Photo © Rottkay
Mahdi Hashemi (*2000) fled alone at the age of fifteen from near Tehran, the capital of Iran, to Germany. The story of his journey began much earlier, however; when he was only three months old, his family fled with him from Afghanistan to Iran. While Mahdi cannot remember his first flight, the impression made by the second one was all the deeper. When one night his father told him he was to leave early the next morning, everything happened extremely quickly. On the way, he imagined what Europe might look like. When he reached Greece, at the latest, he felt sure that a better future awaited him there, and the helpfulness of the people on the spot gave him hope for his new life in Germany. Mahdi is now studying in Berlin for his Abitur school-leaving certificate. One of the themes that occupies him is the question of why, as an Afghan refugee in Iran, he felt obliged to apologise simply for breathing the air there.
In 2018 Mahdi Hashemi was awarded the Else Lasker-Schüler Poetry Prize.