“The sea should know this.”

Memorial in Korakas – 24.September 2019

When we walk down to Korakas’ lighthouse the sky is cloudy. Already from up you can see the colours of life-vests, probably from the last landings tonight and yesterday. We find leftovers that create a feeling as if there are still many more people with us. Those who continued to go towards their destinations and those whose journey ended here and their voices were silenced by the sea. Tonight 335 newcomers on nine boats arrived safely on the island – seven of the boats here in the north, with many very small children on them, picked one by one by the friends who are constantly here assisting in rescues and landings.

Together we renew the memorial we had set up here 9 years ago when we came with little Marila and her parents in October 2010. We remembered together with them the night on 27 October 2009, when they had been on a boat together with Afghan women, their small children and some minors. Short before landing at Korakas, the boat turned over and all people fell in the sea. Yalda (8), Neda (10), Mehdi (4), Zakia, Tsima, Sonia (6), Abdulfasl (3) and Zomaya lost their lives. The baby Marila and her parents were rescued by Stratis, a brave fishermen who jumped into the water to save them. One year later they came together to meet again. And we put this memorial on the lighthouse to commemorate.

Foto: Marily Stroux

Now we came back – most of us not the first time since 2010. So the air is also full of memories of the time in between, in 2015 and 2016 when so many people climbed up this road and went on to reach other places in Europe. Also Marila and her family finally arrived in Sweden.

We renewed the memorial, where the names within 9 years in the hot summer sun and the sea-salt had nearly become invisible to bring them back into the memories. We then read out a text of Khaled Hosseini, a letter of a father to his son. He wrote it after the picture of small Alan Kurdi went around the world on 2nd of September 2015. He dedicated it to all the families torn apart when forced to flee and to all those who lost their lives at sea.

While we are down in Korakas we receive the news about a 5-year-old afghan boy, who just died being run-over by a truck in front of Moria, when he played inside a cardboard. Only a few days after authorities have shut down the kindergarden of “teamhumanity” were hundreds of children had played safely before.

Foto: Ehab

Later on when we speak about our impressions of the day, Ehab remembers his own trip when he went to the island of Samos:

When we entered the boat, we thought we are all alone and no one thinks of us. Nobody knows that we face the danger of death. I realised in this moment when we stand all together there in Korakas in all our sadness that this was not true. There are people who care. This is maybe the moment in which you feel that there is humanity. We have never been alone.

Mojtaba adds:

When I went down to the shore, I started to pick up the leftovers of those who arrived recently. I found an asylum seekers card of a child in Turkey. And when I picked it from the ground I had the feeling as if I would destroy somehow a museum. As if it has to stay there because it belongs to a documentation of what was and the next person should find it there to understand. In this place down there, immediately you can feel the people, it seems you can see them in front of you and hear them how they talk. You can feel the continuity of all this and that people will continue to be on the move. You can feel them all as if they are with you. These memorials are a very strong part of this struggle not to forget.