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From Ann Panagiotonacou, on Lesvos;
Since Jan 2015 alone, over 500,000 refugees have arrived on Greek islands from Turkey – 100’s have been drowned. Children, even babies arriving without parents; parents arriving without their children; mothers arriving with some or all of their children without fathers and fathers arriving with all or some of their children without mothers. Mothers arriving with 2-3 day old babies and even pregnant mothers arriving only to give birth right on the beach or, if lucky enough, in a more comfortable place.
Many travelling without life jackets, others with false life jackets stuffed with grass. 30-50 people being forced to travel in old inflated dinghies built for 5-10 people, most of them already with slow leaking holes and arriving near Greek islands in devastating conditions, and pleading to the Local people & the 100’s of Volunteers to save them. Others put on non seaworthy wooden boats with huge problems – 2 weeks ago, on one of these boats, the top floor collapsed due to weight, causing the boat to capsize & sink, drowning 40+ people, among them many children. One boat has gone missing with 300 people on board and another with over 200 on board & there is so much more. These people are paying $1500-2500 a head to the smugglers in order to make the trip.
The courage, love & hard work of the Individual Volunteers & new Organisations can only be admired & respected – often working an 18hr day, including through the night. It is the Volunteers who are making a difference for the refugees.
European TV & Papers make good stories about the bad conditions Greece is offering to the refugees but Greece is a collapsed economy which can not even feed its own people at present, The sick have to take their own bedding to hospital because hospitals have no money even for basic necessities Volunteers are doing sterling work but more are needed. Thousands of people from all over the word have come to help Greece provide for the refugees. The refugees need medical help, clothing which has been donated from all over the world needs sorting. Lessons and play groups for the children. The list is endless. Even two or three days as a volunteer on one of the refugee islands can help to make a vast difference to people who fled their war stricken countries for a better life in Europe.
Now in my 5th day on Lesvos. I have travelled to a lot of the camps all over the island. The work being done by the Volunteers is amazing. It has to be seen to be believed. I’m stationed in Mytilene town. By the time the refugees arrive in the nearby camps, they already have been given dry clothes & food & buses to transport them from their arrival place up north, Molivos, & although exhausted, frightened & confused many of them gave a smile on their faces. All thanks to the volunteers. Fortunately the weather has been beautiful for the past 3 weeks but today there are strong winds at sea.. The refugees crossng tonight will be safe.
To become a Volunteer give your time and contact The Starfish Foundation on Lesvos
In the end the fine ideals and the proud words meant absolutely nothing. In the end the EU confirmed that it is nothing more than a motley collection of disparate member states, who when what they see as their own narrow national interests threatened, can not wait to be first in the rush to drive a coach and horses through the most sacred of EU principles. In the end, agreements, treaties, protocols, call them what you will, became worthless.
The barriers, the razor wire fences, closed off what should have been open borders, without a murmur of protest. Freedom of travel throughout the Schengen countries, was abolished overnight, without even an attempt being made to reach agreement between the member states, let alone a common policy.
Germany welcomes the immigrants with open arms. Austria treats them like cattle, closing down part of its railway system, to prevent “arab” refugees travelling through the country using rail tickets for which they had lawfully paid and which had been lawfully sold to them by Austrian Railways.
Hungary in true fascist style sends tear gas across its border into Croatia, in order to subdue the refugees and then for good measure, douses them with water cannon.
And when it comes to ignoring the rules, who is the worst repeat offender ? Germany, which for years has refused to reduce its ever growing and now massive budget surplus to the legally allowed EU limit. That alone has created the imbalance which caused such devastation to the economies of the peripheral EU member states. And not a bleep out of Brussels which daren’t say boo to its German paymaster.
France was the first big offender when, in order to protect its farming industry, it allowed French farmers to blockade roads and ports to keep out imports of English lamb. The local gendarmes stood idly by ensuring that the ports and roads remained closed in complete breach of their own French laws, never mind European laws, allowing free trade between member states.
Basically Europe worked well and brought great benefits when it was a community devoted to free trade. Its founders were men of vision. Now controlled by time serving, unelected bureaucrats and greedy politicians whose vision is limited to the location of the next gravy train, it has become a travesty. Without complete reform, disunity and lack of accountability will quickly lead to collapse. The immigrant crisis is not the cause of the EU’s problems. It is the result of them.
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