings from that morning. They even managed to spell Suzan’s name correctly. Children’s love. 

Actually, what we had in mind was to offer them our home’s hospitality for few hours, to take a shower, have proper meal with us and rest a bit until they continue their journey. What we wanted was to refresh at least a piece of human dignity, which maybe was lost on the way. But they refused to go anywhere from the park. They have their own norms of security, after some cases of abductions and thefts on their asylum way between Middle East and Europe. They feel safe only when they are in the group with their compatriots.

4An hour later, we brought lunch. We even brought a tablecloth, I know it is irrelevant, but we didn’t want it to be another fast-food meal from plastic bags, but something to remind them, at least for a second, on the lunch at home. Roka immediately made small packages of bread and chicken, hummus, potato and tomato salads. We ate together, like family and friends. Girls wanted to impress us with their English (and they know it a bit better than their parents do). After that, Su and girls made some origami. 5We could not part. Girls knew how to say: ‘I love you’. Su thought them first German words – "Ich liebe dich".

Then, we heard their life story. They come from Kobani, the Aleppo Governorate in northern Syria. They left it in early 2014. It is that unfortunate city which is crossing from Kurdish to ISIS hands. In one of those horrors, both hand of Roka’s uncle were cut off. After their house was destroy by a shell, their long refuge saga started. Before almost a year they ended in UNHCR camp in Ebril. From there, they went away ten days ago, heading to Europe, via Izmir, Dardanelles, Greece, refugee camp near Athens, via Macedonia to Belgrade. Mohammad was working in Kobani’s water supply system, Roka was a housewife. They are now 39 and 28.

Their backpack is full of refugee papers – Syrian, Iraqi, Turkish, Greek, Macedonian and Serbian. In Presevo, they received permission to check in Sjenica center in 72 hours. We photographed everything, so we can one day, in few years from now, trace them and see if they are all right. We were shown the medical reports of girls and their war-psychological traumas, nightmares and fears that they will one day be separated from their parents by soldiers. I realized that Reema was hit in the head by shrapnel, when their house was attacked; above the right ear remind a scar. We understood why those incredible green-blue eyes were darkened with the glimpse of fear.

We gave them our contacts, as well as some contacts from people in Germany that can help them. We wrote a letter to them in English, so Reema and Rosheen can read it when they grow up. We wished them lack and asked them to contact us one fine day – so we can know how and where they are. Till then, we will often think of them.

6We shared this short story to show that every one of you can do at least something for these people. That each one of us in these days is a NGO, State… that we should not wait for organizations and big plans and other people to motivate you. Each and every one of us can organize something like lunch in the park. Bring anything you have, sit with them, talk to them, eat together. In the culture they are coming from, it is the act of supreme trust between people, and that is what we are. If you play an instrument, play for them in the park. Or bring the football and make a park match. If you have children – take them with you. You will see how they will react.

Sara, saleswoman from bakery store, didn’t want to charge us when she heard for whom we are buying bread for. Irina brought some clothing for children to the park. Jelena from US sent some money for girls. We met Srba with her friend giving baby carrier. Some of our fellow citizens made tea in the park.

Something is happening. Do not wait – be there.

Whatever you do, share it with your friends, share it on the internet. It is important that people can see that everyone can help and that there are thousands of ways.

Late this evening we passed through the park again. There are a lot of refugees there. More than the night before. And a bus from Vranje had just arrived, full with people who have to find their peace in the park.

Muhammad, Roka, Reema and Rosheen are now in Hungary. And they are all right because they have to be.

Written by Gordan Paunovic

Roughly translated by Milica Tanasijevic

For the detail story in Serbian with photos click here and here.

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The South East European (SEE) Heritage network Secretariat
P.O. Box 85
85330 Kotor - Montenegro
phone: + 382 (0)32 302520
fax: + 382 (0)32 302521
 
 

The material displayed on the separate country pages has been prepared by:
Albania: 
Albanian Heritage Foundation
Bosnia and Herzegovina: CHwB Regional Office in Sarajevo
Kosovo: EC MA Ndryshe
Montenegro: EXPEDITIO and Notar
Serbia: Civic Association SUBURBIUM

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South East Europe (SEE) – a region where people cooperate, understand and respect each other on the basis of their cultural differences, believing that cultural, ethnic and religious diversity is a valuable resource.

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South East European Heritage is a network of non-governmental organizations established in 2006. The mission of the SEE Heritage network is to work toward protecting and promoting our common cultural heritage with the aim of encouraging the sustainable development of the region.

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