HELL IS ROUND THE CORNER
Since 2014, over a million of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan have passed through Belgrade, trying to reach new life in some of the EU countries. They have chosen the so- called “Balkan route”, including Greece, Macedonia and Serbia. In the summer of 2015, the Hungarian border police put up the iron fence over their border in an attempt to stop the refugees. They succeeded in that. But, almost six thousand refugees stayed in Serbia. Among them, over a thousand tried to cross the border on their own. They refused to stay in the camps, already overcrowded by the refugees. Most of them squatted in the three abandoned warehouses in central Belgrade, an area once upon a time called Savamala, nowadays it is a construction site of a riverside residential area called Belgrade Waterfont. They managed to organize their life within those run-down facilities, in very poor and dehumanizing conditions. During the winter of 2017, after the first snow, this hell of a place showed its real face.
This is a story about them, about three months of suffering and struggle to help them by spreading the word worldwide and showing the conditions they lived in. During April 2017, the warehouses were demolished because of Belgrade Waterfront’s expansion. When the demolition started, the refugees didn’t even have a chance to pick up their stuff. Most of them were relocated to refugee camps all over Serbia. Some of the refugees from the warehouses successfully, but after paying a huge price, crossed the border. I’m happy to see they have found a new life or are trying to fight for it, far away from the hell around the corner where they spent last winter. For those who stayed in Serbia in the refugee camps, the feeling of being trapped still prevails. The refugee story is a never-ending one.