From 8th to 13th of October 2013 some people come (back) to Mitilini on the island Lesvos in Greece. During this days some events are held. Here you find a first statement, the program and a the letter to the people in Mitilini.
Lesvos-Greece: We arrived on a journey back to the border
Since Saturday the first of us arrived in Mitilini/Lesvos in Greece: finally we will be around 40 people. Some of us are travelling along their own traces back to where they arrived in Europe - others accompany them.
We discovered already that racist controls by the port police are still common on Greece. We found the same ignorance of the authorities, leaving people after they arrived exhausted and tired without a possibility to continue their way to Athens.
We found a newly built prison that is planned to have 600 places for longterm-detention in Moria - and 200 as a "welcome center" which is the same prison in reality. We want to inform you about our rough program - and we will inform you in the next days about our experiences here on these two blogs:
October 2013: Program of a journey back to the border
Tuesday, 8th October 2013
2:00 PM Conversation with the press for journalists and other people interested. At the building of EPA Aegaiou, E.Bostani 69, Mitilini
7:00 PM Exhibition opening in ERGATIKH LESXH, Mitilini: Thank you to the people who saved our lives!
Wednesday, 9th of October 2013
6:00 PM: Watch The Med - Invitation to an Information and Discussion - event in the auditorium of the Geography Department, University Mytiline, Lesvos: Watch the Med is an online mapping platform to monitor the deaths and violations of migrants' rights at the maritime borders of the EU with Lorenzo Pezzani, one of the founders of the project. See: http://www.watchthemed.net
Thursday, 10th of October 2013
12:00 AM: Workshop on w2eu.info. The Webguide provides contacts and counselling to refugees and migrants on their way - and the idea for it was born in Lesvos during the Noborder activities 2009. The workshop will be very practical on how to contribute to this project - with translations, providing contacts and distributing cards and printings to those in need...
From 8:00 PM on: Welcome to Europe party on the beach of Tsamakia. After the last of the group arrive on Thursday afternoon we will start a welcoming party. Those who are already there will prepare a welcome to those arriving. Everybody is invited to come and to bring something to eat and to drink.
Friday, 11th of October 2013
7:00 PM: EPIMELITIRIO -P.Kountourioti 71, Mitilini Traces from Lesvos through Europe "Respect only with passport? - Muhajer Tour is back". We want to talk about the nexus of "here" (Greece/ Mytilini) and "there" (Germany, Sweden etc.) and life in Europe "without" and "with documents"; to share experiences and reflections on: what this journey means/ meant, what struggles have been fought and need to be fought and what "arriving" brings with it. We want to discuss what it means to find again a prison on
this island of arrival that reminds us on the horror of Pagani. We would like to combine speeches with an open time for discussion afterwards and we want to fill the room with different exhibitions (Traces from Lesvos through Europe - Fotoexhibition Noborder 2009 - pieces of cloth from inside Pagani) and more.
Saturday, 12th of October 2013
Morningtime: Delegation to Moria - we apply to allow a delegation of us to enter the newly built prison in Moria. We invite the population of Lesvos to go together to see if the detention camp in Moria looks like a welcome center or reminds us on Pagani, the former prison that was closed down after our struggles from inside and outside.
4:30 PM - Memorial in Thermi: We want to construct and inaugurate a memorial fountain to remind not only of the deaths of the December 2012 tragedy whose bodies were found in Thermi, but also of all others who have died on their road to Europe. Shortly after the biggest tragedy with hundreds of deaths close to the Italian island Lampedusa we will hold a ceremony to honour the dead. We will give a promise to continue the struggle against this senseless killing.
Sunday, 13th of October 2013
From 11:00 PM on: Working groups on the beach of Tsamakia on different topics, like:
- How to continue against the prison(s)
- Blogs and Websites
- Documentation of our journey
- and about all our wishes how to continue...
Eveningtime: Manifestation in Mytilene - to protest for registration without detention!
Letter to the people in Mytilene
On a journey back to the border, we track back our traces to Europe.
Dear people in Mitilini and on Lesvos island,
We came via Lesvos and/ or Greece to Europe, most of us some years ago and we are living now in different cities in Germany and Sweden. We finally got a right to stay and arrived. And we want to start a journey back to the border to track back our own traces to Europe.
A lot of us have made our first steps on European soil on your island. And many of us have been in Pagani, this very bad place on your island that is now history -- after a long and hard struggle from inside and outside. We have made a lot of bitter experiences in Greece -- but we have also met you and others who had been in solidarity with our struggle.
Also today refugees arrive on Lesvos, among them unaccompanied minor refugees, like us. They are like we have been, without help and support. As we said already we have made a lot of bitter experiences: we have survived the dangerous trip on the small boats, we have seen prisons and violence by the police. We have experienced homelessness and push-backs and racist attacks also on our further journey and with the fingerprints the border followed us until our countries of destination.
But we have also seen you and many others who helped us, sometimes with seemingly very small things like giving us a pair of shoes or food or just a friendly welcome. Many of us came to the island in a time when a lot of things were different than usual: during Noborder 2009 we stayed in the circus tent in the harbour of Mitlini directly after our arrival. In the very first moment we found friends from all over Europe. Others have spent some time in Agiassos, among us also known as the "Villa Azadi", the villa of freedom. We come to meet you again and to thank all those on the island, who set their welcoming against the cruel borderregime. You gave us the hope that was necessary to reach our right to stay. For many of us this has been a starting point of a common struggle for the vision of another, a welcoming Europe, that maybe exists in the future.
We travel together with other young friends organised in a group called "Youth without borders", some of them came years before us and they had another but also hard struggle against the deportations and for their final right to stay. We found out that our struggle is one. We make this journey to remind our selves on the struggles in our backpack -- and we want to go a step further and raise our voice against the inhuman way how the European authorities treat refugees, directly here at the starting point of our journeys through Europe.
We want to use the journey for a coming together, between us who have been in transit on Lesvos and went further, with those who right now make their first steps -- and with all those who are standing on our side because they believe in solidarity and not in borders.
After our arrival we see clearly another border, the invisible one and we think it is a similar border you are facing, while struggling to survive in Greece suffering from unpaid work, unemployment and without health care. Let us tell it in simple words: we have not been free when we had to run undocumented from Greece to Italy or Serbia and Hungary and further on to northern Europe. It was a hard and dangerous trip, but we have been on the move. But afterwards we discovered that there is another, we call it the "inner border". Nowadays we struggle with the clock in the morning that reminds us for the date in the migration office, for the pressure to find a low paid job. If we want to meet friends we have to check our calendars. Everyday they remind us our place: in the low wage segment as cleaners or on the construction sites. You can imagine that we will not accept this border as well.
We will come in October 2013 to Mitilini, the main time will be 10th-14th of October, but some will come before and some will stay longer. We want to invite you to search together for the traces of our common struggle against the borders -- the outer and the inner ones. We want to exchange experiences. We want to tell you our stories of resistance and to listen to yours. We want to mourn all those who had been senselessly dying in the sea and cannot be with us. We want to protest and struggle against the inhuman European borderregime. We see it as another step for organising networks across borders and discuss about future strategies and to where this journey might bring us.
We have arrived. There are certain things nobody can take away from us any more: the ability to move and to build connections and friendships that go beyond the border. We come to Lesvos because we want to share this with you.
We want to come together to fight the inner and the outer borders that are made to separate us. For us and for everybody. For another Europe that says "Welcome".
We will send you some more ideas for a program for the days in October soon -- and we would be happy if you have some proposals. Let's start building up a communication. We are looking forward to see you!
Freedom of movement is everybody's right!
You can contact us via: contact (at) w2eu.info