Girl fleeing persecution stuck at Greek border


Barred from crossing into Macedonia, Iranians protest on the border. Many are fleeing oppression from their homeland, and among them, twenty-five year old Zara(not real name).

Zara left Isfahan, Iran months ago, running from marriage to a fifty-year-old man she didn’t know, arranged by her uncle. If she returns, the wrath of her caretaker uncle and brother will be upon her.

Denied a university education by her uncle, she secretly studied psychology in Iran for three years. She intends to complete her degree in Germany.

The journey here has been difficult. All fifty refugees and migrants, including Zara, would have likely died at sea when their boat failed. Her SOS and GPS coordinate message to the Greek coastguard saved their lives. Now, mere meters from the Macedonian border, she shares a tent with four others from Iran. Like all Iranians barred from entry, they are frustrated, venting frustration and struggling to be heard by protesting. Right now, it’s one of the only options they’ve got.

Thousands of people however continue to arrive at the Greek-Macedonia border despite threats police may clear the area of anyone not from Iran, Syria or Afghanistan. Macedonian and Balkan officials say so-called “economic job-seeking migrants” from countries like Bangladesh, Sudan and Iran are not refugees fleeing war. Most migrants say they are not seeking job opportunities in Europe; they are fleeing persecution.