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Memorial in Thermi, 29th of September 2019

They demand us to struggle and to invent a Europe of solidarity, overcoming the deathly migration regime.”

When we came together on Sunday in the harbour of Thermi to remember the dead of the European border regime, we could not know what would happen only shortly afterwards again: that people would lose their lives, when a fire broke out and many containers burnt down inside Moria camp.

Faride Tajik, an afghan mother lost her life. Whether she died together with her child is still unclear.

It was no surprise and no accident, it is not the first time and not the last time. This cruel system of deterrence and blocking of the European migration regime killed them. We face again the cruelty and the deadliness of this border regime in these days. On Tuesday 24 September, during the memorial in Korakas , we learned that a 5-year-old boy had lost his life when he was run-over by a truck in front of the hot-spot Moria. On Friday 27 September a boat was sinking close to Chios and 7 people, among them two children lost their lives.

On Sunday, when several containers already burned in a huge fire with a lot of smoke, those imprisoned and locked in the closed sector of the camp, started in panic to try to break the doors – and the response of the police was throwing tear-gas to add it to the smoke to a toxic mix.

The spontaneous speech Kashef held in the end of the memorial can be seen in a way as a comment on this before we all knew it.

Continue reading Memorial in Thermi, 29th of September 2019

Δεν ήταν ατύχημα!

Αιτία θανάτου: Η πολιτική αποτροπής και κράτησης της Ευρώπης!

Photo: private

Χθες, Κυριακή 29 Σεπτεμβρίου 2019, ξέσπασε πυρκαγιά στο λεγόμενο hotspot της Μόριας στη Λέσβο. Μια γυναίκα και πιθανώς και ένα παιδί έχασαν τη ζωή τους στη φωτιά, ενώ παραμένει ασαφές πόσοι άλλοι τραυματίστηκαν. Πολλοί άνθρωποι έχασαν στη φωτιά όλα τους τα υπάρχοντα, ακόμα και τα χαρτιά τους. Οι άνθρωποι που βρίσκονται εγκλωβισμένοι στη Λέσβο έφύγαν λόγω των πολέμων και των συγκρούσεων και τώρα βιώνουν τη βία στην Ευρώπη. Πολλές και πολλοί τραυματίστηκαν ξανά από αυτά τα τραγικά γεγονότα, ενώ αρκετές και αρκετοί αναγκάστηκαν να διανυκτερεύσουν στο δάσος φοβούμενοι για τις ζωές τους. Continue reading Δεν ήταν ατύχημα!

This was not an accident!

They died because of Europe’s cruel deterrence and detention regime!

Photo: private

Yesterday, on Sunday 29 September 2019, a fire broke out in the so-called hotspot of Moria on Lesvos Island in Greece. A woman and probably also a child lost their lives in the fire and it remains unclear how many others were injured. Many people lost all their small belongings, including identity documents, in the fire. The people imprisoned on Lesvos have fled wars and conflicts and now experience violence within Europe. Many were re-traumatised by these tragic events and some escaped and spent the night in the forest, scared to death.

Over the past weeks, we had to witness two more deaths in the hotspot of Moria: In August a 15-year-old Afghan minor was killed during a violent fight among minors inside the so-called “safe space” of the camp. On September 24, a 5-year-old boy lost his life when he was run-over by a truck in front of the gate.

The fire yesterday was no surprise and no accident. It is not the first, and it will not be the last. The hotspot burned already several times, most tragically in November 2016 when large parts burned down. Europe’s cruel regime of deterrence and detention has now killed again.
Continue reading This was not an accident!

“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.

Continue reading “The sea should know this.”

Memorial 24th of April 2018

Foto: Marily Stroux

On 24 of April 2018 one year had passed since 22 people among them two children lost their lives in the boat accident north of Lesvos. Rescue teams managed many hours later to rescue two women alive, one of them pregnant in the 8th month.

Sylvie and Joelle and the little girl Victoria, born in Mitilini just one month later, came again to Lesvos to remember this year. Together with the rescue teams of Refugee Rescue / Mo chara and with the activists from Watch the Med Alarm Phone and Welcome to Europe they returned to the place the rescued women and also the dead bodies had been brought one year ago.


Foto: Marily Stroux

Also the spotting teams who still care every night at the beaches to spot boats on the way from the Turkish to the Greek side, Lighthouse relief and The Hope Project, joined the invitation to the three women.

On 22nd of April we travelled with the survivors on the ferry to Lesvos. At the ships restaurant we introduced them and their story to the crew who have been really touched to have survivors on board.

During our dinner officers of the crew came at the entrance of the restaurant obviously to see with their own eyes the survivors. We got very positive wishes from the crew for the future and an appreciation for making a memorial.


