Dozens, possibly hundreds, of migrants have been killed after a ship capsized on Wednesday in the Mediterranean. This was no natural disaster – rather, it was the deadly result of European states’ border regimes. Campaign supporter Pete Radcliff has sent us a short report from Kalamata, where survivors are being housed.
In Kalamata, the 102-104 surviving refugees from the shipwreck are housed in a warehouse awaiting to be moved to one of Greece’s refugee camps.
Contrary to BBC reports, there are a great mixture of refugees, many speaking Arabic.
I have been talking to many local people and some political activists. All in support of the refugees. All asking the same question: “how if the location of the boat was known and that it was in distress, could this happen?”
The former Prime Minister Tsipras was here this morning. The details of his response are still awaited.
There is a mixture of anger at the EU and UK leaving Greece in the lurch of taking the bulk of the growing flow of desperate refugees. But also a degree of apology for Greece’s response: “what can Greece do when the rest of Europe do nothing?”
After the recent election which the left (Syriza) lost, there is a low morale. But the anger with what happened over the past two days is huge.
There is a certain degree of cynicism about the incoming government’s response. About whether an enquiry will reveal what the Greek border police’s responsibility is.
The faith is not with politicians, but more with relief and sea rescue agencies. Several times I heard “we need human solidarity”, “solidarity between people”. They are right, but we can’t let politicians off the hook. We need a political campaign across Europe for free movement.
And that can’t be a campaign for passing the buck but of doing immediate relief and political action, as much as we can, everywhere. No refugee turned back or left to die. No leaving of Greece or any country to carry the weight. This horror must be stopped.
See also: this account from the Alarmphone initiative, which attempted to raise the alarm after passengers on the boat contacted them before the capsizing. Alarmphone explain how the Greek coastguard’s violent policies push people on the move in the Mediterranean to take more dangerous routes as they attempt to escape the brutality.