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 of course generally true, it feels more immediate now. It feels like we can see the slipstream of different consequences cross each other, with no time for any to be fully brought to a close. A week ago the population 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 Mantamados. The local population immediately let it be known they would not have it. In response to this the national government sent 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 fascist thugs decided their next target would be the foreigners that are helping the migrants. Already the day after the cops left the first attacks happened. Over the week it only intensified, and last night, the roads in and out of Mytilini 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 eradicated. Volunteers and migrants have been verbally threatened, 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 from the Island.
On top of that, Turkey has opened its borders towards Europe and sent buses full of migrants to the land border near Evros. Smugglers were on live TV declaring that they would ferry people to the Islands for free. Being aware of this, the locals and fascists organised themselves to stop this from happening.
At a boat landing during the day, near the village of Thermi, they tried to physically stop a dinghy from landing. The Coast Guard and Frontex, the guardians of our civilization, left a dinghy in the water for more then 9 hours.
People already frightened 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 possibilities for self determination, 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 to 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, is 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 whims and not be burdened by the consequences of their actions. Far removed from the people that implicitly allow them to play their games.”
As long as we tolerate our neighbors, old friends, family, colleagues or anybody’s casual passive racism, it has the potential to explode. And you will one day find these people with fascists on the street, shouting to exterminate all that is the other. From the people we allow to set policies, to the bureaucrats 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.
(via Athens Indymedia)