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, North 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.
Post scriptum: 02.07.2017.
I haven't been at the barracks for a long time. They have been demolished on purpose. The trap is being a “registered refugee”. There's no difference between being registered or not. Nobody cares about them. At least before they were free to try to pass the borders. Now, registered, with refugee rights they are actually trapped.
I made a last tour through the remains of the refugee jungle. No life, nothing. Only blankets, shoes, screaming crows and … stray dogs.
The temperature is at last far above zero. There was a short feast with drinks, fireworks, drums and traditional dancing. Some hospitality in Serbia after all.
A bunch of chocolate bars made refugees really happy. They now have also sprays to make those walls talk.
In the camp they wake up, the sun shines, it’s cold outside …
Protests, second day.
The situation at the camp is getting out of control. Protest. They demand to open the borders for them.
Belgrade is freezing. So are the fingers and the toes. Anything wooden is set to burn. A prayer … so unearthly.
Things look good. Chemical toilets, MSF. Wood and barrels to serve as furnace. At the same time, refugees tell me that in the Hungarian border dogs were released on them, they were bitten and robbed, no matter if they were kids or adults.
It’s snowing again and it's cold. In the abandoned train wagons there are about thirty refugees, mostly from Presevo. I met an American guy who brought them a bag full of socks and sprays, and there are many messages on the walls, so that people can understand their tragedy.
Edit: 14.01. 2017.
Refugees playing football by the sunset and the truth written on the snow: “broken life"
The temperature is finally above zero. Snow turns into mud and ice. Soon there will be no rail wood to burn. Refugees are getting nervous.
I went to the camp at evening. It’s dark like hell. Flames are the only light. Fire is made out of toxic materials. There are kids around and the temperature below zero.
The Bulb Collective consists of photographers active in urban (and rural) photography with an expressive shift to include highly aesthetic and poetic images in their assignments.