Could you try to imagine a world without borders, a global space where people can freely move from one country to another, to settle down, live and work wherever they wished? This sounds like a Utopia with all the strict controls that states currently execute at their frontiers. A major factor why people flee their country is because of war, conflict or government persecution. In a world where we are trying to reunite and relate with each other, everyone should be able to have the opportunity to freely travel between boarders. Over the past years many borders have been transformed into militarised security spaces through increased funding, deployments of additional border guards, and the construction of walls and surveillance infrastructure. International migration is one of the major moral and political challenges of our time.

‘’After a difficult and unpleasant journey, where you risk your life and fight the sea waves trying to reach “ the land of dreams” - or at least, what you think it is - your happy dreams of a safe and peaceful life are destroyed and the “happy land” disappears. You come to find out it is just a prison that cannot be escaped, surrounded by the sea on all sides, where you miss all the basics of life - refugee from Samos

Through an empathetic lens, Jermain Cikic’s photo series raises awareness of the refugee crisis in Greece. The corresponding result is a poetic photo essay from the situation on Samos. Where Dreams Get Shattered, tells the stories of refugees based in Samos, and the struggles they face every day.  

There are people of all ages, young and old who had to flee their country because they where in direct danger of being killed, separated from their families and the country where they where born.

Samos is an islands, located 1.7km from the Turkish coast. A very beautiful island from the outside, but dig a little deeper and the harsh reality becomes apparent. Because of the lack of alternative accommodation choices on the island, many refugees remained for long periods (for several months and even years) inside the camp and in the wider area around it. A fundamental human right is the freedom of movement. This is a human right that can’t be restricted by a racist or nationalist government. They are used to exclude others. The violence of borders today is emblematic of a roader system that seeks to preserve privilege and opportunity for some by restricting access to resources and movement from others. 

Nevertheless this does not stop the refugees from taking the risk of reaching a safe habitat. Men, women, and children, families or single people, sail off on often overfilled plastic dinghies, frequently after being obliged to give in to money extortion.

‘’How long are we going to be prisoners here for? We never know! What is going to happen to us? We also do not know, we only know that we are stuck here and being forgotten about’’. -  refugee from Samos