Syrian Refugees and Greeks

Syrian and Iraqi immigrants getting off a boat from Turkey on the Greek island of Lesbos. Photo found on Wikipedia.

The picture above of all those people in the sea. The ‘refugees’, as they’re called. The picture above is not a painting to hang on your wall. Europe, can you hear me? Can you hear me, Europe? I’m calling you! What have you done again? How many (more) people have to die? Your policies for the migrants’ extinction are all set, aren’t they?

I happen to come from Greece, although I am based in Berlin. I talk with my family on a daily basis. They say things aren’t good down there. Well, if you read the news, I mean, it’s kind of obvious, isn’t it? Last year, around the same time, Greece was featured on each and every newspaper frontpage. Not for a good reason, of course. I remember that time very well because it hasn’t been that easy for a Greek in Germany to have a non-heated conversation about the financial crisis. The media have been playing the cards of the stereotypes and since people prefer to be simple-minded these days, I’ve experienced first-hand how it is to be treated as a piece of land. You see, the thing is that when you’re coming from a let’s-call-it ‘troubled’ country/area, you stop being seen as an individual with hopes and dreams. You’re seen as THE country/THE area/THE stereotypical views of your roots.

A haunting shot from Idomeni last week (Photo by Bastian Fischer)

A haunting shot from Idomeni last week (Photo by Bastian Fischer)

When the migrants influx started ‘threatening’ Europe, the poor, border country of mine found an ally in Germany. The two countries were unlikely to co-operate, considering their long-lasting feud. But in the rising of a larger, universal and existential complication, the two countries stood side by side and decided to follow the same ‘strategy* regarding the Syrian refugees.

My personal theory is that Germany saw their plans of ‘saving Greece” falling apart after realizing the magnitude of the ‘problem’.

Whatever the case is, Merkel made a bold move. She took all the weight on her shoulders and started acting fast. But her fellows at the European Union had other plans and views.

The migrants are people. They’re not something we borrowed and now that we’re bored of it, we plan to return it back to its owner.

It’s shocking how the European Union acts in unity when they’re opposing something they don’t agree with. There you see passion and fierceness. There you realize how dirty they play.

The media do not even know what they’re writing about. There is no chance to get informed without getting even more confused.

Why on earth Austria has come to the front of all negotiations now? Why do they back up the Balkans on closing their borders? Should all the refugees and migrants stay in Greece? How is it possible that the EU is asking Turkey to take migrants back? It’s people, not something we borrowed! Why are those people treated like a non-existent arithmetic problem? It’s not that Europe doesn’t have the capacity, after all! Europe should have been the last one to complain, why all this resentment? The refugees/migrants/call-them-as-you-want wish for a new home and a new life after they lost everything. They don’t want to sit on the neck of someone, they want to start over. From the other hand – and everybody can speak for their own countries, there are all these small cities and villages that are literally empty and lacking a young spirit since local youths are turning to the bigger cities. Why do we pretend we have no land for those devastated people?

Photographer Bastian Fischer captured this scene from the Idomeni border.

Austria said – well, scratch that, Kurz said, although he’s not happy with Greece failing to protect the European borders, he (Austria) will offer to Greece and Lebanon 5 million euros as in humanitarian aid. The Balkans have been now officially closing their borders. And even if they hadn’t, most Eastern European countries have closed their doors, anyway. There, there I see the migrants and the Greeks stuck in the middle. Without a land, without jobs, without food, without homes. Without a hope. What is this system, what is this inhumane world? If people do not hear the people, where do we go?

So now along with my other counsels inscribe this piece of wisdom: time becomes the touchstone of the stranger, an immigrant group in a foreign land, which bears the brunt of every evil tongue, and is the easy target of calumny.

An extract from ‘The Suppliants’ (or ‘The Suppliant Maidens’) of Aeschylus.

At my second year at the drama school and for our final exams, we performed Aeschylus’ ‘The Suppliants’. I don’t think that, at the time, I had the maturity required to fully appreciate and understand that beautiful piece. I won’t say much more other than pointing out that it’s an ancient Greek tragedy that’s estimated to have been written around 490 B.C. That being said, it’s too sad realizing that instead of progressing, we pedal backwards towards a dead end. What’s maybe funny, if you fancy a bit of dark humour, that’s how forgetful people tend to be when it comes to their history. And how petty can they be while defending their toys.

If you want to actively help those who are in need NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION can highly recommend the fundraising project of JIM KROFT right here.