ALONG THE EASTERN POLAND BORDER – Father had circled through the rain-flooded Polish forest, cradling his sick daughter, delirious after three days with barely food or water as temperatures plummeted towards the freeze. He was drenched, shivering, and faced with a terrible choice.
Her 2-year-old daughter suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy. He had wrapped her in a thin coat to protect her from the cold, and she needed urgent medical attention. The father, an Iraqi Kurd named Karwan, had guided his family across the border from Belarus, but was now in a wooded area guarded by Polish soldiers and border guards.
The father’s choice was ruthless: seeking medical help would mean a return to Belarus and the end of his family’s desperate journey to Europe.
“I can call an ambulance for you, but the border guards will come with it,” Piotr Bystrianin, a Polish activist who arrived to help, said he wanted to seek asylum in Poland, told the family. He had found them after hours of searching in the dark, alerted to their location by a location pin sent by cell phone.