In October we, Welcome to Europe (W2EU) and Youth Without Borders, return again to Lesvos to the place of our first encounters, our first arrivals to Europe, the place that reflects the current EU border regime like no other. Many things have changed since our last “Journey back to the Border”: the infamous EU-Turkey deal has “helped” to decrease the numbers of arrivals of boats drastically compared to “the long summer of migration 2015”. Moria has been transformed into a “hotspot” with an immense number of NGOs providing their visions of humanitarian and financial aid.
The next week we want to inform on this blog about our actions on the island. It is especially for all those from our group who were not able to join the “Journey back to the Border” of this year.
You are here with us in our thoughts!!
19th of October
After days of preparation we started on Wednesday with visiting our Memorial in Thermi that we set up in 2013. The memorial commemorates 27 people that drowned in 2012 representing all the people that lost their lives at the border of Fortress Europe. We wanted to renew the stone to resist the harsh weather conditions of the Sea. First, we cleaned the place and met with local people to discuss the materials, design and ways how to maintain this place in the future. Then, we planned a ceremony that we want to hold on Monday to commemorate the ongoing death in the Mediterranean. Continue reading Journey Back to the Border 2016 on Lesvos – Part I→
Eida was born 1890, she is Syrian and all her children and grandchildren are in Germany. When they left she didn’t want to go and was taken care by a family in Kobane. When the family decided to go also Eida had no one anymore and decided to follow. After many adventures they arrived in Lesvos and stayed for 1 month in Moria Hotspot without any NGO organizing housing or care for the 126 year old lady. After they finally got their papers they travelled all together to Athens and went to a hotel. The wife and mother of the 4 small kids is giving birth these days and the Noborders Athens group supports the family and asks for financial support to manage to house this unbelievable travel group. Again it is activists that manage to show respect to fleeing people. One of the oldest women in this world fleeing, we all have to support her now!
Continue reading 126-year old woman arrived on Lesvos – fleeing to join her children and grandchildren in Germany→
Monday 13 October 2014, Mitilini. 9am, Court of Mitilini. Rabee a young Syrian fleeing from Aleppo, not wanting to take part in the war, arrived in Mitilini with his 2 brothers and his uncle on a boat. The coast guards chose him and his uncle out of the 22 people travelling on that boat and accused them of being facilitators. That was 5 months ago. Since then Rabee has been imprisoned in Athens in Avlona prison for minors, waiting for the trial that will give him his freedom. His older brother left for Sweden to join the rest of the family. He followed their plan to get to Sweden where more family members are. The youngest brother stayed in Athens waiting for Rabee to get free. They all could not believe that this nonsense accusation would last. Today Rabee’s uncle who came specially from Sweden to witness the trial and his small brother M. who waits since 5 months in Athens to continue his journey to his family in Sweden, were present in the court of Mitilini and wanted to be witnesses. Continue reading Court of Mitilini sentenced a 17-year-old Syrian refugee as facilitator→
Αυτήν την εβδομάδα ο Δήμαρχος της Μυτιλήνης κ. Γαληνός ανακοίνωσε ότι θα κλείσει το αυτοδιαχειριζόμενο κέντρο υποδοχής προσφύγων το τέλος Σεπτεμβρίου. Το ΠΙΚΠΑ διαχειρίζεται από το 2012 μία τοπική πρωτοβουλία με το όνομα «Το Χωριό του Όλοι Μαζί».
Την νύχτα της 18ης -19ης Σεπτεμβρίου ένα στρατιωτικό πλοίο μετέφερε έναν άγνωστο αριθμό προσφύγων από την φυλακή κοντά στο χωριό Μόρια προς έναν άγνωστό προορισμό, το πιθανότερο σε ένα από τα μεγάλα κέντρα κράτησης της ελληνικής ενδοχώρας, όπου θα έρθουν αντιμέτωποι με μεγάλες περιόδους κράτησης, επίσημα έως 18 μήνες. Στην πράξη μπορούν να κρατηθούν πολύ περισσότερο.
Mayor of Mitilini wants to close down self-organised Welcome Center for Refugees
This week the mayor of Mitilini, Mr. Galinos announced to close down Pikpa, the self-organised Welcome Center for refugees on Lesvos by the end of September. Since 2012, Pikpa is run by volunteers from the local initiative “Village of all together”.
In the night from 18th to 19th of September, a military ship transported an unknown number of refugees from the prison close to the village of Moria to an unknown destiny – most probably to one of the big camps on the Greek mainland, where they will have to face long periods of detention, officially up to 18 months but in practice sometimes even longer.
The announcement of mayor Galinos perfectly mirrors this situation. We read it as an announcement to not learn from the history of Lesvos island. To not learn from the hardships refugees had to go through in Pagani, a prison also known as “Dantes inferno”. To not learn from the struggles that had led to its closure. And to not learn from the two years of encouraging experiences made in running a real Welcome Center at the gates of Europe. Continue reading Mayor of Mitilini wants to close down self-organised Welcome Center for Refugees→