People to trade
by Georgi Kozhuharov
In the end of 2012 I travelled to Aleppo, Syria, to document the conflict between Syrian rebels and Government. This was my first freelancing project as a war correspondent. I spent six days on the frontlines. I’ve never imagined that I would witness scenes similar to those from World War II. After I came back to Bulgaria I thought I have left the war far behind my back. But a few months later I proved myself wrong - refugees from Syria arrived at the doorstep of Europe – my home country Bulgaria.
Ten years have passed, but not much has changed, apart from the millions of people who were left homeless, and the hundreds of thousands who perished. I started documenting the refugees. It became my personal cause to show the problems of these people. I followed them on foot across borders, witnessing their attempt to find security. The negative perception towards the larger waves of refugees became an instrument for political parties, who used the crisis to accomplish their agenda. Refugees became people to trade with.
In 2017 the so called capital of ISIS – Raqqa was liberated, but destroyed. I felt that is time to go back to Syria. I found myself midst collapse and destruction - perfect monument of War.
In Feb 2020, the Turkish President declared that Turkey will open its borders, not preventing refugees from crossing to the EU This prompted an influx of migrants and refugees to the border with Greece, where authorities started using tear gas, smoke grenades and rubber bullets to prevent entries. The Turkish military forces cut the accesses to the border for journalists but I was able to pass the checkpoints, hiding among refugees and managed to capture the situation.
When I first arrived in Aleppo I have never imagined that almost ten years later I would be documenting the continuation of the same story, but back home. Globalization made the butterfly effect quite evident – bombs might be falling thousand of kilometres away, but you feel the blast on your doorstep.