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Only God knows who I am

06 October 2015 / 17:10:34  GRReporter
2449 reads

While the meeting between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann was underway in Lesbos, 4,911 migrants and refugees arrived from the island at Piraeus port, and another 2,466 people are expected to arrive by the end of the day.

The majority of them will probably set off to the central Athens Victoria Square from where they will be transported to the temporary reception centres in the Olympic halls in the suburbs of Galatsi and Eliniko. The procedure that will be followed in the management of so many migrants in Piraeus and Athens is not clear.

The transportation of the record and unprecedented numbers of refugees and migrants from Lesbos to Piraeus is a strange coincidence with the visit of the Austrian Chancellor, which has provoked various comments.

The meeting of Tsipras and Faymann is to discuss the bilateral cooperation between Greece and Austria regarding the management of the numerous migrant and refugee waves. According to the programme that the Prime Minister's office has officially announced, they will visit the two centres in Lesbos, where the new arrivals are identified and registered.

The pressure that the Greek islands continue to experience is evidenced by the fact that the Greek coast guard has rescued from drowning 423 migrants in the last 24 hours. The operations took place on the high seas off the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Kos and Farmakonisi.

The foreigners who arrived in Piraeus today were economic migrants for the most part, as indicated by the Greek media. Following the initial wave of solidarity, the topic about who of them actually are Syrians and who are lying about their origins is gradually coming to the fore in the Greek public debate.

GRReporter offers to its readers the article by leading Greek journalist Tasos Telloglou published on the commentary website In it, he is telling about his report on the island of Lesbos and his meeting with several migrants who have recently arrived by rubber boat.

“The harbour lights are still on, the sun will shine in half an hour. During the night, the wind sank again and dozens of rubber boats arrived at the northern part of the island, from Molivos to the lighthouse of Korakas (the raven - editor’s note). Only he who did not visit Lesbos this summer does not know that all its northern shores are covered with nylon and rubber from cheap boats and thousands of rescue vests. 100,000 people arrived at the rather inhospitable shores of this island in September alone, it was a real invasion.

Syrians? The majority are such according to the documents. But what documents? Here you are what you are saying you are. In such waves, there is no way to confirm the data presented. Neither the state nor the EU is doing anything to facilitate themselves and them. Yesterday at noon one Iraqi successfully presented himself as a Syrian in front of me and one of the travel agents on the island told me that in August 50 migrants, the majority of whom Afghans and Kurds, tried to buy tickets for the ferry to Athens using the same name.

Since then, the influx has been under some control and efforts have been dedicated to making the number of those who are leaving the island higher than the number of those who are coming to it. But who are those who are coming? Last night I gave a ride to a man to take him to the correct camp (from Karatepe, where the Syrians register, to Morias, where all the rest register).

He was a Kurd from the Iranian city of Kermanshah. Of course, he wanted neither to register, nor to give his fingerprints. He had no documents. He could speak basic English and told me emphatically, "I'm 45 years old and no one ever realizes exactly who I am. Only God knows that."

"If only God knows this, then there is no place for you in Europe," I replied with some irritation. But he insisted that for him it was more important not to provide some of his data than to reach Athens (without registration he will not get a ticket for the ship, at least in theory. Because the question is what exactly is registered)...

This was not the first such case of the day. Of course, all these people are coming from countries where their rights are not respected, even the least. They find difficult to realize what will happen to this data. It is also a matter of age. A Syrian who graduated in informatics in Aleppo asked me what the life in northern Europe was like. "Go if you like to live under its rules," I replied without thinking much. "Well, it will surely be better. We have lived without rules for years and here we are. Things will become even worse." He wants to obtain a master’s degree. His family has almost sent him away because he is young and "now has a chance."

- After four years of war?

- After four years of war, I waited to receive my diploma and perhaps hoped for something in the country to change. The departure of the first groups of people was the first positive news for us in 4 years.

Even the Syrian who is leaving Turkey after 3-4 years is no longer a refugee from the war. He was a war refugee and if Turkey had not turned him into an economic migrant due to its crisis and social Darwinism, it would have integrated him as it integrates the people from Iskenderun.

And what are we doing here? Can we distinguish the young man from Aleppo from the Kurd from Kermanshah? In Lesbos they are not thinking about it. They were selling in return for cash all summer long, thus solving the problem of their debts. But this is not enough. Those across the sea expect something more. Those who are "outside" believe that actually there are no borders in Europe.

Tags: SocietyRefugeesMigrantsLesvos islandAlexis TsiprasWerner Faymann
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