ATHENS DAY 9

Pub­lished on November 25, 2017
Esti­mate 4 minutes read­ing

On Sun­day, Mehrdad went to Church, and he very kind­ly invit­ed us to visit.

One of his favorite rea­sons for going to church is that it is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to play the piano. He miss­es hav­ing a key­board at home.

ATHENS DAY 9

The Far­si speak­ing con­gre­ga­tion gath­ers and sings almost non stop. The music helps absorb the ser­mon and occu­py the mind. The prayer is in the music. Chil­dren led the choir.

ATHENS DAY 9

The church is in a store­front on the street, and it is a very plain house of wor­ship, with­out much art to it, but it’s ser­vices are very live­ly. It gives Mehrdad a sense of belong­ing, and in Athens, he has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to be safe in this community.

ATHENS DAY 9

We met lat­er in the evening at La Platafor­ma to attend a meet­ing with MusiKara­ma to dis­cuss a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Lyrics of Sada, and meet a new musi­cian. He did not wish to be named or iden­ti­fied because he needs to pro­tect his fam­i­ly and him­self from ret­ri­bu­tion. He’s from Afghanistan, and he spoke a lot about the racism he expe­ri­enced there, and the con­tin­u­ing racism that he encoun­ters here in Greece. From Greeks, he is shown hatred because of their igno­rance of mid­dle east­ern refugees, and he is shown hatred from oth­er Far­si speak­ing immi­grants because of his Haz­ara lin­eage. His fam­i­ly had emi­grat­ed to Iran because of the pres­sures of liv­ing in Afghanistan as a sec­ond-class eth­nic minor­i­ty, and he was born in Iran. As refugees in Iran, they had no iden­ti­ties, res­i­den­cy, or cit­i­zen­ship, yet they still lived and worked as non-cit­i­zens. With­out Iran­ian iden­ti­ty cards, it is impos­si­ble to buy any­thing beyond bread. Impos­si­ble to buy sim cards, motor­cy­cles, cars, hous­es, and it would be unlike­ly to get a job above any­thing oth­er than a sub­sis­tence lev­el. As an under-class mem­ber of soci­ety, he was sub­ject­ed to extreme vio­lence and per­se­cu­tion, both from the gov­ern­ment and from dai­ly encoun­ters. His father was shot. His fam­i­ly fled Iran like so many others.

ATHENS DAY 9

He began writ­ing lyrics for hip-hop music. Rap spoke to him and helped him to give pow­er to his per­spec­tives and give his grief and desire for soci­ety to change more voice. Here in Greece, he bal­ances his need to pro­tect his fam­i­ly with his need to speak out against oppres­sion. He found some solace in music, the same way that Mehrdad was com­fort­ed by music. Music can lift us up from the most pro­found pain. We are very grate­ful to know these beau­ti­ful human beings and to feel their posi­tion in the world through their music.