Four days ago the camp in Moria started to burn. Unlike conservative mainstream media we do not care about how the fire broke out or who started it. One thing is clear to us: every person, who has had to live under repression for months and years, who is forced to live in inhuman conditions and who does not have any chance to set up a self-determined life because of racist structures, has the right to fight against this oppression by any means necessary.
From the beginning Moria camp was (intentionally) inhumane and it got worse and worse. The camp, the surrounding olive groves and actually the whole of Lesvos is one big open-air-prison for migrants. Coronavirus only worsened conditions. Some people were allowed to leave the island but were forced into illegality in Athens. Last week, the inevitable first Covid case was recorded in the camp and more followed. Even without the virus the camp was unbearable. So there was bound to be resistance.
It began with young people, who did not want to be imprisoned with Coronavirus, or to be even more controlled in the name of preventing its spread. They began a revolt against the police. When parts of the olive groves around the camp – where people live in tents, self-built shelters, or without any shelter – started to burn, police did not care at all. Not until the agency that organises “voluntary deportation” was attacked did they react. And their reaction was typical: tear gas. Not until the whole camp was on fire were migrants allowed to move. But not even then they were allowed to move to the next city. They are stuck in between the village and the city now, with police blockading them on all sides.
In addition to the police, fascists – just like they did in March – have begun to aggressively follow, intimidate and harass migrants and solidarity workers. They are patrolling the city and surrounding area on motorcycles. While cars attempting to deliver food and water are held up and often turned away from police checkpoints, fascists cruise right through, demonstrating with whom the cops are aligned.
From photos and videos the dimension of the catastrophe can be seen. But many people are still missing and cannot be found since no one knows where they fled. Many have had little or no food or water for days at this point. The Greek state reacts as usual: a state of emergency declared in Lesvos for four months which means more police and border police on the island. Not only more police, but also immediately two military camps were found and proposed as suitable locations to set up new temporary camps. We have heard that some migrants have already been taken there, while fascists are gathering closeby. People we’ve spoken there reported that they are not allowed to leave. Is this already further movement towards the new closed camps?
So if anybody was hoping that because of the fire there may have been some political decisions that improve the migrants’ situation, you have misplaced your hope. We find hope instead in how Moria residents continue to refuse the subordination and discipline the camp is meant to accomplish, and to defiantly imagine a better life for themselves. A new camp is no solution: the only solution is freedom to move for all.
No new camps,
no (new) fences,
no (new) borders!