A Citizen’s Guide to Greece 2015


March 27, 2016

The Sprit of Eidomeni

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Written by: Politis

The makeshift migrant camp in Eidomeni has been in the news regularly since the end of 2015. Reports today claimed the camp was finally being evacuated by Greek authorities. This would not be the first time.

Last November a group of fifteen Dukakis Center interns, from Greece, the US, and several Balkan countries, organized a visit to the makeshift camp near the Greek border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to deliver leftovers from the annual Anatolia Thanksgiving feast, and to observe the conditions in which untold numbers of migrants and refugees have been obliged to suffer in their quest to continue their trek toward Germany and other northern European countries.

The students had spent Thanksgiving night preparing several hundred individually packaged meals, consisting of turkey, rice, and fresh vegetables and fruit, which they distributed from waterlogged food kitchens to long lines of hungry and appreciative nationals from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Morocco, Egypt, Congo, and innumerable other countries in conflict. They witnessed a small group of Iranians who had sewn their lips shut in a hunger strike at not being permitted to continue their journey northward, one of whom delivered the following rant in their presence (translated from Persian by a colleague in Erbil):

They r refugees and living in bad condition
Also he says that a 11 month old babe also with them
They r in bad condition
Also he tells all
Anyone who has fb or instagram or tango any apps due to social media to share this video in order to show everyone in which situation they r living
Also he calls BBC and CNN and all Netherlands broadcasting channels to record their living style and tell everyone about their situation
Added that they r not syrian refugees
The r iranian
Also says we are kurdish and arabic and Persian and afghani refugees that live together like brothers
Also says
Whereever we are, he mean the Iranian. We are refugees all over the world.

The ACT group were accompanied by photojournalist Dimitris Bouras, and humanitarian aid volunteer Christa Calbos, both of whom had spent time previously (and subsequently) at the same camp. A few hardy souls brought cameras with them to do assignments for the masterclass in photojournalism they had followed with Mr Bouras earlier that same week.

Senior Alexia Apostolina penned the following brief account for Politis.

A cloudy morning in November we woke up, dressed as warm as we could with a smile on our faces, bags with pullovers, raincoats and everything else we wanted to give to those people. Heroes.  In the bus everyone seemed unsure, wondering about what we would come across in Eidomeni. Many feelings, many questions. Questions that seemed rhetorical till the time of our arrival at the border. The weather was getting worse, but in my soul there was bright sunshine. All through the night I was packing things with happiness and anticipation. We went into a camp with the volunteers serving food, warm food prepared with love. Our photographer, Dimitris, captured these moments with photos that are full of emotions, emotions that remind us of the reason of our existence. Their faces, their satisfaction and sense of security reflected in their tired eyes, their desperate eyes looking for hope and new life. I have never felt so fulfilled in my life and I would give everything to come back and see them again, help them make them believe in their dreams. As George Carlin said, ‘everyone smiles in the same language.’

I dedicate this little story to humanity, to our equal rights, and as long as I’m alive, I will pray for peace and the right to self-preservation worldwide.


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