Call for solidarity: PIKPA (german)

PIKPA – das vom „Dorf der alle zusammen“ selbstorganisierte Welcome Center für Flüchtlinge in Mitilini /Lesvos Griechenland, wird im Dezember 1 Jahr alt!

Als im Winter 2012 Flüchtlinge rund um den Hafen von Mitilini im Regen auf der Strasse schliefen, weil weder die Polizei noch die Küstenwache bereit war, sie vor der Weiterreise zu registrieren, wurde ein leerstehendes Kinderferienlager von Freiwilligen umfunktioniert und mit Einverständnis des Bürgermeisters genutzt, um neu ankommenden Flüchtlingen ein Dach über dem Kopf und Essen geben zu können. Seitdem sind in Pikpa immer wieder Flüchtlinge untergekommen, getragen allein auf Spendenbasis und durch die Bereitschaft der örtlichen Bevölkerung, die Leute nicht allein zu lassen. Continue reading

Call for solidarity: The story of Pashtu

Download here: The story of Pashtu

Pashtu and her four children arrived this summer in Lesvos, Greece. Even though the finally succeeded in reaching Europe they had to encounter a great loss: their daddy! He is one of many refugees who have been arrested and charged for alleged human smuggling while their only fault has been to escape war and death while lacking any legal ways to save their lives but also lacking sufficient financial means to take the unofficial and dangerous paths.

The family nowadays lives in PIKPA and awaits the trial of the father. They need all available support.

This booklet was created in solidarity and together with the family and with the aim to collect money for the lawyer of the father.

Please help with your donations.

Contact: lesvos.w2eu@yahoo.gr

Thanks to the people in Mitilini!

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To
The village of all together
Siniparxis in Aegeais
ERGATIKI LESXI – Workers Center in Mitilini
ERA AEGAIOU – Radio Era
Club of the fishermen of Thermi-Poseidon
3 whales who showed up shortly after the memorial in Thermi
The mayor of Mitilini
The administration of Tsamakia beach- ADEL
Hotel Votsala
Epimelitirio for giving the possibility to show the exhibition
Web for the printings
The boys from Agiassos
And all who have welcomed us on Lesvos and supported us in so many ways…

20th of October 2013

Dear people in Mitilini,

we have left the island – many of us with the feeling of having left a place where we all felt at home somehow. This feeling is mainly dedicated to all of you: without you this journey back to the border would have never been possible! We want to thank all of you. We will never forget the warm welcome you gave to us. We left with the feeling of a great experience and with a lot of strength for all coming struggles.

We left also with worries for all those we had to leave behind.

Our worries are with all those who are still imprisoned in the detention centre close to Moria. We wish all of them that they will overcome this horrible place and that they will arrive safely at their destination, in the country they wish to arrive and settle.

Our worries are with all those who will start tomorrow or in the following days, weeks and months from Turkey with a boat. We wish to be able to stop the senseless border regime of Frontex that risks their lives soon.

Our worries are with all those who are still in Agiassos and struggle for some hope for their future. We hope the new period of Agiassos will establish proper conditions for all minors arriving on the island and will give them a home like many of us had found it for a period of time in Villa Azadi, the house of freedom. We hope that all those who have to leave this home will always be able to count on the hospitality of the people in Mitilini who have proved with Pikpa that a village of all together is possible.

Our worries are with all of you, who remain in this place that is so full hopes and dreams but also tragedies. We thank all of you for having shared your experiences of being pressed by the Troika, of being unpaid in your workplace or having lost it and who have to struggle the same struggle for survival than us on a daily level.

For us it was not easy to leave this place. With some of you we could not even say good-bye. We would have liked to stay with you. In our hearts the idea of a welcoming island at the entrance of Europe remains. We want to give you a promise: we will return again! Until then we will do our best to spread all the stories about incredible encounters with people who gave us the strength to continue.

We hope we can leave some memories for you and to have been able to express properly what belongs to all of you who have been involved to keep alive the idea that humanity is possible. That it is possible even when there are forces who try to put pressure on your island to host all these ugly forces of a deadly border regime.

We want to continue together with you. May Lesvos be known as a place full of memories of successful struggles against prisons and walls and the war against refugees at sea. We want no more victims of this regime. We want to stop this senseless loss of lives.

In our heart and mind we are still here with you. We want to continue the struggle together with you and we will reach finally what we are longing for.

Against all prisons and walls!

For another, a welcoming Europe!

