IDYLL HELL ON EARTH
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The Greek island idyll of Lesbos has transformed into a monstrous migrant prison where living conditions, hunger, disease, and crime are said to be worse than those experienced in concentration camps managed by the Allies in Britain, the U.S. and Europe following World War II.
A report in SPUTNIK describes the horrific microcosm that symbolises overrun Europe today: “Migrants held in Moria migrant camp are facing bleak living conditions, disease, the threat of violence including sexual depravities, and bureaucratic red tape.”
Arriving at the reception centre at the Moria migrant camp (Lesbos), one is faced with a dismal picture: hundreds of makeshift tents, trash bins and piles of garbage extending into a large expanse of olive groves beyond the boundaries of the camp. Thousands are struck here as an overwhelmed Athens struggles to cope amid dwindling assistance from Brussels.
The flow of migrants to Greece from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East continues, with Lesbos facing in miniature issues which affect the rest of Europe. Statistics reflect the seriousness of the problem:
Moria camp deputy director Stavros Stavridis says he had only about 100 employees to care for these people. “Out of 100 personnel, only 25-28 are permanent employees, the rest are hired under contract,” he complained.
“After room at the camp ran out, migrants spread out into tent camps in the adjoining olive groves. In the shade of its trees, hundreds of tents have been set up, with the area divided into zones so that families with children do not have to live adjacent to unmarried men. Despite these measures, the groves are a source of many problems.”
Economic immigrants now face the onset of winter, when temperatures on Lesbos can reach lows approaching 0° Celsius.
Since 2013, 29,296 migrants made asylum requests on Lesbos, 11,325 of these in 2018. Meanwhile, of a total of 178,485 asylum requests made throughout the country in this time, 50,091 remain pending, with the Greek Asylum Service overwhelmed by the workload.
States in Central Europe, particularly Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland, have resisted the migrant quotas idea, or rejected it entirely, taking in either no migrants at all or a symbolic few dozens.
Lesbos Mayor, Spyros Galinos says, “Greece cannot be abandoned, and Lesbos cannot be left alone. An island in the Aegean Sea, a dot on the map, cannot deal with a global humanitarian crisis. Unfortunately, Brussels appears to be deliberately shifting responsibility to Lesbos.”
The explosive refugee crisis in the eastern Aegean Islands has trashed the local economy. Net profit from tourism dropped by 880 million euros in 2016, with the migrant crisis issue worsening Greece’s perception as a tourist destination and forcing local entrepreneurs to drop prices to try to stay afloat.
Michalis Michalakelis, the owner of a local store, says, “The damage is huge. For example, if between 2013 and 2014 we accepted 117 cruise ships, this time only one cruise ship came, from Cyprus, and even then only for a religious pilgrimage. You can see the kind of damage done to our city and our shops,” she said.
Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas said that its problems, and those of Greece, are part of a broader European problem. “I am not satisfied with what is happening in Europe.”
Lesbos’s story is the story of Europe’s attempt to shift the burden of the global refugee crisis on Greece, with the Aegean Islands, serving as the gateway between the Middle East and Europe, becoming victims of their own geography.
MICHAEL WALSH is an internationally acclaimed journalist, author, poet and broadcaster shunned by liberal-left corporate media. Michael Walsh, author of the massively popular book EUROPE ARISE.
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