The war in Syria and the bad living conditions in the surrounding countries have resulted in a major refugee and migrant crisis with the final destination being Europe; in order to enter the European continent they have to pass through Turkey and then risk their lives by going with little plastic boats to Greece. Greece is not the country they want to live in, it’s just a stop before they can go to the more developed EU countries that do not have economic crisis and that can actually deal with them. But before they could accomplish that, a lot of EU countries closed their borders, resulting in a lot of refugees and migrants being stuck in camps in Greece. The situation was and still is terrible and difficult to deal with since Greece cannot handle these incoming masses of people due to its financial and political crisis.
Living in Greece, for many months this was my everyday life: Waking up with news about the situation, during the day finding out that something unexpected happened and then going to sleep with more news about this ongoing crisis. My class and I had to do a project on the refugee crisis and one of the things my friend and I thought would be appropriate was going to the port of Athens — Piraeus — and to see what was happening with our own eyes and then take pictures. When we went there, we expected to see more refugees or immigrants but because they had just been transferred to camps like Idomeni or Lesbos there weren’t as many — but there were still so many. In the several gates of the port there were a lot of blankets, food, clothes and policemen. My dad who works in Piraeus as a maritime lawyer told me that when there were more refugees and on a daily basis he would see fights going on with xenophobic people or between the refugees and at least two times a day an ambulance would be there besides the police patrol.
Times are hard. As a Greek person I feel targeted by all the surrounding countries but the developed countries of the EU as well. People don’t seem to understand that we already have more than enough problems with the socio-economical and political crisis and we cannot under any circumstances handle more, especially peoples’ lives and another crisis! Furthermore, a lot of people haven’t realized that this is not something temporary, it is going to take a lot of time and effort in order to find a fair-for-all solution that is going to provide a home or a safe place for the refugees to live, reward my country for everything and divide the refugees equally in all of the member states of the European Union without making any country suffer from over-population.
Something unfortunate is that the Greek population is not used to this “wave of foreigners” with different cultures, tendencies, races and languages and a lot of them can be xenophobic which is completely terrible. One other reason that the Greeks express their anger at the newcomers is that they are fed up and tired of the government and the European Union manipulating them and treating them as ‘“guinea pigs” and this new crisis pulled their last string. Yet despite all this, Greeks proved amazingly hospitable and often led heroic rescues at sea.
Thankfully, there are organizations and enterprises that promote donations, volunteering or generally helping in any way with the refugee crisis. Some of those are: UNHCR, UNICEF, Team Humanity, Sea of Solidarity, Boat Refugee Foundation, Disaster Medics, Lighthouse, Midwife Pilgrim, Northern Lights Aid, The CK team and the Starfish Foundation.
What all of us need to understand is that it is not the people’s fault that this war is happening, they didn’t make it happen. After all, who would flee from their homes and and even their families to move somewhere that they have never been, where they don’t speak the language and where they might even die in the journey especially by drowning during the trip from Turkey to Greece? “No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”