Borderline Lesvos: Annual Activities Report 2019
We want to support refugees, migrants and locals on the island of Lesbos. After some years now on the island it is very frustrating to see that the reasons why so many people suffer is a political decision that started by signing the EU-Turkey Deal in March 2016. Main initiators are Angela Merkel and the German government. The idea is to keep people off of the European “mainland”, somewhere where we can’t see them and to close the borders so that people seeking protection will end up somewhere outside of “our” societies. Here, now, with more than 20 000 refugees isolated and imprisoned on an island, everyone starts to turn against everyone. Locals blame NGOs for attracting migrants, NGOs blame the Greek government for not acting, the Greek government blames the refugees to come here “illegally”, refugees blame the local authorities for not helping, the helpers blame the ignorance of the European Union, the EU blames Turkey and this list goes on and on. At the end, we don’t know who is responsible but it is definitely not the migrants and refugees, neither the locals. To really change things here is impossible. Without the freedom of movement and the abolition of containment policy to keep humans in camps without caring for their basic rights and without giving people from war or crisis zones a possibility for safe passage people will suffer and some of them will die. Facing the truth does not mean to step back. On the contrary it means to speak out loud and stand up for the people that are neglected in Europe.
During the last year we decided to look for realistic solutions and be flexible. I am proud to say that our team gives hope and support to some of the most vulnerable living on the island. What makes us think we did great work is that we “involve locals”, we are locals, we all, working within the projects, live here. We fight for justice maybe in small cycles but there we feel that we can change things. We see everyone we teach a class or help to find a job or give a ride to a safe place as a local, as someone with the right to be here. This is the big difference to the politics that we make. We don’t see numbers, or “asylum seekers”, we see humans, and we will not step back. We cannot build public schools for everyone nor open the borders nor give a residence card to people, but we can stand side by side and try to come near these goals. All this wouldn’t be possible without the help of our supporters.