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.
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→
PIKPA is a self-organised welcome center run since December 2012 by the civil society of Mytilene- Specifically the local network village of all together has been offered the former summer camp for youth by the municipality in order to host new arriving refugees. In the beginning the open camp was meant to host the homeless refugees who were arriving on the island and whom the police denied to arrest. When the local authorities started arresting the newcomers and the new first reception detentiuon center in Moria was opened PIKPA changed into a place hosting the ones released from detention who could not reach a ship at the day of release. Meanwhile numbers of newly arriving refugees have increased dramatically and to such a degree that they won’t fit in Moria detention center and again the authorities started transfering them to PIKPA. Refugees are currently first arrested by the coast guard, then transferred to PIKPA and then to to Moria.
In the frame of the second “back-to-the-border”-camp from youth without borders and the network welcome to europe a protest took place at August 10th 2014 in front of the detention center in Moria on Lesvos island.
About 80 people, mainly young refugees and migrants, organized a concert by Renovatio, Open Mike and a DJ in front of the so called “first reception center”.
Wednesday, 6th August 2014, first day at the harbour of Mitilini:
When I started telling the people my own story, that I came here via Greece and have been very long here and than made it out – it changed our relation immediately. I had all the memories from the past – it was exactly this harbour and it was exactly this place of my arrival. But the difference was: when I arrived here, nobody was there to explain anything to me or to say welcome.
We are now here in Mitilini on our second journey back to the border. In a group of activists from various countries – with many of us having arrived in Europe via the Greek islands – we decided to go daily to the harbour to meet with people who were released from the refugee-prison in Moria and sought to leave for Athens. On the first day we met 24 people, all of them Afghan refugees. After their arrival on the island by boat they were imprisoned in Moria. From there they were transferred directly by a police-van to the harbour. Most of them had been imprisoned for about one and a half weeks – and all of them were quite happy to be able to continue their trip. These days there are daily releases from the prison as there are daily arrivals too and people try to continue their trip with the ferries going to Athens. Upon release they receive a white paper (deportation order) that says that they have to leave the country within 30-days. When the 30 days are over they become undocumented again and fear imprisonment again only for this reason up to 18 months and more. Continue reading Traces Back Part II: Farewell to refugees released from Moria→