Personal projects: BREAKING WATERS
"Breaking Waters" presents the portraits and stories of refugee women in Greece who have become pregnant during their flight from war (some in camps or in transit with their husbands) and / or who have recently given birth in Syria, Greece or Turkey under the most difficult circumstances. It is clear that women fleeing Syria and other conflict-ridden lands are so desperate that being pregnant, even heavily pregnant, is not holding them back from going through this journey in search of a better life.
Through this project I want to show how even in the depths of the refugee crisis life does not stop, with the women embracing the creation of new life as a key part of their identities as wives and mothers despite their forced displacement. It will also serve as a reminder that there is an entire generation of children whose earliest memories will be of life as refugees.
For many of the babies that have been born in transit there are also significant legal questions. Many families flee without IDs or passports, babies born in transit are sometimes not issued birth certificates and women from some countries, including Syria, do not have the right to pass on their nationalities to their children, a potentially major problem in cases where no father is present. Furthermore babies cannot count on getting European citizenship, even if they are born on European soil, because European countries grant citizenship based on “blood” right, that is, the nationality of the parents.
At a time when nationalist and populist movements are on the rise in many European countries and the United States these questions of identity are more significant than ever. Refugee women who are pregnant or caring for infant children are rightly regarded by the UNHCR and international organisations as one the most vulnerable groups among those fleeing conflicts. Yet when seen through the prism of reactionary nationalist rhetoric and its fear of an 'invasion' of outsiders these mothers and their children can also be seen as threats and are thus at risk of further victimisation and marginalisation.