Lesvos, February 5th and 6th, 2016: In Pictures

My social networks’ feeds are still full with posts about Lesvos. Accommodation and car sharing, latest news on European cold policy. Latest news on demos pro-asylum, anti-fascists, pro or anti-governments. Little by little, I hide some of these posts. I don’t need to see who needs a lift to Moria from Thermi, for example. And somehow I also don’t want to be reminded that people are still stranded there. I want to go back to the train arrivals in Berlin, I need to free my mind again in order to be ready to welcome people here. I really don’t want to have those Frontex boats in mind anymore. They look like war ships and I don’t understand why Europe has to protect itself from people. I’m scared by all I hear by so-called conservatives who are what we would have called eighty years earlier fascists. The rhetoric against migrants reminds of that spatted against other “minorities” before World War II. For all those reasons, I wish I could forget Lesvos. But no matter how hard I try to hide the island from my newsfeed, it is in my mind, all the time, and I know others volunteers are still on the field. And there is that Dora the Explorer hat, which I brought back, to show to my kids at school. But – that’s a story for another day – they already found it difficult to hear that I was on the island so I didn’t have the heart to show it to them. Especially since a couple of them came by the same route. They don’t need a reminder either.

This is a journey we take, as volunteers. It’s not half as painful as the journey endured by those who come to us, but it is painful to realize that despite so many good wills, so much remains to be done, and so much is undermined by political games. I came to Lesvos on what is called “a quiet week”. A week during which “only” a small amount of refugees reached the island.

For the last two days of my trip, I decide to try and take pictures of what I see. Because people back home told me it made a difference to see it from people they personally knew. Because Greek friends I met through another volunteer in Berlin told me as well, that my insight had enlightened them on the subject, because they didn’t trust their own medias. I should give figures, as well, but for the moment I have only pictures to share. They speak volumes as well.

I stick to the Tea Tent during those last two days, because it feels good to be part of a team you like and with whom you can work well. I love being able to provide a little relief to our guests who traveled for so long. But I said that already. So I will focus on talking about the camps itself. I had mentioned that there was an official Moria, and an unofficial camp. Ours, the unofficial, looks appalling. But the official one isn’t more welcoming. In fact, when I think of it, nothing is really appealing about Europe once you set foot in it as a refugee on Lesvos.

20160202_181053
Win the lottery: you may enter the official camp if, and only if, you are from one of these nationalities. Otherwise, it’s Afghan Hill.
  •  Afghan Hill: the unofficial Moria camp.

 

  • Official Moria Camp

 

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