I just felt pain. A strong pain that was going through my whole body, physical pain. After the traumatic separation from the love of my life in July 2020, I could not bear the situation any longer. He had arrived in Lesbos in 2015. In April 2016 we met in The Netherlands, at a photographic exhibition. Photography always connected us but his memories never let go of him and made both of us victims of his forced flight.
One night, unable to sleep, I was scrolling through Facebook when a photograph caught my attention. It was shared by a friend who had spent five months in Lesbos covering the situation during the corona outbreak. The photographer was Amir H.Z., an Afghan refugee living in Camp Moria. Desperation recognises desperation. I felt how much he wanted to share what was happening there, at a moment when Europe was only focussing on itself. I wrote to him and we decided to start @now_you_see_me_moria, an Instagram account as a collaborative project in August 2020. In the fall, Qutaiba from Syria and Ali from Afghanistan joined us.
Many of the stories were picked up by international media and we are grateful for that. But we cannot stop here, we need to raise awareness of the current situation in Moria. Human rights are being violated on a daily basis, journalists and photographers are not allowed to go inside the new camp, NGO staff members are asked not to take pictures. Moria is only one of the many shame spots of a failing European migration policy. We need change.
Let’s make sure none of us can look away anymore by making the stories of refugees more visible. And do it ourselves. This is an invitation to European designers to create posters based on the pictures taken by people in the camp. And a call to us all to put them up wherever we can across the 27 countries of the European Union. Starting with the windows of our homes.
Is there a better day for this than February 14, Valentine’s Day?
Join us! All contributions are welcome.
Noemí is a Spanish
based in the Netherlands.