Welcome to europe and JOG-Youth without borders

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No to a new Pagani: The detention camp on Lesvos/Greece near Moria is the Pagani of the Troika!

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In front of the detention center. Copyright: Azadi

On Thursday we finally received the answer from Athens: With a short “no” the headquarter denied the access for “Youth without Borders” a selforganisation of young refugees who had applied at the Police Department Lesvos for an official delegation to visit the newly built detention camp on Lesvos close to the village of Moria. Many of us had been in the past imprisoned as well in what was called by a Greek minister “Dantes Inferno”. This old detention centre Pagani had to be closed after we struggled all together from inside and outside shouting for weeks and months “Azadi! Freedom!” until the last refugees had been released in the end of 2009. The very short negative answer to our official application proves what we already knew before: on the old military base close to Moria they try to hide again an inhuman prison. The official plan to treat refugees on this island remains the same: to keep them behind barbed wire, isolated from the society. The only thing that has changed is the amount of money coming from the EU to finance it.

At the fence inside of the detention center. Copyright: Azadi

At the fence inside of the detention center. Copyright: Azadi

Also without giving us access to speak with the detainees they cannot hide it any more. We have not been waiting for any bureaucratic procedures. In all our struggles to go further we have already learned that rights are nothing to beg for but to take them by ourselves. If you don’t want to close your eyes you just see what is happening – and you feel the need to get active.

Entering the detention center near Moria. Copyright: Azadi

Entering the detention center near Moria. Copyright: Azadi

We have already been inside the new detention camp on last Saturday, 12th of October 2013. After having met the first people released from this prison and having heard their sad stories we decided to go there and to have a look. When we went to the prison we found the door open and so a spontaneous Go-In-demonstration took place. About 50 activists, many of them selforganised refugees, went to the fenced containers with about 80 detainees on an old military area near the small village of Moria (10 km from Mytilini). Usually a gate should avoid direct contact, but as the door was not locked, we all went inside to talk to the jailed migrants and to put some banners on the fences. Obviously the police was surprised. Direct communication between the new arrived and the old-experienced refugees could happen in many languages. Visitor cards from www.w2eu.info and flyers were distributed through the fences.

Welcome to Europe through the fence. Copyright: Azadi

Welcome to Europe through the fence. Copyright: Azadi

The authorities tried to make the local population believe that they build a welcome and reception centre. They tried to hide the plans with dozens of container blocks also for long term detention with finally more than 700 detainees who can be held there up to 18 months. When we left the area of the detention centre on Saturday we went on to the small village of Moria to make another demonstration, to distribute our flyers (see below) and to come into a lot of discussions with the people on the street and in the cafés. Beside the main slogan – “No to a new Pagani, yes to a real welcome centre” – we used also a smaller banner with the text: “Pagani tis Troika, Pagani of the Troika!” – as the “modern” container style of detention is financed and forced by EU. A lot of people in Moria expressed their worries that the name of their village will become a shameful meaning like Pagani had it in the past. An old men sitting in a café chatted with others: “Before when I said to you that they will build secretly behind the wall a big prison you were laughing. Now you see all these young people: they know it from their own experience! When finally they will put also you in a prison you will not laugh any more.”

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In the village of Moria. Copyright: Azadi

We don’t need any permission to come and see. Our networks and friendship have been growing since 2009. They go beyond fences and borders. The first people who were released from the new prison, we knew already. They have stayed in the open selforganised welcome center in Pikpa before they were brought to Moria. An absurd situation: to register they had to spend many days in prison. They were welcomed by us after their release with a spontaneous freedom party, so we had a very clear picture about what was going on inside even before our short visit on Saturday. Inside we found friends who will tell us afterwards. The time of a hidden prison on this island is over – because you can never forbid our longing for freedom for the friends inside!

In the village of Moria. Copyright: Azadi

In the village of Moria. Copyright: Azadi

The more “No”s you give us, the more you try to press us down by racist controls (and we experienced several this week, in the port when some of us arrived, in the airport when some of us left and even directly in front of Tsamakia beach as a provocation) – the more you water the plant of our rage the more energy it gives us to tear down the walls and fences and to break your cages.

Everybody in Lesvos remembers the detention camp of Pagani, which conditions became an international scandal and which had to be closed soon after the Nobordercamp 2009 and mainly because of the continuous revolts from inside. Local authorities are afraid that the new detention will cause again international attention and solidarity. Last Saturday’s action is the beginning for this!

