Dispatch from Lesvos: “We are not going to stop helping”

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In the past month, more than 90 people have lost their lives trying to find peace and safety in Europe by crossing the Mediterranean from Turkey into Greece, adding to the 3,700 deaths that occurred in 2015.  Meanwhile, the geopolitics of fear are ramping up.  Sweden is planning to “send back” 80,000 asylum seekers.  Bulgaria is threatening to close its borders.  Some EU countries want to kick Greece out of the Schengen area, which permits free passage in and out of EU countries. Thugs have bombed the homes of refugees and politicians who know better are accusing innocent people of terrorism.

Among these xenophobic reactions to human tragedy is the European Union’s reported plan to criminallifeize the acts of human beings helping other human beings in the Greek Islands.  The justification is that volunteers are “encouraging” more migration — as if people who are risking their lives to escape torture and bombs are motivated by the prospect of a bottle of water and dry clothes at the end of a treacherous journey on a rubber raft.  http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/europe/article4678348.ece

Does the leadership of the richest region of the world actually plan to arrest people for saving other people from drowning? Does it hope or expect that anyone would stand by where people are facing death or injury?

Those leading the grassroots volunteers on Lesvos responded immediately and emphatically to the prospect of being arrested as “smugglers” for helping the refugees who arrive on the island’s shores:

“We are not going to stop helping.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UWa9u-W6eU
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The Greek government is responding as well.  Today, its navy ships were seen patrolling the waters off the of Lesvos and picking up refugees to take them directly to the registration site in Mytilene.  No one seems to know exactly what this means but dispatching these boats required an act of political courage in an environment where the new normal appears to be treating victims of war as troublemakers.

The United States created this problem. It is time for the United States to take some responsibility for it.

“The United States blew the Middle East to pieces and ISIS is going to put it back together.”  British volunteer on Lesvos.
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything”  Albert Einstein

5 comments

  1. I heard Michael Jackson’s song “Man In The Mirror” today. It got to the part about the widow and it had new meaning….

    I’m Gonna Make A Change,
    For Once In My Life
    It’s Gonna Feel Real Good,
    Gonna Make A Difference
    Gonna Make It Right . . .

    As I, Turn Up The Collar On My
    Favourite Winter Coat
    This Wind Is Blowin’ My Mind
    I See The Kids In The Street,
    With Not Enough To Eat
    Who Am I, To Be Blind?
    Pretending Not To See
    Their Needs
    A Summer’s Disregard,
    A Broken Bottle Top
    And A One Man’s Soul
    They Follow Each Other On
    The Wind Ya’ Know
    ‘Cause They Got Nowhere
    To Go
    That’s Why I Want You To
    Know

    I’m Starting With The Man In
    The Mirror
    I’m Asking Him To Change
    His Ways
    And No Message Could Have
    Been Any Clearer
    If You Wanna Make The World
    A Better Place
    (If You Wanna Make The
    World A Better Place)
    Take A Look At Yourself, And
    Then Make A Change
    (Take A Look At Yourself, And
    Then Make A Change)
    (Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na,
    Na Nah)

    I’ve Been A Victim Of A Selfish
    Kind Of Love
    It’s Time That I Realize
    That There Are Some With No
    Home, Not A Nickel To Loan
    Could It Be Really Me,
    Pretending That They’re Not
    Alone?

    A Widow Deeply Scarred,
    Somebody’s Broken Heart
    And A Washed-Out Dream
    (Washed-Out Dream)
    They Follow The Pattern Of
    The Wind, Ya’ See
    Cause They Got No Place
    To Be
    That’s Why I’m Starting With
    Me
    (Starting With Me!)

    I’m Starting With The Man In
    The Mirror
    (Ooh!)
    I’m Asking Him To Change
    His Ways
    (Ooh!)
    And No Message Could Have
    Been Any Clearer
    If You Wanna Make The World
    A Better Place
    (If You Wanna Make The
    World A Better Place)
    Take A Look At Yourself And
    Then Make A Change
    (Take A Look At Yourself And
    Then Make A Change)

  2. The rescue and salvation of the dispossessed should be the central focus of all the world’s so-called “civilized” nations.

    Blame for this tragedy falls upon many, and it is the few who are really doing something to alleviate the pain and suffering who deserve our heartfelt thanks and support.

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