Lesvos/ Greece 15.-26. August 2015
Next week, in August 2015 we will return once again to the border– to the places of our first arrivals and encounters, to one of Europe’s gates and transit zones.
We will continue to warmly welcome all newcomers and we want to empower them through our presence. In the very moment as they challenge the European borders we will stand by them.
If the European border regime becomes history it will be washed ashore by the wave of our collective NO; our NO to be exposed to war and repression, our NO to be excluded from education and healthcare, our NO to be exploited and forgotten. Even if our “No” is not always shout out loud, it vibrates in every single step of our journeys.
We feel solidarity and a strong connection with our friends in Greece, who have been confronted with the brutality of the European elites in another way. Their Oxi! gave us hope when most of us, after a long journey, tried to find a place in Europe, tried to figure out the relation to and within the European society. As new European citizens we demand equal rights for everyone. Obviously, not only migrants are nowadays used as scapegoats in Europe, but also those who say no to an austerity program without alternative.
We come back to Mitilini in a time when it is a zone of transit. It is a chaotic situation, more than ever before. We are aware of the humanitarian crisis produced by the governments in Central and Northern Europe that do not take responsibility. There is massive support from the Greek society, there are catering companies who prepare food without being paid for months while the EU only funds detention centres, threatening even the Greek government that they have to pay back EU money should they turn detention facilities into open reception centers.
We come back in a time when lots of inhabitants of Lesvos are engaged in day-to-day solidarity work for the newcomers. We know that this is a big challenge for all. Especially in a time when a lot of NGOs and support structures take responsibility that cannot be taken by the Greek government because of lacking financial resources. We follow the stories of all the helpful hands who welcome the newcomers, who offer food and water, who donate clothes, who transport the people risking to be criminalized for this humanitarian act. We are impressed by how many people, inhabitants and tourists, stand together against the cruel propaganda of the right wing policy. To find solutions through solidarity is the best way to say “No” to all the propaganda.
We will try to support these solidarity networks and we stand with the newcomers who suffer on the streets, left without care by the European Union, who is not taking responsibility to open at least legal ways within Europe. We know the routes laying in front of them, via the train-tracks in Macedonia, through the Serbian forests up to the dangerous zone in Hungary, the closest door to reach the north – and the next country that is taking fingerprints that contain the risk of being deported back. We know it because some of us walked these routes and we are part of those who tore down the Dublin-system of inner-European deportations. This is what we will tell our children and grandchildren.
We will come and help to respond to daily needs together with all the others who have been doing this since months. Besides sun-hats for children and shoes, we will try to bring as much useful information and contacts as possible for the travellers. We know from our own history that this is probably the most needed: to find contacts and to build own networks. We will listen to their stories and share ours in unforgettable encounters, because the moment of transit can be a moment when you envision what you want to reach.
We will remember the border deaths. We are against the continuous loss of lives at sea – a sea that is a connection between Europe and Asia and which could be so beautiful. All these dead people would not have died, if there were safe ways to reach Europe and freedom of movement.
We are going in a time that is full of worries. Some of us will miss relatives who are still affected by the war in Syria or by the newly started Turkish military interventions against the Kurdish areas in Northern Iraq and Syria. Some of us will be thinking of their families in different countries and feel the loss of not being united.
We will do our small contribution and empower all those who struggle for another world with equal social rights for everyone. We are very happy to join all those who have been doing this work for months. We will dance for freedom of movement on all walls and borders until they fall. We are looking forward to meet you soon!
About the first and second journey:
2014: Second Journey back to the borders -> Documentation
2013: First Journey back to the borders -> Documentation