Foto: Marily Stroux

We all met in the morning of 24th of April in Skala Sikaminias. The rhib of Refugee Rescue, Mo Chara, drove out with a floral wreath to put it in the sea exactly at the place where the women have been found and the dead bodies collected.

In the meantime all people went to the beach and enrolled a 30 metres long list of all known names of people who died in the European borders the last years. 33.305 names, 33.305 stories, 33.305 deaths that should never have happened.


Foto: Marily Stroux

The following text was read in Greek and English and then Joelle sang a song of her home-country that she was singing in the sea while trying to keep up the hope to be rescued.


Sylvie made a prayer to thank god for giving them a new life.

After we had a minute of silence to remember the 22 dead travellers.

Returning to Skala Sikaminias promising to ourselves not to give up supporting the newcomers and continue rescuing.


Foto: Marily Stroux

It is now 8 years ago, that we from Welcome to Europe made the first memorial for dead Afghan people in Korakas, thanking the fishermen for rescuing a baby and her parents that day.


Since then many more people arrived on Lesvos and the other islands oft the Aegean. But also many died and never arrived to their dream. In Europe they wish to find peace and a respectful life.


The fisherman continue to rescue – but there are also the rescue and spotting teams to support and work together now. As long as the European borders remain closed and militarised, the only option for fleeing people will be to risk their lives and we all have to be there for them.

One week later we returned to Piraeus with the same ferry and hand over in the bord-restaurant the memorial speech from Skala Sikaminias to one of the crew members we know. He thanks and disappears and returns some time later. He says he read it loud in the kitchen and everyone was crying and that they all thank us for doing it. Even he adds the people from the second bord-restaurant called him to read it also to them.


Memorial speech Skala Sikaminias

24 April 2018

Today, we come together here in Skala Sikaminias to remember the dead of the European borders.

Foto: Marily Stroux

We come here together with Joelle, Sylvie and Victoria. They survived when their boat sank in the North of this island on 23rd of April 2017. In the many hours that they spent in the sea, before they were rescued, they both asked themselves where the others had disappeared.

22 travelers did not survive that day, among them 2 Syrian children, and were later collected by the authorities’ vessels and the rescue teams.

Only one month later, Joelle gave birth to Victoria here in Mitilini – and this little girl reminds us that life continues.

Foto: Marily Stroux

Still, every year the dying continues due to the Europe’s border regime. And every year we renew the promise to remember those who have died. We will work to ensure safe passage until the deaths at Europe’s borders stop.


Because it has not stopped – even though many of us have tried hard. In 2018, to this day, more than 559 people have been killed in the Mediterranean Sea. We have been in touch with many people who have survived shipwrecks – as well as people who have given testimonies of death on the routes, before people even reach the sea.

Today, we are here together with people who still have eyes on the water, spotting. People who are still on the sea, with Search and Rescue boats. People who were fishermen and became rescuers, who had to take the dead bodies from the sea. People who started a hotline for open communication, to try avoid all these deaths. People who held the relatives and friends of the drowned after they discovered the loss. People who shared parts of the way with the survivors.


Foto: Marily Stroux

All of us have not shut our eyes. We remember and we won’t forget.
We all feel shame, because these deaths highlight our failure in our attempt to stop this murderous regime and to create a welcoming Europe.

We remember our friends, whose lives were lost after they had managed to escape war, after they risked death when crossing one border after the other clandestinely, and after finally reaching Europe.

Here and today, we want to stop for a moment and create a space for all those who lost their lives. Remembering here means we save the stories of the uncounted who died at the borders of Europe. They died in the sea, they died at the deadly inner-European borders.

Foto: Marily Stroux

They had left their homes to change their lives. Their death is a death in search for freedom. And that concerns us all.


There have been, and will be, many more names and many more stories.

We will never forget all of them and today we want to remember especially the friends of Joelle and Sylvie.
We will remember them. All of them have families and friends they left behind – who cannot be here with us, because these borders separate them even now.

So let us speak out their names:

– Maman Nicole – she lives!
– Chochou – she lives!
– Gilaine – she lives!
– Sylvia – she lives!
– Tedy – he lives!
– Fati – he lives!
– Mali – he lives!
– Pider – he lives!
– Peter – he lives!
– Junior – he lives!
– The Syrian family with two children – they live!
– And the unidentified other 8 travellers that lost their lives in that boat – they live!

We will never forget them.
We promise to do our best to tear down the borders that caused their deaths.
We invite you to have a quiet moment in memory of them – and then to move on: to tear down the borders and to build a new, more welcoming Europe.

Refugee Rescue – Lighthouse Relief – The hope project – w2eu – Watch the Med Alarmphone


Memorial text in Greek: Μνημόσυνο 24.4. 2018-Greek

Memorial text in French: Memorial speech Skala Sikaminias-français

Video of the memorial ceremony:


Foto: Marily Stroux