Since we were travelling near to the Balkan area, which refugees traditionally use to try to reach their aspired destinations in Northern Europe countries, my friend and I decided to observe with our own eyes what was occurring. Of course, we did not do it for voyeurism purposes. We think that human beings have to recognize the often tragic and sobering power of History, which constantly happens around our everyday life and deserves direct observation when it is possible. We are also against the protectionist strategies of this European Union, setting itself up as an impregnable fortress. In the past 30 years we have been surrounded by news of tragedies constantly happening both along terrestrial borders and Mediterranean sea, as well as about the violence and ignominious treatments perpetrated on migrants both at borders and the detention camps in Libya and Europe. For these reasons, we decided to be an infinitesimal part of that History and to witness the biggest displacement of people to Europe since World War 2.
I am neither a photographer (actually, I just "do pictures"), nor a journalist or a political analyst. However, as an Italian and European citizen calling for a shift towards inclusive mobility rights and hoping that national and supranational borders finally collapse as spaces of militarization, surveillance and control perpetrating existing and new injustice and inequalities, I have attempted to narrate and to document in pictures what I have seen on those European borders. I have also spoken with some of the refugees, trying to be respectful to people that were there sleeping, washing clothes, or playing football, often in very precarious conditions (as in Budapest). I had several small chats with groups of guys or with families; some were tired or didn't want to be disturbed, however others asked us to take pictures and were happy to speak with me.
We arrived in the small town of Gevgelija (FYROM), located just 300 meters from the South-Eastern border FYROM-Greece. The situation was very difficult. The temperature so high that plastic shelters and gazebos under the sun were literally burning. A few volunteers were providing insufficient food and water. People were continuing to arrive from the border, passing through an unpaved way carrying limited bags and dusty clothes. Exhausted parents took children by the arm. On the border, a police cordon was struggling to prevent refugees from crossing the barbed wire which was used to delimit the border. Protests by the desperate crowds were mounting, pushing to enter FYROM territory. I saw also Macedonian police and frustrated people facing off.
The unpaved way from the FYROM-Greece border to the camp in the Gevgelija countryside.
Refugees arriving from the border.
Tensions between the Macedonian police and refugees.
Drying clothes on a football net in the central station in Belgrade.
The kids of the Syrian family I chatted with in Kanjiža. The youngest daughter was very reticent to pose.
The camp had humanitarian tents, which are more comfortable of igloo tents or the ground.
Underground passage occupied by refugees in the Kalati station, Budapest.
Trying to rest.
A man protesting against the police cordoning the station entrance.
These guys show me their tickets for Germany. They were in the station since five days, and no food was provided.
Refugees in the Kalati station.
All my pictures can be found at my Facebook page (contents are in Italian, apologize for this), as well as pictures by my friend (he is an amateur photographer) on his Flickr.