A rain cloud arrived in the Belarus-Poland border sky on Monday night, hours after hundreds of migrants gathered in a forest, steps away from the frontier. Among them is a young Kurdish man who fled creeping despair and hopelessness in his hometown in the Kurdistan Region. Generations of Kurds have lived similar migration scenarios, but this time the youth are not fleeing war and violence.
Aryan Wali Zellmi, 25, took shelter under the tall trees as Polish guards monitored his movements through a razor-wire fence. He is among thousands of Iraqis, Kurds, Iranians, and Syrians on the border. He could be a step closer to building a new life.
The first son to his parents, Wali left behind a family of loved ones and an education that he put on hold due to financial reasons. In search of a steady job, his eyes landed on Europe where he made the tough decision of choosing an unknown fate over the reality lived in his hometown in the Hawraman mountains of southern Kurdistan Region.