Yesterday, the Refugee Solidarity Movement Thessaloniki went to say goodbye to our friends in the camp. Many have been helping with the tea tent for several weeks now from crowd control, distribution, and making the tea itself. It was decided that this would be a visit to let everyone know that we were going to stop serving chai.
The efforts of the group have been amazing from when I was first introduced and participated in November and after, as I watched from afar, throughout the numerous changes within the camp to these most recent weeks. I am so thankful to have been able to work along side these incredibly selfless people. Not only do I feel a strong sense of pride for what was accomplished, but also I am so grateful to have met all the people involved.
Of all the things that make the Refugee Solidarity Movement Thessaloniki special one part I cannot stress enough is of the extraordinary people I’ve met and volunteered with. It really is an exceptional group of people.
I also want to give a shout out for the consistency and exhausting work that Craig and Sari (main coordinators of the tea tent) have maintained for several months. We all see the joy the refugees exude when we arrive. Thank you to these guys for keeping the momentum and strength (mentally, physically, and emotionally).
Things in Eidomeni are becoming more and more unstable. The worst part is the danger it places on everyone there. Misinformation has become one of the worst problems. Yesterday, we noticed pamphlets that were in Arabic that were calling for a protest Sunday morning at 9am. The rumor was that if there were enough people, 3000 to be exact, they would have to open the borders.
Many volunteers tried to discourage this belief. Posts went up on Facebook expressing the dangers that this type of protest would bring. However sadly, this did not change the minds of the thousands of desperate refugees in Eidomeni.
So today, a whirlpool of emotions as Eidomeni experiences more pain and heartache. Children being tear gassed by the Macedonian Army (I keep thinking, “WHO is giving these orders??”) rubber bullets being shot, and NGOs evacuating. Volunteers are staying behind aiding with anyone suffering from the teargas. Groups have already organized to provide new clothing that has been ruined by the teargas powder.
In the video below you can hear the teargas exploding…it made me jump the first time. How is this allowed against these people?! Who have NOTHING!
My heart hurts and my blood boils that this is becoming the ‘normal.’ We have pleaded, yelled, screamed, debated to keep these people safe. No one is listening.
So many have taken it upon themselves to provide what little comfort they can to the tens of thousands of refugees in Greece. From food, to tea, to clean clothes, to fresh water and showers, and so much more as was in the article I posted some days ago about the necessity of the volunteer efforts.
However, the real need is to give the refugees the opportunity to live a safe and happy life.
Isn’t that what we all deserve?