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‘The Five Stages of Moria’: Refugee Voices

By Elika Ansari

Most of us remember 2015 as the year the European media adopted the term ‘Refugee Crisis’, when 1.3 million refugees arrived at the EU borders asking for protection. Now, at the turn of the decade, as we try to close the chapter on the global pandemic and let life return to normal, the word hits much closer to home with the War in Ukraine leading over five million people to flee their country in a matter of months.

Some might remember Moria camp from news reports in September 2020, when it was burned to the ground at the height of the pandemic. Some might even remember news reports preceding the big fire, snippets of what it meant to be contained in crammed, unhygienic conditions for months, even years, sharing small summer tents or containers with 6-14 other members of your family or even with complete strangers. Stories of violence, suicide, rape, torture often eluded the headlines, but even when reporters did get wind of what was really going on in Moria, it did not merit more than a few minutes of media attention, if that.

What readers will not have come across, is a more in-depth view of the tens of thousands of people who were forced into these conditions; their backgrounds, their life stories, the misery they had risked everything to escape only to encounter even more shocking circumstances than the ones they left behind in their esteemed Europe. Women and single mothers forced to set every ounce of dignity aside to ensure their children’s survival; children forced to grow up much too soon to take charge of their destiny; men crippled by the burden of guilt for dragging their loved ones into the former prison-turned-refugee-camp.

The Five Stages of Moria: ‘The Worst Refugee Camp on Earth’ is a multi-POV reflection of a complex and multi-faceted refugee experience, based on true stories of despair and resilience. Using the first-hand insight the author gained in the years she spent working there as a humanitarian aid worker, she resurrects the largest refugee camp in Europe through its stories.

In this blend of autobiography and fiction, the voices of Moria Refugee Camp are unified in their grief. Homes, hope, and dignity are lost amongst squalid living conditions and the omnipresent void where the illusion of salvation once lived. Described as the ‘worst refugee camp on Earth’ by its residents in BBC news reports and as a giant open-air ‘mental asylum’ by Doctors Without Borders, this book allows readers to bear witness to the monolithic trauma held within the notorious camp before it was burned to the ground in September 2020.

The Five Stages of Moria: ‘The Worst Refugee Camp on Earth’ will be published by Arkbound on 30th September 2022. Get your free ticket to the Book Launch event at Good Press, Glasgow here:

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