Category Archives: Journey back to the borders

Journey III: First Impressions

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The first morning we stay at the beach in Charamida with a bigger group: About 4AM some of us hear the sound of an engine, people shouting. Directly at the beach next to us a boat with refugees from Syria and Iraq arrived. We go to welcome them and bring them some water and biscuits. It is a group of about 40 people, among them many families with children, who arrived from Turkey after 4 hours in the sea.
We call the coastguard, we call the police, but without much hope that they will come and pick them.

There are so many arrivals these days and mostly the people have to walk and walk for hours until they reach Mitilini where they have to register in the port. The way from Charamida to Mitilini is long.
Continue reading Journey III: First Impressions

Arrival in Mytilini and construction of the camp

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The first groups of w2e and JoG arrived in Mytilini (Lesvos) / Greece. The people from Greece, Sweden, Germany and France arrived on different ways. Some of them flew to Athens or directly to Mytilini, others travelled by car and ferry. Some of them already met in Athens where they organized the infoguides in different languages. When the ferry arrived in Mytilini some of the people had to stay in the harbour because the cars were full of material. So they got some first impressions of the situation there. The others on their way to the camp already saw the first refugees who had just arrived.

They were on their way to the harbour where the first registration takes place. Our people went fast to the camp to unload the cars, then they drove back to catch up the refugees because the way from where they arrive to the harbour is very long and the heat makes it very hard to get there. Back in the harbour, they caught up the rest of our group to go back to the camp where the work started. The camping place was really dirty, full of garbage and a lot of things were broken, so everything had to be renovated and cleaned. Also the tents had to be build up. But it wasn’t possible to arrive slowly and relaxed because during the construction of the camp every night more and more refugees arrived on the island. So with the start of the camp the action began immediately.

Journey back to the border – Part III

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. Continue reading Journey back to the border – Part III

New Mytilene Booklet by JOG & w2eu / download in English

Lesvos documentation 2014/15

We came back to Lesvos in August 2014. We returned once again to the outer border of Europe which was for many of us the place of our first arrival here. Again it was a journey that was full of memories, full of new encounters with people who experience today what many of us have been facing in the past. In this boobklet you will find many impressions from these days.
This year we were a very mixed group: There were young people who have already received a right to stay in Germany
and Sweden and who came back to meet with those who didn’t yet find a way out of Greece. From Athens a whole group of refugees came who currently live in the ´Welcome Island and some who are friends we knew from our camping last year in Lesvos or from the tours in Greece and Turkey. The trip was organized once again by Youth without Borders (JOG) and´Welcome to Europe (w2eu), together with many local friends.
We experienced incredible days on Lesvos, days full of memories of our own suffering but also our own success stories.
We welcomed the newly arrived and we had many encounters at the harbour of Mytilene when people left to continue their
journeys. We mourned those who didn’t arrive but died at this border. We protested against the prison close to the village of Moria and we overcame the fence with music. We had some incredible parties in PIKPA, the self organised welcome centre. …

We promise to come back again! Until this border becomes history.

Letter of Protest against inhumane treatment of refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos

Berlin / Hamburg / Mytilene in August 2014

Dear Madams and Sirs,

We witnessed recently how refugees were exposed after their arrival on the island of Lesbos by an inhumane treatment by the Greek coast guard. With this letter we are protesting against this approach.

On Wednesday, 06th of August 2014, we planned, as part of our summer camp on the island of Lesvos from Youth Without Borders and Welcome-to-Europe (two anti-racist solidarity networks), to celebrate a party with and for refugees and migrants. We chose as the place the PikPa, an empty children’s camp, which had been converted by activists from Lesvos with the consent of the mayor to a welcome-center for providing the newly arrived refugees with a roof over their head, the first legal informations and food. As well on this Wednesday refugees from Turkey had arrived and spent the time waiting to be registered by the Greek authorities, in Pikpa. Finally, a Coast Guard bus arrived and about 35 of the refugees were to be picked up.
Continue reading Letter of Protest against inhumane treatment of refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos