Solidarity offence : in Greece also


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It is not only in France that the Solidarity offense course. In January (see here, here and there), Greece also saw police checks, arrests and prosecution of people who active in solidarity with exiles.

A report on fact recorded in the Greek islands of Chios and Lesvos, near the Turkish coast:


« Report (14.1.16) from Chios, which characteristically shows how the situation has exacerbated during the last week:


  • The deployment of FRONTEX has begun without any information by the Greek govmt. towards the local politicians or the local population.
  • FRONTEX is now present everywhere. Patrols are executed in a permanent way at the spots where the refugee boats land. The FRONTEX policemen sit together with their Greek colleagues in the Greek police cars.
  • The coast guard – most likely by order of FRONTEX – doesn’t allow anymore fisher boats rented by helping organisations, to leave the harbour and help refugees in the rubber boats to reach the coast.
  • The Greek police together with the FRONTEX cops ask for the ID cards of all helpers at the beaches on the pretext to prevent robbing of the refugees, plundering the boats or the stealing of the outboard engines.
  • Today (14.01.) some custom officers went to a small harbour to control the boxes with clothes etc. which are sent by citizens to the organizations and groups that provide the first aid to the arriving refugees.
  • The Spanish volunteer who took pictures of the Dutch FRONTEX boat in the harbour and was arrested, will probably be charged for “spying”.
  • The two Swiss volunteers who where caught with some hashish were sentenced to 8 month prison on bail each.
  • It seems that the situation has worsened also on the Turkish coast. Patrol boats are all day long present on the straight between Turkey and Chios so that no refugee boat can pass. Even though the weather today (14.01.) was very good and the sea quiet no refugee boat come until late in the evening.


Postscript (17.1.) LESVOS

  • In progress are the pre-trial proceedings against three Spanish fire-fighters who decided to take leave from work to help refugees on the Aegean and two Danish. The Danes’ NGO put a speedboat available for rescuing purposes where the 5 were aboard. They towed a refugee rubber boat to the Greek coast. Now they are accused of supporting the entry of “illegal migrants” which is a severe crime (felony) in Greece. (See the Diktyo’s announcement below.) The prosecutor charges them because a Coast Guard boat was not far away and thus there was allegedly no need for immediate rescue.)

Yesterday (16.1.) they were brought before the investigating judge who – after almost 12 hours of their examination and the hearing of witnesses, between others also Syriza MPs – released them on bail of 5.000 € each and 10.000 € for the Dane who owns the boat.

  • Another boat with 17 refugees sank the night before yesterday in the Straight of Samos. Until now 6 people are found dead.
  • The Dodecanese prefecture decided to check every NGO acting on the Southern Aegean islands as well as all the doctors; they would have to provide proof that they are doctors and get a relevant certificate.
  • The Syriza govmt. decided on Dec 31,2015, that the operation of the closed detention centers will be prolonged until the end of 2018.


End the criminalization of solidarity to refugees NOW!

With the time passing we learn to expect everything from the “first time left” government of SYRIZA, but we stand shocked in front of the criminalization of solidarity to refugees, a policy which resembles increasingly the policy of its predecessors and the one of its European partners.

Last week started the implementation of the announced upgrading of the Frontex policemen, who now have the authority to control Greek and foreign citizens or members of social and political organizations that offer support to refugees, either by rescuing either on the proceedings of reception and solidarity (social kitchens, clothing distribution) with the arrival of the people on the islands. In Chios a solidarity Spaniard is on trial for espionage because of photographing a Frontex vessel. In Mytilini, solidarity NGO members from Denmark and Spain who towed a boat to the coast of Lesvos to rescue the people onboard are prosecuted on felony charges for help with entry of illegal foreigners.


The accusations are ostensible and without substance, and let’s not fool ourselves: if there was organized, adequate, determined and effective state reception for the refugees and immigrants, there would not exist phenomena of abuse and exploitation from which, aside from the “safety” of frontiers, the new forms of policing and repression that so suddenly and immediately launched the Ministry of Immigration, are supposed to preserve us. The fact that the purgatory Petrou Ralli[i] operates in unacceptable conditions, the fact that under the government that calls itself left, work Detention Centers, Amygdalezas[ii] and Hot Spots[iii] and that solidarity people are prosecuted on the islands consists repressive and racist policy.

It is required[iv] from the Syriza government to manage the hot European issue of the closure and expansion of the borders to prevent in every possible way the flight of the populations from “there” from the terror and the misery of imperialist wars, of local dictatorships, fascist terrorism type ISIS and of the geostrategic game of the powerful. The fact that Greece was converted into a country under ironhard control and has lost its free will, forces the government to withdraw fundamental preelectoral positions also as regards the refugee issue and assigns to the country again the dirty work of dividing between refugees and migrants and the deportation of a large number of the shelter seekers. In its turn Greece is trying to push the pressure of interception to Turkey.

The government under pressure is trying to put pressure on the solidarity: It tangles with the solidarity people and thinks up ridiculous validity credentials for those who may help refugees. Let us remember that it is thanks to the unprecedented and remarkable solidarity that show both the crisis-stricken local population and the Greek and European solidarity people, that there is still maintained a certain social cohesion in the islands. The government owes, they don’t owe to the government!


We demand:

End immediately the persecution of the solidarity people

Frontex out of Greece

Down with the Evros fence[v]

Build up open and adequate hosting structures

Political asylum for those with grounds for asylum

Legalization of the immigrants




Network for the Social Support to Refugees and Migrants

Network for the Political and Social Rights



[i] The migrant detention center of the Athens police

[ii] Amygdaleza is the biggest Greek detention center, about 20 km north of the Athens city center

[iii] the new Screening Centers (until now in Lampedusa/Italy and on 3 Greek islands (planned are totally 5), where in accelerated proceedings is decided whether the refugee will be granted asylum or a right to remain temporarily in Europe whether he will be deported

[iv] i.e. by the EU

[v] The fence at the land border between Turkey and Greece, which prevents refugees to cross the border on land »



From the island of Lesbos to the jungles of Dunkirk, asylum at two speeds


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Island of Lesbos – Greece

Nearly 350,000 exiles arrived on the Greek island near the Turkish coast. To leave the island, you have to take the ferry, and for that you have to register with the authorities. The first “hotspot” of Greece, these recording and sorting centers that sets up the European Union to the principal place of entry into its territory, is there, in the old Moria detention center. The center does not host, it records. The exiles sleep where they can, with the support of NGOs, volunteers. To register, two queues: one of priority, the Syrians; the other, the nonSyrians.

Balkans – at the borders

Thursday, November 19, Macedonia and Serbia are closing their borders to exiles who are not from countries at war. In fact only Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian nationals can pass, and go up to Central Europe. The others are blocked in the country where they are ar the moment, and in the first of them, Greece.

Teteghem – France

An exiles camp on the road to the United Kingdom is on the territory of that municipality of the area of Dunkirk, in northern France. Since early October, its destruction is announced by the authorities. The police frequently comes and arrests inhabitants and destroy parts of the camp, in order to make people leave. A poster of the Dunkirk subprefecture up at the entrance of the camp prmises to the Iraqis and Syrians: “France welcomes you and offers you immediate asylum. Wednesday, November 18, the camp is dismantled (see here, here, here and there).


European authorities had developed a speech separating the “refugee-es”, to be welcomed and protected, from the “economic migrants” who are not welcome and should be returned to their country of origin. We now have a hierarchy between legitimate refugees, Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans sometimes, and others.

We have two systems that overlap, and are based on hotspots. All the exiles who are entering the European Union are supposed to be recorded when the system is in place. A priori, “economic migrants would be deported to their country of origin. Part of the “refugee-es legitimate“, with priority, yet the Iraqis and Syrians, would be admitted under a quota system in the various countries of the EU who would accept them. The others would be subject to the Dublin III Regulation which tells in most cases the country of entry into the European Union is the one where they must make their application for asylum. If the registration is systematic in hotspots and they take fingerprints and record them in the Eurodac database, only refugees admitted in quotas should be allowed in other countries that the entrance countries. Except to leave these countries (Greece, Bulgaria, Italy …) to live elsewhere a life of sans-papiers.

Under humanitarian cover (welcome Syrians), the system that is being put in place, based on the hotspots, quotas and maintaining the Dublin III Regulation is therefore likely to be even more unfair that the latter applied alone.


Téteghem asileThe notice posted at the entrance of Téteghem camp, in northern France, on British border.

Greek-Macedonian border: support the exiles


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This call for solidarity is coming from the Greek-Macedonian border :


« Solidarity with the protesters and hunger strikers in Idomeni!

We are currently setting up an Infopoint for the people who are pushed
back at the Greek-Macedonian Border in Idomeni.
In order to show the people who are protesting that their calls are
being heard and their struggle is recognised in Europe and across the
world, we are asking for individuals and groups to send statements of
solidarity: small moments of support for those fighting for their
freedom of movement. Declarations of unity to those struggling against
Fortress Europe.

Send us whatever sign of support comes to your mind. We will be present
in Idomeni with printer, megaphone and camera. We will print all
statement, photographs and poems. Play the words of solidarity. And
report back on what happens.

Let us prove that no fence, no wall and no military presence can seal
borders. Let us be there to show support and solidarity to those in
struggle. And if not in person, than in word, picture and sound. Send us
your solidarity call to or post it here!

Walls fall only when those shaking their foundations are being heard! »


Also in other languages :


« Solidarität mit den Protestierenden und Hungerstreikenden in Idomeni!

Wir sind dabei einen Infopunkt aufzubauen für die Menschen, die an der
griechisch-mazedonischen Grenze in Idomeni festsitzen und zurückgedrängt
Um den Protestierenden zu zeigen, dass ihre Rufe und ihr Kampf in Europa
und der ganzen Welt gesehen und gehört werden, rufen wir dazu auf,
Solidaritätserklärungen zu senden: Momente der Unterstützung für
diejenigen, die für ihre Bewegungsfreiheit kämpfen. Vereinte Erklärungen
derjenigen, die gegen die Festung Europa kämpfen.

Sendet uns, was immer euch als Zeichen der Unterstützung einfällt. Wir
werden in Idomeni Drucker, Megaphone und Kamera bei uns haben und alle
Erklärungen, Fotos und Gedichte ausdrucken, die Worte der Solidarität
abspielen und berichten, was passiert.

Lasst uns zeigen, dass kein Zaun, keine Mauer und kein Militär die
Grenzen abriegeln kann. Lasst uns da sein, um Unterstützung und
Solidarität für die Protestierenden zu zeigen. Und wenn nicht
persönlich, dann mit Worten, Bildern und Tonaufnahmen. Sendet uns eure
Solidaritätserklärungen an: oder postet
sie hier!

Mauern fallen nur, wenn die, die an ihren Grundfesten rütteln, auch
gehört werden!


Llamamiento para mensajes y fotos de solidaridad con Idomeni

¡Solidaridad con los manifestantes y huelguistas de hambre en Idomeni!

Actualmente estamos instalando un puesto de información para la gente
impedido de cuzar la frontera entre Grecia y Macedonia en Idomeni.

Para mostrar a la gente en protesta y en huelga de hambre que su
llamamiento se oye y su lucha se reconoce en Europa y en todo el mondo,
invitamos a los individuos y grupos de mandar mensajes de solidaridad:
pequeños momentos de apoyo para los que luchan para su libertad de
movimiento. Declaraciones de unidad para los que luchan en contra de la
Fortaleza Europa.

Mándanos un señal de apoyo cualquiera que te viene a la mente. Estaremos
presente in Idomeni con una impresora, un megáfono y una camera.
Imprimiremos cada mensaje, foto y poema. Vamos a reproducir cada palabra
de solidaridad y informaremos sobre lo que pasará.

Demostraremos que ninguna cerca, ni muro, ni presencia militare puede
cerrar la frontera. Estaremos presente para mostrar apoyo y solidaridad
con los que luchan. Si no en persona, en palabras, imagines o sonido.
Mándanos tu llamamiento de solidaridad a
O postéalo en nuestra pagina facebook:

Los muros solamente se caen si se escuche los gritos de los que les
hacen temblar!


Solidarité avec les manifestant.e.s et les grévistes de la faim à
Idomeni !

Nous sommes actuellement en train d’établir un point d’information pour
ceux qui sont refoulés à la frontière greco-macédonienne à Idomeni. Afin
de montrer à ceux qui manifestent que leurs appels sont entendus et leur
lutte est reconnue en Europe et à travers le monde, nous demandons aux
individus et aux groupes de nous envoyer des messages de solidarité :
ceux-ci constitueront des instances de soutien pour ceux qui luttent
pour leur liberté de mouvement, des déclarations d’unité pour ceux qui
combattent la Forteresse Européenne.

Quel que soit votre message de solidarité, envoyez-le-nous. Nous serons
présents à Idomeni avec une imprimante, un mégaphone et des appareils
photos. Nous imprimerons vos messages, vos photos et vos poèmes. Nous
diffuserons ces mots de solidarités et nous rendrons compte de la
situation sur place.

Prouvons que nulle barrière, mur ou présence militaire ne peut sceller
la frontière, où qu’elle soit. Soyons présents – physiquement ou en
parole, image et sons – aux côtés de ceux qui luttent et montrons-leur
notre soutien. Envoyez vos appels de solidarité à l’adresse
Ou postez-les sur cette page:

Les murs ne pourront tomber que lorsque ceux qui secouent leurs
fondements seront entendu.e.s.


Solidarietà con i manifestanti e con lo sciopero della fame a Idomeni!

Al momento stiamo allestendo un infopoint per le persone che vengono
respinte al confine Greco-Macedone di Idomeni.Per dimostrare alle
persone che manifestano e che fanno lo sciopero della fame che le loro
voci sono sentite e che le loro lotte sono riconosciute, in Europa ed in
tutto il mondo, chiediamo ad individuini ed a gruppi di mandare messaggi
di solidarietà: piccoli momenti di supporto per coloro che lottano per
la loro libertà di movimento. Dichiarazioni di unità con quelli che
combattono Fortezza Europa.

Mandateci qualsiasi segno di solidarietà vi venga in mente. Saremo
presenti ad Idomeni con una stampante, un megafono ed una macchina
fotografica. Stamperemo tutti i messaggi, le foto e le poesie ed
informeremo su quello che accade.

Dimostriamo che nessuna barriera, nessun muro e nessuna presenza
militare può chiudere le frontiere. Siamo presenti per dimostrare
supporto e solidarietà per quelli che lottano. E se non di persona
allora con le parole, le foto, i disegni ed i suoni. Madateci le vostre
chiamate di solidarietà a: oppure
postatele qui!

I muri cadono solo quando coloro che scuotono le loro fondamenta vengono

Solidarnost s prosvjednicima i štrajkača glađu u Idomeni!

Trenutno se uspostavlja Infopoint za ljude koji u pritvoru u
grčko-makedonske granice u Idomeni.

U cilju prikazati ljude koji su prosvjedovali da je njihova pozivi su
čuli i njihova borba priznaje se u Europi i diljem svijeta, mi tražimo
za pojedince i grupe za slanje poruka solidarnosti: male trenutke
podrške za one bore za svoju slobodu pokret.
Izjave o jedinstvu u onima koji se bore protiv tvrđave Europe.
Pošalji nam bilo znak podrške padne na pamet.

Mi ćemo biti prisutni u Idomeni s pisača, megafonom i kamera. Mi ćemo
ispisati sve izjave, fotografije i pjesme. Ponavljanje riječi
solidarnosti, izvijestit ćemo vratiti na ono što se događa.
Neka nam dokazati da nema ograde, nema zid i nema vojnu prisutnost može
zatvoriti granice. Budimo tamo pokazati podršku i solidarnost s onima u
borbi. Čak i ako ne fizički prisutna, nego ćemo prenijeti solidarnost
kroz riječi, slika i zvukova. Pošaljite nam svoj solidarnosti poziva, ili ga staviti ovdje u komentarima!

Zidovi padaju samo kad ti odmahivali temelji se čuje! »


EidomeneiPicture : Solidarity with Eidomenei


Faces of Europe – Horgos


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Following of Céline Barré’s chronicle on the road of the exiles in the Balkans.


Horgos. Hungarian border – September 18.

3000 people stranded at the border. A wall, barbed wire, Hungarian policemen and a European flag flying away. It’s hot and there is only one water point for 3000 people. People sit in front of the barbed wire barriers, the crowd chants We love Hungaria, we love hungarian police”, “we want to go to germany“, “we want freedom”.

Syrian children naively repeat “open the door, open the door.”

These people want only pass through Hungary, they do not want to stay there, just continue with their journey.

Tension rises. On the Hungarian side, they bring a water tank, a kind of karcher at very high pressure. The families hope to pass while they have their bags on the back and the kids in their arms. A group of 10 people gets excited and finally opens the first barrier. A cry of joy, hope, but lasts the time of a few seconds. Hungarian police charges, gas the crowd.

Near me, a family with a baby of six months is gassed. The baby suffocates, the mother panics. The crowd turns back and many children fall to the ground, are trampled. Police continue to gas.

The tear gas burns the eyes, throat, lungs. The gas pricks the skin, becomes embedded in clothing. It takes more than 10 minutes to restore normal breathing. Some vomit, cry a lot. Mothers yell their rage. Some young people decide to throw apples, stones at the security forces. Hungarians respond with their karchers. The pressure is such that for an hour, it’s chaos.

The rage, fatigue, injustice, it creates the rebellion and violence. Who does not revolt when good little soldiers gas children? On the Serbian side, police officers smoke cigarettes, laugh at the situation, passively watching people running, children crying …. what happens here, it‘s not their problem.

The tension goes down, young people gather again at the gate and back to their peace slogans. “We just want peace.” The boys are recovering slowly from the effects of gas but the fear is there.ak In front of them, barbed wire and hundreds of police.

A few minutes later, a rumor bre out, they opened the border. We hear the applause. The crowd reform and people return to the Hungarian side. The border seems open. Mothers take their children under the arms and go again on the way.

Thank you, good luck and see you in Francia” says one father. It seems to be a trap, but they move forward.

Then screams, again gas, water at high pressure. People turn around, gassed again. Children screaming, babies do not even have reactions. Police charges.

It was a joke.

People have been able to advance 30 meters in Hungary and the police charged, gassed, bludgeoned, sprayed. Journalist tearful comes back from “the front”; she made bludgeoned by the police. The air is unbreathable several meters. A mother screams her anger and powerlessness towards the police, her 8 year old daughter follows her, they are gassed again. It is also that Refugees Welcome“.

A camp settles a few meters from the border, bringing together 3,000 people. Others will arrive tomorrow. No water, no electricity, no toilets, no food. Nothing. We are in a Serbian meadow on the Hungarian border. Almost no humanitarian assistance and 3 UNHCR people lost.

A queue forms at the only water source. Fathers wash clothes of their children, remove the tear gas from their clothes otherwise they risk allergies, burns and respiratory problems.

Two trucks bring food, that is to say bread. No organization for distribution so that’s the rush. They throw bread to people as they throw the cattle food.

Welcome to Europe, this is our way of making you understand our level of consideration to you and your families. We gaze you then throw you bread.

Two empty buses arrive on the spot to deter refugees to stay here at the border. There is a refugee camp a few tens of kilometers. A nice inclosure just for you! You will have some food and a blanket in addition! Think to your children, do not stay there … and then anyway your journey is over, it stops there. You see, this is Serbia! And remember If you attempt any resistance … we will start to gas your kids again. So silently now, get on the bus and go to camp!


Faces of Europe – at the Serbian – Hungarian border


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Following of Céline Barré’s chronicle on the road of the exiles in the Balkans.


Border between Serbia and Hungary – September 16

« We don’t want you here, understand ? »

This is what we hear arriving in Subotica, a town at the Serbian-Hungarian border. We go out at the bus station to take a match for Horgos, last town before Hungary. An agent informs us that we can take the 3 pm bus but that refugees must wait for the 6 pm bus. What for ? Because the 3 pm bus  is reserved for our children and for Europeans. The refugees must wait. We go then to the desk to buy a ticket. The saleswoman tells us that the 3 pm bus is full, we have to wait that of 6 pm, we risk to say that we are not refugees: she apologizes, we can take the 3 pm bus. We will take the 6 pm, like everyone else. That of 3 pm left almost empty, only filled with Serbians and Europeans. The 6 pm bus takes more than 100 people including children and old people sitting on the ground.

We call a hotel for tonight: 1st question: “Are you Syrians? Refugees? “. “No, europeans. Why? “” Because Europeans, Yes. Refugees, no”. Should we impose yellow stars to better identify these refugees? This makes echo the history classes in high school, those that explained to us how we were able to reject categories of persons. Racism, xenophobia, segregation. These words are frightening, they are taboo but I have this agonizing feeling that they are valid. More in Europe we go up, the more pressure is felt.

“We do not want you here“; this sentence was pronounced by the officer from the station, towards someone asking where he could buy his bus ticket. Embarrassed, he is not angry, he’s just gone, silent. Witnessing this scene did not make me react either. No reaction. The disgust and passivity take precedence over anger.

The border between Serbia and Hungary closed yesterday evening. The last “luckies” were able to cross the border. To those with whom we were in the bus, the journey ends here, at Horgos. The bus stops us at the crossing of a railway. A sign: “Border 3 km. Border Will Be closed at midnight“. It was a warning message dated yesterday. Today is too late. Families do not know where to go. They still have to try. They will have to walk 3 km to reach the border. Closed. Barbed wire walls, security forces stationed on the other side. The course ends. A mother with her two sons asks me “Border closed? “. “Yes.” She collapses.

There are also these three little girls 3 years old triplets who play just outside the barbed wire fence, the grandmother who arrives in a wheelchair, this teenager who is missing a leg. More than a week of walking, fatigue, fear, violence, hunger to get here, to Horgos, a sort of no man’s land grid. No water, no food. They eat when the kids? They sleep where? Here, it seems to be the concern of no one. You can only have a feeling of shame towards this Europe without mercy. Some say they must go to Croatia which is several hundred kilometers far but the Serbians control, arrest and expel to Macedonia. Hungary has strengthened its police force, installed the army. Serbian newspapers speak of “100,000 clandestines stranded in the country including terrorists.” The anti-migrant propaganda is here and Europe offers it a beautiful field of emancipation.

Night falls and the triplets will sleep outside, and that in the largest European indifference. Serbian Minister urged the Hungarian government to reverse its decision of stopping the entrances and demand to let go “at least women and children.” Ah, finally some humanity! Fathers? Let them defend their country instead of wanting to protect their kids!

It reigns here a war atmosphere without understanding who the enemy is.


Faces of Europe – from Athens to Belgrade


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Following of Céline Barré’s chronicle on the road of the exiles in the Balkans.


From Athens to Belgrade – September 14


28 people including 11 children and four babies dead drowned at sea between Turkey and Greece last Sunday, September 13. A 14 year old teenager killed by a stray bullet after attempts by Greek coast guards to sink a ship. 3 missing children. How many more kids have to die in order we recognize that the borders kill? The maritime border makes a selection before letting people in Europe. The more adventurous will arrive, those who have the less damaged boat, those who will not face the Turkish and Greek coast guards and some of them who contribute to sink the boats.

Impossible? Lie? It is however what refugees are telling. A young Iraqi boxer testifies that the boat was carrying 43 people including him and his girlfriend. The Turkish coast guards are close to their boat and revolve around it. This created waves, waves filled the boat. The boat is sinking. The 43 people aboard panic, parents show their children to beg coast guard to stop their game but it does not work. Children in a boat sinking? Too common, we have already seen it too many times. The boat is sinking more and more so you have to bail out, throw the bags in water. They loose money, mobiles, blankets, pictures. Matter of survival. This boat will arrive safely, that is to say, fail on a beach in Lesbos. These testimonies, we can hear them every day, but until when will we be able to be helpless witnesses of this?

Crossings of land borders are not simple. We joined the Greek-Macedonian border in a taxi with the Syrian father and his son. They wanted to take a break in Athens for sleeping, washing and digest the experience of Lesbos, but no time, you have to hurry. Hungary is about to finish the construction of the wall, after that it will not be possible to go through that road. The taxi takes us to the countryside, near a disused railway station. On site, many hundreds of people must be divided into groups of 50 and sometimes wait several hours before they cross the border. This border is a 3 to 4 km moor they will have to cross as quickly as possible and under the control of the authorities of both countries. We were not allowed to follow Hussein and his father. For us, “not refugees,” we have to take the legal path, the one that starts with “Your passport please” and ends with Thank you and welcome to Macedonia.” It’s good to be European.

Before leaving, the father of Hussein asked the English translation of “hyper-tension”, “diabetes”, in case he weakens on the road.

We try to find Hussein in Macedonia but they decided to continue the road, taking a night bus to Serbia. They still have not slept since Lesbos.

At the border between Macedonia and Serbia, refugees must register with the authorities. They deliver a document authorizing them to remain in the country for 72 hours or risk expulsion or imprisonment. Arrived in Macedonia, we have not been allowed to take the same bus as refugees. These are buses specially dedicated for them. The price is more expensive for them. Bus companies and taxis feast on. We cross then Macedonia to join the border with Serbia. On the road, we learn that Macedonia plans to build a wall on the Greek border to “block the influx of refugees.” They will go where these people? Again, people are parked in the countryside and when the police allows them to pass, they must act quickly. Take your kids under your arm and walk as fast as possible!

We finally arrive to take a “commonbus to Belgrade. We pay the same fare “special Refugees“. In this bus, kids and pregnant women. Ana is 24 years old, accompanied by her father, her brother and her son Walid, 2 years old. Her husband is stuck in Turkey. Ana is 7 months pregnant, she hopes to arrive soon in Germany, she feels tired. When the bus stops in Belgrade, it is 11 p.m. and Walid feels cold. More than 500 people have laid in their tents in the park beside the station. As soon as we leave, touts offer taxis to 300 euros to get people at the border, located 1 hour drive. Good price … border will be closed tomorrow.” Some taxis bring people 100 km from the border telling people they are in Germany.

It is here in Belgrade that the rumor is confirmed, Hungary is currently completing the construction of its wall and announced that its border will be fully closed this Monday, September 14th late afternoon. Well, we are. We welcome a certain quota, we communicate on European generosity, then we close. And if they fail to pass before the end of the afternoon, we tell what to Ana and her two years kid? We apologize Ana … we warned, we only take a limited number of person … you’re pregnant? Your daughter will be a good Serbian or a good Macedonian.

Go Ana, forget your contractions, pays 300 euros taxi and tryi your chance, there is still a few hours for you to cross the Hungarian border!


Faces of Europe – Lesbos – Athens


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Following of Céline Barré’s chronicle on the road of the exiles in the Balkans.


Lesbos – Athens 22h – September 13

Faces relieved, soothed. These faces have left the island and the painful memory of crossing the “death sea”. This time they are in a boat, a real one, not the one that inflates, not the one who drowns us in a freezing sea, not that we pay 1200 euros to risk life in the name of freedom. This boat brings us to mainland Europe. Some had to wait more than 10 days to leave the island, waiting for their “permission” to leave the island. “The liberty paper” I‘m not quite sure.

Their faces seem so relieved that concerned. The face of women especially mothers. Those who will carry their children to move through 2000 km. Televisions on the boat show reports on the waves of migrants” blocked at the borders, violent police officers, the kids crying. The faces tense up, the journey is just beginning. I share this anxiety, I would warn them that this Europe hurts, this Europe is repressive, violent, merciless. I would tell them about Calais, these people who are herded into camps outside the cities, the police, the asylum procedure, which sometimes lasts for two years, the risk of expulsion, the detention centers, intimidations. I would tell them to be prepared, they need to remain on guard. But I do not dare. On the quay of the port, we meet a Syrian father of 59, he was a French teacher in Damascus, he lived 3 years in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1999. He said he had come with dignity, with a visa. He said he has nothing more to expect from life, he has already been taken everything from him, but he came with and for his son. He wants him to start again his studies, him to go to the University of Montpellier to become a pharmacist. He corrects me on my grammar, told me I could use the simple past more fluently. I keep quite and I rephrase my sentence, it amuses him. This father makes me think of my own, what he would do if we were at war? Is what he decides to cross the sea on an inflatable boat with 62 other people at risk that I drown? Would he decide for me to travel 2000 km on foot in order to register for university? This father is diabetic, he still has two months of injections, he feels weak, tired. He asks me if I’ve seen a tramp then he smiles at me and tell me that this tramp is in front of me. The tramp, that’s him. For me, I see only one father. Hussein, his teenage son, wants to go to France, his father decided otherwise, they will go to Sweden and when he is old enough to go to university, he will go to Montpellier, the most famous. They will go to Sweden because there, he can bring the rest of his children more quickly than if he would decide to settle in France. How could my father choose between his children? This idea anguish me, to separate with my brothers, my mother. How it comes to that? It’s simple. Fleeing his country is perhaps not the main difficulty, arriving in France or Germany is an obstacle course. I think back to the images of refugees who are applauded the station. These images comfort me as they create a real discomfort. These people who arrive in these stations have sometimes left their wives and kids at home because they had no choice. No visa. Leaving as soon as possible, to arrive as quickly as possible, get papers as soon as possible and bring the family as soon as possible. The Syrian father paid 2,400 euros to cross a sea of 10 km that separates Turkey from the Greek island of Lesbos, whereas if I want to go for a ride in Turkey, it’s an hour ride to only 10 euros. Me European, I pay 10 euros to Turkey while he will pay 2400 euros to come to Lesbos. He can actually be applauded in a railway station but he certainly has other concerns and would prefer to legally arrive at Charles De Gaulle Terminal 1 with all his family and on the most anonymous way possible. Borders and those who control them are decimating families.


Faces of Europe – Lesbos 3


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Following of Céline Barré’s chronicle on the road of the exiles in the Balkans.


Lesbos – September 9.

“I can see your passport?

Surprise for the first time this journey, it is a taxi driver who asks for my passport. He apologizes to ask us for this but “you understand the police forbade us to take refugees in our taxis otherwise you must pay a fine.” My English is rough, I ask him to repeat, hoping to have misunderstood.

«Europeans Yes, Refugees No ».

Ok then it is clear. In an attempt to justify himself, he said he is left side, it is unbearable to him they prohibit him to carry women and children, Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, the “non-European“. A few days earlier a mother handed him her baby, asking to get them in town. He could not, “police problem”. My European status makes me nauseous.

On the road, families walk on the opposit direction to regain the city, the port. To get out of here as soon as possible. Fathers, children try to stop taxis, showing their wallet and the famous “recording paper” document issued by the Greek authorities allowing them to travel but forbidding them to stay in Athens, Patras, Thessaloniki, Nikea and all other Greek cities. Freedom of movement? No. Here they are in “transfer”. Prohibition to stay, they are just passing through! We accept that they fail on Greek beaches, but they must be identified as soon as possible. And the road is long, do not hang out here!

We plunge in the countryside where there is a refugee camp called “Moria“. We are entering a area monitored by the Greek police. On site, large prefabricated surrounded by barbed wire fences. All around, tents, tarpaulins, shelters and some kids that make it even a more terrifying landscape. It reminds me of Calais, my nausea intensifies. The driver looks at me embarrassed: “Welcome to Europe”. The camp is almost empty; Yesterday thousands of people were recorded, sorted and transferred to Athens.

Sort is the term. Only the Syrian, some Iraqis, but Afghans wait. The Africans ? They only had to go through Lampedusa!

I understand then that sorting, selecting eligible to Europe individuals starts here, on this island. But how to tell the difference between an Afghan child, an Iraqi child and a Syrian child who nevertheless were on the same boat?

Abdel Aziz, Syrian boy met yesterday, future doctor footballer was born in the right place, had the good war, he will be a good refugee. His Afghan friend of the same age who fled Taliban terror, will wait here any longer, in this camp, under its barbed wire. After all The war in Afghanistan … it goes way back Welcome to Europe Afghan little man!

We meet the mayor of Mytilene on the spot: the driver introduces us as “French journalists,” I do not have time to rectify the mayor thanked us for being there, he waited for us a long time, we journalists . You have to show the situation, it is no longer tolerable.”

But what is not bearable anymore? The number of people penned up in these camps? The selection by nationality? The number of deaths at the border? The police prohibiting taxis to transport “Arab”, “undocumented” families? What is most unbearable?

These people are still in the beginnings of the European hassle; that created and imposed by our governments. Because we refuse him a visa, Abdel Aziz, 13 years arrives here by boat. From there he is under the “responsibility of the European states.” We park him, we sort him (Thank God he is Syrian), he is sent to the border with Macedonia and then to the Serbian border, Austrian, Hungarian.

Abdel Aziz, you’ll have to wait at the border before being transferred to Germany or France The heads of state being revising quotas; 24,000 here and 30,000 there. Syrians, one wants Syrians!

Abdel Aziz, you’re Syrian? What luck. Your Afghan friend? Your Iraqi friend? For them, we will see later. And before long we will no longer have the capacity to “manage” we will have exceeded the quota! Thou art mindful little guy? Europe makes you a favor… So‘re avoiding to bring your cousin in a few months There will be no more spots.

Europe will continue to create camps, such as Moria, that of Calais, secured by barbed wire walls. It‘s how we handle those unwanted. Today, a warm welcome from Angela Merkel and François Hollande, tomorrow strengthening border security and its justification by our good old saying that we can not welcome all the misery of the world.

Have you understood little guy? Then go!

Blog Céline 1

Faces of Europe – Lesbos 2


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Following of the chronicle from Celine Barre on refugees in the Balkans.


Lesbos – September 8

Europe’s good kisses …

The arrival is scheduled at 8:30 am at little morning. The more we move closer to the coast over us what I feared getting closer. Hundreds of tents along the quay, mothers, children, old men are stuck here on the island of Lesbos. They are blocked and waiting to let them pass and a ferry ticket. This ticket will allow them to reach Athens and mainland Europe. Some may have to wait more than 10 days to get that ticket, then this will take for me 2 minutes to buy it and leave the island; minor issue for me, a chance unaffortable for others.

The streets of Mytilene are crowded. It is over 35 degrees, the children exhausted, sleeping on the floor in the arms of their mothers, their fathers, silent, exhausted. Tourists, locals, shopkeepers, everyone seems overwhelmed by this situation, but the climate remains serene, welcoming. Syria, War is two countries far from here. Unlike Calais where ambient segregation prohibits refugees to enter in cafes, here people speak Greek, Arabic, Farsi, Persian, Pashto and French in bars.

Abdel Aziz 13 years old, he arrived two days ago in Lesvos by inflatable boat. Accompanied by his twin brother, his six month pregnant sister and his father, he addresses me by saying that his country is the most beautiful in the world! Damascus is the most beautiful capital, even Paris and the Champs Elysees, compared it’s worthless! He tries to soften his malice reminding me that it has very good football team nevertheless …

Abdel Aziz is the kid that we does not show in the media, smiling too much, too happy to match images of migrant masses of hundreds of people who invade Europe to the delight of extreme right speech.

Abdel Aziz knows that later he will be doctor (or football player) in his country, when the war is over. You think I could have dual nationality? Franco-Syrian? German-Syrian? His country (the most beautiful in the world) already miss him. He has left his mother too weak and cousins with whom he enjoys playing football. He asks me about France, on asylum, on fingerprints taken by force. It seems that the people there welcomed us in the stations applauding us, is it true? I do not know what to say, yes there is a generosity in Europe, an awareness that we must welcome. I too have seen the video, these kids applaud as they arrive. I’ve seen others also, these kids who are currently stranded at the borders between Greece and Macedonia between Serbia and Hungary. And these kids here, exhausted, dirty, weakened. Abdel Aziz seems to protect himself with his doctor dreams (or football player).

He sees a map of Europe in my bag, asks me to get it out. We localize Lesbos, Athens, Belgrade, Budapest, Berlin, Paris, Paris Saint Germain we pass by Olympique Marseille … He explains that he knows all the capitals of Europe, and all the football teams Europe … I do not doubt it.

He asks me the road, the way into Germany: how many kilometers? Over 2000 km man. His face hardened, older. He looks at his big sister six months pregnant who smiles sympathetically at him… No Mouchkila! No Problem! we are safe now …

I think back then to my journey to get here, to him. Four days of meetings during which I decide to take the bus or train or plane. I venture to hitchhike to finally opt for the train. I hesitate to take the plane to come to Lesbos but I take the boat trip which cost me 150 euros, for which I have not once shown my passport, my identity, because I have this pretty face, the one that goes everywhere, undocumented … The European face. The borders exist to Abdel, 13, they are almost non-existent for me. The trip of Abdel began more than a month ago, fleeing from Syria to Turkey, while healing the trauma of leaving his mother stayed behind him because the trip is too hard. No visa, no possibility to legally join Europe. Taking the plane ? Abdel, look… resigne yourself …  This luxury is reserved to Europeans …

Abdel, your trip will take about 2 to 3 months, you will have to cross many borders, you will have to pass under the barbed wire fences, in the rain, at night. Abdel, you’ll have to be discreet, you are not considered a refugee. At the moment you are in the “transit migrant” category … Patience …

You will have from the top of your 13 years old, exceed your fear of the police, batons, tear gas. You’ll probably have recourse to smugglers to mafias. You’ll like today in Lesbos, have to sleep outside on cardboard boxes at stations if they accept your presence, in squats, sheds.

Once in Germany or France, you will perhaps be lucky enough to meet caring people who will welcome you but if this is not the case, you will be “transferred” in reception centers, where other boys of your age are waiting to be considered “legal” in the territory. In France, this procedure can last up to 2 years. For this, your dad will have to justify your persecution. He will need to be convincing your dad, they’ll have to give the details. Yes daddy may have to justify the fact that your mother is stayed behind. Maybe he can mention that you applyed for a visa but your demand was denied. Europe prefers to welcome you after 3 to 4 months of obstacle course. European papers, they must be earned my little man!

Faces of Europe – Lesbos 1


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Involved in supporting exiles in Calais, Céline Barré went to their encounter on the Balkan route. She writes a chronical of what she observes. She allowed us to publish it. Picture of the face that Europe presents to those who try to seek a future on its soil.


Lesbos – September 8

Arrived in Lesvos, Greek island close to Turkey, where 16,000 refugees are currently blocked, waiting for a pass for Athens. Stuffy and unbearable sight of pregnant women, kids, and tired of livid elderly. Te word has passed: France will host 24,000 people, Germany over 30,000 … so on this island, stress rises; you must leave the island soon to be part of this quota. It is necessary that the family remained in Syria joins us as soon as possible to the part of the quota. These people are stucked here for now. When shown a map of Europe which has served us “travel”, fear and fatigue appear when they discover that they have to walk over 2400 km to Germany or 2917 km to join Paris. But hurry … you have to be part of the quota. A 13 years old kid asks me where I come from: “Lille ? Oh yes, football team is good there!” In the same sentence, he asked me how it works for papers, for fingerprints taken by force, “they take the fingerprints of children as well?”



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