A man whose brother was murdered by ISIS, a woman whose husband died in the harrowing sea journey, a child who cried out "kill me instead!" when she saw her mother being crushed by a throng of people struggling to board a boat: These are the emotional stories of refugees in Europe that were captured this week in a poignant photo series.
Humans of New York has made a name for itself documenting the stories and photographs of random people living in the Big Apple. But on Friday, Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind the project, announced a shift in focus.
"For the next several days, I’m going to be sharing stories from refugees who are currently making their way across Europe," Stanton wrote on Facebook and Instagram. "Additionally, I’ll be spotlighting some of the people who are attempting to help facilitate their immigration and asylum."
"Together, these migrants are part of one of the largest population movements in modern history," he added. "But their stories are composed of unique and singular tragedies."
Stanton shared several tales of refugees who traveled many dangerous miles to arrive in Europe. One was the story of Muhammad, a Syrian man the photographer met in Iraq last year.
In a series of six photographs, Stanton shared Muhammad’s retelling of his last few months, the struggles he faced trying to raise enough money to buy fake papers, his father’s beating at the hands of police and his brother’s murder by ISIS.
"My brother had been killed by ISIS while he was working in an oil field," Muhammad is quoted as saying. "They found our address on his ID card, and they sent his head to our house, with a message: 'Kurdish people aren’t Muslims.' My youngest sister found my brother’s head. This was one year ago. She has not spoken a single word since."
Muhammad currently lives in Austria, where he was recently granted citizenship. His life in Europe, however, hasn’t been without its challenges.
On Monday, Stanton shared the story of a woman whose husband died after their boat sank en route to Europe.
He also posted a photograph showing a father and daughter in Lesvos, Greece.
The HONY photo project offers just a glimpse into the lives of migrants who are seeking refuge in Europe. According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, more than 160,000 migrants have arrived in Greece this year.
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