Moria / Lesbos: “This looks like the end of the world here!”

A father tries to help his son after another tear gas attack by lightening a small fire and holding the smoke near his eyes / copyright: Salinia Stroux

A father tries to help his son after another tear gas attack by lightening a small fire and holding the smoke near his eyes / copyright: Salinia Stroux

“Why don’t the authorities apply a registration system that works? Who is the responsible here? I really would like to speak to him. There are easy solutions to the problem. I am in the queue for three days and three nights now. Look around. This looks like the end of the world here!”

Refugees trying to protect themselves from the tear gas / copyright: Salinia Stroux

Refugees trying to protect themselves from the tear gas / copyright: Salinia Stroux

The young Eritrean man is one among very few compatriots. Most of the refugees in Moria come from Afghanistan and Iraq. There are two queues along the gates of Moria and in the front a bundle of the most desperate trying to enter by force. Families with small babies and toddlers are trying to make their way through the masses to reach the front of the queue in order to get prioritized.

Refugees are escaping the tear gas in Moria / copyright: Salinia Stroux

Refugees are escaping the tear gas in Moria / copyright: Salinia Stroux

“The police say the families should come to the front to enter first. But every time we reach the front and get near the gates they throw tear gas on our babies. My child couldn’t breathe anymore. I had to give up. Many others are crying from the pain. They are afraid.

A cloud of people infant of the gates of Moria is waiting for registration all through the night / copyright: Salinia Stroux

A cloud of people infant of the gates of Moria is waiting for registration all through the night / copyright: Salinia Stroux

Another woman lost her 2-year-old girl in the chaos. One child was carried away insensate. We all thought it died. I don’t know what happened to it,” The young Afghan mother carries a toddler on her arms. Her eyes are filled with tears and she is holding her scarf infant of her mouth while she is speaking.

An angry father gets out of the cloud with his wife and daughter. The people have moved again some steps back after another load of tear gas.

“This has to stop! Denounce what is going on here. Tell it to the world.”

All around Moria, every empty inch has been filled with bodies of exhausted refugees trying to get some minutes of sleep before getting back to the struggle for a document.

Refugee sleeping outside of the almost empty First Reception Centre / copyright: Salinia Stroux

Refugee sleeping outside of the almost empty First Reception Centre / copyright: Salinia Stroux

An Afghan man carries his 1-year-old toddler up and down trying to calm him. “My wife got separated from me on our way from Molyvos where we arrived. She is with our four other children walking towards Moria. I have to wait here at the gate for her. My sons diapers are wet. I don’t have anything to change him. He cries for the milk of his mom.

This newborn Iraqi and its brothers and sisters are just "covered" by a plastic net from the police harvest / copyright: Salinia Stroux

This newborn Iraqi and its brothers and sisters are just “covered” by a plastic net from the police harvest / copyright: Salinia Stroux

A few meters away sit some Iraqi families. Two of them have newborns. They sit on the dusty ground next to their backpacks. All of their clothes are wet. No blankets, no milk, no dry clothes, no food, no place in any tent for them. There is just the hug of the mothers and fathers for their children. Nothing more.

….

Refugees in Moria need a proper registration procedure. They need more tents and blankets / sleeping bags. They need food and water and dry clothes. Most of all they need to be treated like human beings.

All photos copyright: Salinia Stroux

The infomobile

... is like a “paper boat”. We chose this as a metaphor for what we want to create and for the situation of refugees and migrants in Greece. The paper boat is a folded boat able to swim – for a while. Then you have to build a new one to go on travelling. A paper boat is symbolic for the journey of life, vulnerable but in your own hands and to be recreated again and again. It is simple, but it carries many hopes and dreams. It can dance on a turbulent sea. It belongs to everybody. And it might become the small version – like a first draft – of a welcome-space.

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