Beautiful and unbroken

Under the rubble of war

In the Eastern world, poetry is considered to be the collective memory of the people to which all contribute, whether rich or poor, born in times of happiness or desperation.

There elders tell children stories in verse, so poetry is a familiar medium.

For eight months, 14-18 year old boys who fled to Europe alone from Afghanistan and Iran have been meeting with their poetry mentors in Berlin. They compose poems about fear, abandonment, and nostalgia. Their stories give rare insight into their experiences living alongside war, why they fled to Germany, and how they see their new neighbors, the Germans.

The results are intensely personal lines that reveal that under the rubble of war, the poetic soul of a centuries old culture lives on, beautiful and intact, in this young generation.

Through poetry they find their voices.

Susanne Koelbl