Despite the pouring rain of the last days we are still here, still working together to create somehow livable conditions.
Since November we have not only the social center but also support several squats. More and more people escape the conditions in Moria and choose to live in the squats. Unfortunately even living in a smoky old warehouse is better than living in Moria. At the moment around 200 people live in the squats. All of them we provide with food and/or the means to cook for themselves. People created communities where we live, eat and sometimes celebrate together.
Although people choose to live in the squats instead of the official camps it’s not an easy live on the island. We still struggle for daily survival. As the number of people living with us has been rising constantly since No Border Kitchen started the first Social Centre in July 2016 we also need more and more support. Furthermore we continue to offer warm food for everyone two times daily. At the moment we cook around 800 meals per day. The Social Centre also offers changing activities for people…the latest being the new Kindergarden.
The squats are not only a place with better food than the official camps but most importantly a place outside of the control of the state. They don’t have barbed wire fence, they don’t have military patrolling and nobody asks for peoples papers. They want to be a safer place for everyone- not only for those being considered eligible asylum seekers by the Greek and European authorities. That makes them unique and thats why we will continue to support and feed all the people that need it.
In the last days very worrying news reached us. One is that the Dublin deportations to Greece from other EU-countries will be reinstated from March 15th. In the last years there was no Dublin deportations to Greece because the situation here was considered too bad. The situation got no inch better and still the European Commission recommended that the deportations should start again in March. At the moment there are thousands of people stuck in Greece, on the islands as well as on the mainland, without having met their basic needs like proper shelter, food or access to medical care. Also the asylum procedures are a mess…waiting times are long and information for people about their rights as well as legal support are rare. Returning people back to Greece will make the situation worse for everyone…not only the people that will be forced to return and stay in Greece but also for the people already suffering from overcrowded camps and slow asylum procedures.
The other news is that Frontex will charter new ships to increase the numbers of deportations from the islands back to Turkey. With the EU-Turkey agreement the EU assumes that Turkey is a safe place for asylum seekers. Of course everyone that has been in Turkey or followed the news about the situation there knows that its no safe place at all.
The plan from this Europe dominated by the economically and politically powerful Northern countries seems clear…people will be forced back to mainland Greece from the North, from the mainland to the island and from the island to Turkey and to peoples country of origin.
We are worried about this development. We are worried about the safety of our friends in in all Europe endangered to be kicked out again of the place they hoped to find peace and safety.
Thirdly we got the information that the government plans to give the people money instead of providing them with food. In theory this is great…people can cook food they actually like instead of being forced to eat the crap they are served in the camps. What’s worrying about is that one the amount of money will most probably be insufficient. We fear that we will have to provide much more meals at the end of the month if this system will come into place. Also we are not sure how the camp managments will ensure safe and clean means of cooking for everyone, remembering still their complete failures to provide infrastructure for winter and the gas explosion in Moria camp a few weeks back. But at the moment we will wait, see what happens and hoping for the best.
Despite all of this we have a lot of moment of happiness when we warm ourselves on a common fire, make chapatti together or dance together to music from the shitty speakers of a mobile phone. All the time we need support to make these moments happen.
If you consider coming to Lesvos don’t hesiate to write us a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s always work to be done, especially if you think about coming for a longer period of time. Also we still have financial difficulties…any amount of donations we can get is needed and appreciated here. If you can donate or organize money by a fundraising event you can send it to
Rote Hilfe OG Salzwedel
IBAN: DE93 4306 0967 4007 2383 12
Comment: NBK Lesvos
At this point we also want to thank everyone that supported us in the last weeks! We only are able to do the work we do because of your solidarity. So thank you for everyone that send us money, send us food or showed their solidarity otherwise with us!
As always with a lot of Love and Rage,
your Nbk crew