No one is illegal! Copyright: Azadi

No one is illegal! Copyright: Azadi

Flyer distributed in Moria:

No to a new Pagani!
Yes to real Welcome Center!

We are returning to the island of Lesvos four years after the succesful struggle to close Pagani. We are here to demonstrate against the new detention centre near the village of Moria, with the support of local and international activists. Migration is not a crime! We were in the detention centre of Pagani and we don’t want anybody else to have the same experience. The new detention centre will imprison up to 700 people for up to 18 months. The experience of an open centre such as the one in Pikpa shows that it is possible to register and welcome refugees without detention. The EU is wasting money on building new prisons and turning Europe into a big fortress.

Close the new detention centre! No to a new Pagani of the Troika!
Yes to a REAL welcome centre such as Pikpa! Yes to solidarity with migrants and refugees!

The Refugees Returning to Lesvos
Village of All Together
Welcome2Europe (lesvos.w2eu.net)
Youth Without Borders (www.jogspace.net)

No to a new Pagani! Yes to real Welcome Center!

No to a new Pagani!
Yes to real Welcome Center!
SONY DSC
We are returning to the island of Lesvos four years after the succesful struggle to close Pagani. We are here to demonstrate against the new detention centre near the village of Moria, with the support of local and international activists. Migration is not a crime! We were in the detention centre of Pagani and we don’t want anybody else to have the same experience. The new detention centre will imprison up to 700 people for up to 18 months. The experience of an open centre such as the one in Pikpa shows that it is possible to register and welcome refugees without detention. The EU is wasting money on building new prisons and turning Europe into a big fortress.

Close the new detention centre! No to a new Pagani of the Troika!
Yes to a REAL welcome centre such as Pikpa! Yes to solidarity with migrants and refugees!

The Refugees Returning to Lesvos
Village of All Together
Welcome2Europe (lesvos.w2eu.net)
Youth Without Borders (www.jogspace.net)

Press Release: Lesvos/ Greece the new European cage for migrants

Lesvos/ Greece the new European cage for migrants

The recent tragedies in Lampedusa have highlighted, once again, the prevailing indifference of the EU toward the fate of migrants. At the gates of Europe, in Italy as well as on the Greek islands, migrants are subjected to arbitrary and dangerous border controls and security measures that put their lives at risk.

In the last days more than 80 migrants succeeded in reaching the island of Lesvos despite the numerous illegal push backs that take place in the Aegean Sea. These women, children, and men, fleeing war-torn countries, dictatorial regimes or unsustainable socio-economic conditions, are subjected to violence and the indifference of the Greek and European authorities. In absence of any clear regulation, police and coast guard authorities keep the migrants who survive the dangerous sea crossing in a legal limbo, without any form of protection, care, and information.

Migrants who arrive on the island of Lesvos have to be registered in order to be able to leave the island. However, this registration is currently only happening after having been arrested and detained in a newly constructed detention facility near the village of Moria. Opened on the 25th of September 2013, the detention centre is officially described as a “first reception centre” but is de facto a closed camp, surrounded by fences and barbed wire. In the end it shall provide also about 600 places for longterm detention. The local police, assisted by the European agency Frontex, is responsible for identifying migrants, trying to obtain information concerning migration patterns. These procedures are not meant to offer protection for migrants but instead constitute strategies for further control, surveillance and deterrence. Applying for asylum is currently impossible. Continue reading

Goodbye Mytilene!

For many of the young people the past two weeks have been special:

For the ones who had arrived in Lesvos some years ago and have reached other EU-countries and built their lives there.
For the ones who are fighting for their rights and the rights of all others in Germany and elsewhere.
For the ones who have newly arrived on Lesvos and are currently trying to find a way out from Greece.

We wish all of them a safe and good journey!

Kalo taksidi!
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Oktober 2013: Memorial in Thermi

12th of October 2013

We came together today. Here in the harbour of Thermi we gathered for remembering the dead of the European border regime.

In the last years about 20.000 people have been killed by these murderous borders – here in the Aegean, at the street of Gibraltar and many have been lost in the Mediterranean between Lybia and Italy. The numbers of deaths at the European borders have increased tremendously.

Since the Lampedusa tragedy with more than 300 dead a few days ago and yesterday another tragedy happend in front of the Italian island. All over Europe there is an outcry: this senseless death at the border has to be stopped! There should be safe ways for refugees to reach Europe!
Continue reading