On a journey back to the border, we track back our traces to Europe.
Letter to the people in Mytilene
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: firstname.lastname@example.org