Between a rock and a hard place.
This is how it feels right now be on Lesvos. Different forces outside of our control seemingly decide our actions, and the actions of many of our friends. While this is ofcourse generally true, it feels more immediate now. It feels like we can see the slipstream of different consequenses cross eachother, with no time for any to be fully brought to a close. A week ago the popululation of Lesvos seemed to be united against closed camps and the police force that was send here to make sure that would happen.
Things escalated when last week the proposed location was announced as a plot of land close to the village of Matamados. The local population immediatly let it be know they would not have it. In response to this the national goverment send 14 units of riot police to the Island to “contain the situation”. Massive Protest with both sides of the political spectrum fighting the same enemy followed by a 2 day General strike, plus roadblocks and an all out attack on the army barracks that housed the policemen forced them to leave.
After sending the police force home in shame, the facist thugs decided their next target would be the foreigners that are helping the migrants. Already the day after the cops left the first attacks happend. Over the week it only intensified, and last night, the roads in and out of Mytillini where blocked with the fire and smoke of hate, the gathering of people with the single minded goal that everything not “from here” is evil, and must be erradicated. Volunteers and migrants have been verbally threatend, attacked.People have been followed, photographed and these have been spread on social media. Cars and spaces have been attacked, windows smashed and car tires slashed. Some of the bigger NGO’s have more or less evacuated their volunteers form the Island.
On top of that, Turkey has openend its borders towards europe and send busses full of migrants to the land border near Evros. Smugglers where on live tv declaring that they would ferry people to the Islands for free. Being aware of this, the locals and fashists organised themself to stop this from happening.
At a boatlanding during the day, near the village of Thermi, they tried to physically stop a dinghy from landing. The coastgoard and frontex, the guardians of our civilisation, left a dinghy in the water for more then 9 hours.
People already frightend being left on the cold sea.
Then, Greece decided to close the borders for one month.
In all of this, more even than us, the migrants themselves are being used as pawns. Stripped of all possibilitys for self determiniation, like a leaf in a fast flowing river. However bad it might be for us, who chose to be here, it is even harder for those who cant leave. Those who are constantly reminded of the fact that the place they traveled too at risk of their lives and with nothing, doesn’t want them. When the first thing you see when you arrive after a cold, dark travel over water, a mob is waiting for you with weapons, ready to beat you up.
“All the way up high in the Ivory tower. That’s where those who decide the fate of the majority of the people sit. High above the clouds the view to below is obscured. They sit there on purpose, so they can act on their wims and not be burderdend by the consequenses of their actions. Far removed from the people that implicitly allow them to play their games.”
As long as we tolerate our neighbours, old friends, family, collegues or anyones casual passive racism, it has the potential to explode. And you will one day find these people with facists on the street, shouting to exterminate all that is other. From the people we allow to set to policy, to the bureacrats who sign the checks, to their collaborators in the working class, to the pigs who protect them, all of them are guilty. And as long as we leave this hate unchallenged we are too.