Bridge to nowhere: Syrian refugees in Greece Abuse and a cash-strapped government make it a difficult destination for those fleeing the war. fotos: anna psaroudakis
Athens, Greece – Passage to Greece was probably easier for Daoud Abdo and his family than for most Syrian refugees. It took the family of five just two weeks to travel by bus to Istanbul and cross the Evros river, which forms Europe’s southeastern-most land border. But the journey was still fraught with danger.
On Tuesday November 20 some of the migrants detained in Mytilini police station for undocumented entry into Greece through the Turkish border started a hunger strike in order to protest against the humiliating detention conditions and the long detention periods. They struggle for freedom. It is not known how many of them continue the struggle and if some have been already released or not.
Arrivals of migrants have started again this summer, fastly exceeding the capacities of detention cells in the local police stations of the island. Due to the general order “to keep them as long as possible in detention” overcrowdedness amongst others has been reported throughout the four months to worsen the detention conditions. Continue reading ‘Hungers strike of migrant detainees in Mytilini and racist attacks against homeless newcomers’
I URGENTLY PRESENT THIS PLEA OF HOPE FOR THESE REFUGEES IN ATHENS. ALL HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS, PLEASE PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THIS CRISIS! Friday 30 December 2011, article by Basir Ahang in Kabulpress
The new port in Patras has attracted sans-papier who were trying to move on to Italy and were living already in Patras to move their provisory housing closer to it. The “migration map” in town has changed together with the port of Patras. Now, the new housing areas for sans-papiers near to the new port become the battlefield where the police and other anti-immigrant groups repress and attack them. They beat them, they burn their belongings – clothes and blankets, they take away their temporary residence permits without any reason and they expulse them from the ruins where they found provisory shelter under humiliating living conditions.
A local TV-Channel that had been taking an anti-immigrant position since the early years of Patras as transit hub for migrants reported about one of the new shelters of sans-papiers in Patras. The propaganda made is overestimating the numbers of sans-papiers in town and creating a new target by showing one specific place of shelter.
The sans-papiers in Patras fall victim to racism and police violence on a daily basis. They suffer from cold and rain being homeless. There is a need in creating sustainable and human solutions instead of targeting and punishing the sans-papiers in town.
Two refugees from Sudan talk about their lives in an emptied city. Patra has been the second exit-port after Igoumenitsa that the greek police raided in 2011. In the center of the city one cannot see any immigrants anymore. In repeated sweep operations the authorities destroyed a number of provisory housing sites and arrested hundreds of sans-papiers. In the summer of 2011 only very few refugees remained at the rims of the city marginalised and displaced.
Interview with the refugee N., from Eritrea 23rd of May 2011, Komunisia
N. spent a very long time in the mountains of Igoumenitsa. With 10 months he belongs to the experienced men on the mountain. He has been deported from Italy several times. Still he never lost his hope that one day he will get out.
The truck to the other Europe
“I promise to see you in a better place,” N. says and his eyes are full of energy.
How long are you in Igoumenitsa?
In Komunisia here? I have longer than ten months. More than ten months here!
What did you expect from coming here to Igoumenitsa?
You know, the reason for my coming to Komunisia, I am suffering too much bad in this country. I need to leave this country. For this reason I came to Komunisia. Unfortunately, during these days we are suffering from a very bad situation: from the police and from the racist people, from the civil society here in Komunisia.
Interview with the two refugees A. and Y., from Sudan 21st of May 2011, Komunisia by Infomobile
A. and Y., refugees from Sudan talk about their living-conditions in Igoumenitsa, the second largest port from Greece towards Italy. We are sitting in the mountain, looking at the port-area of “Komunisia” how the refugees call it. A few hundred refugees from all war-zones of the world are living on this mountain. Some days ago, at the 3rd of May, the refugees’ settlements in the mountain have been attacked by fascists out of a demonstration.
Waiting room Komunisia: One minute feels like one year on this mountain
Afterwards the police drew an invisible ‘red line’ and prevented refugees from entering the city. More than 450 refugees have been arrested in May 2011 – double than the average monthly arrests of 2010. Police guards the garbage cans and so the refugees are starving from hunger. We are sitting on this mountain in Europe and we hope for their chance to go!
We were just released from the prison in Evros, where we stayed for more than one month. We were in one cell with more than 30 adult men, some of them penal detainees. It was very hard. We had to argue with them to be allowed to sleep inside. The first days we were sleeping outside. Just one of us stayed in the yard in the end. He could not sleep inside, because of the smell, the dirt and the noise so he preferred the cold. We were released an brought to a reception centre for minors. We only stayed there for 2 days. We didn’t come to Greece in order to stay here. So we came to Athens 2 days ago. We just know the park. Where can we get something to eat. We didn’t eat since yesterday. I don’t know any place here.
In this park there are many people sleeping. Also families. Every night we sleep in some other corner. Most people don’t sleep in the night, but they walk up and down and smoke all the time. It is scary to sleep here in the night. Better to sleep when the sun comes out! We have nothing. Only the clothes on our body. It is ok. Actually it is not ok. It is cold in the night, but what can we do?
In some days we will try to leave Greece. Inshallah!
... 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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