Greece: STALAG 13 by Nikos Laios

ovicover_05_03_16Greece has been turned into an open-air internment camp, a German style stalag where increasingly tens of thousands of refugees are finding themselves trapped in Greece unable to continue their journey northwards to Germany. Poor desperate souls who are streaming into Europe to find asylum and an escape from the hell of war, starvation and privation with a vision of an idealized utopia that they are unfortunately finding is not real. Families, young people, the aged and crippled with some making the journey to Europe in wheel chairs. All these poor bedraggled souls who thought they could find humanity and compassion in Europe, who now find their dreams and visions foundering on the white-washed dazzling shores of the Aegean. Where only this last week two refugees attempted to hang themselves in a downtown city square in Athens out of desperation at the shattering of their illusions.

While the rest of Europe haggles and argues over their obligations as civilized nations to the human rights of these poor wretches, poor Greece goes about the job in humility every day at plucking refugees out of the cold wintery waves by fisherman who should be harvesting the seas to feed their families, who are now harvesting the ocean of the unwanted human detritus. Not flinching for one moment at their moral and ethical obligations to show compassion to their fellow human beings; the old and weathered Greek grandmothers who sit in their chairs of the courtyards of their homes in their easterly Greek islands caring for the very young refugee children. Providing some warmth and shelter to young families – where though language is a barrier – find that love knows no boundaries; or the everyday Greeks who volunteer and provide the refugees with the basic necessities. These same Greeks who have seen their wages cut, or their pensions drastically reduced, these same Greeks who can barely feed their own children who sometimes go to school without having eaten. These Greeks who are labouring under the cruel and inhuman enforced punishment of fiscal and economic austerity by their callous fellow Europeans and the international banking system. It is my fellow Greeks who whilst labouring under this austerity are unflinching in showing warmth, compassion, humanity and dignity to the desperate war-torn refugees.

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