Moria: the old face

Another time, i was hoping to come to Moria, I mean I was dreaming or trying to dream to come to Moria and see something different. The dreams were illusion I knew but I wanted to dream.
Life of mud, mud on the floors of the tents, mud in the whole situation, mud in the feeling and also mud in the eyes of the EU.
The EU is “excellent” in offering few “elegant” tents and several caravans look very nice from outside and crowded inside.

Upon entering the camp (this time normally not through the fence as the police was too busy), I saw few faces familiar from the last visit and so many few faces who I never met before but they look familiar when it comes to the state of despair the share with others. In this case, there are different nationalities but one despair.
A young man was waiting with dozens of others to see the doctor told us (me and my Greek lawyer friend) “Why they don’t treat us well? We escaped the Assad-ISIS and her were detained on this island in inhumane conditions”. He was asking like a child, may he wanted an answer but the answer was there, it’s clear: They do not want you here.
Walking into the camp, we saw dozens of refugees tried to bite the heavily structured fence where EASO (The European Asylum System Organisation) which process the applications. These people wanted to know what happened to them and many had their Residency Cards “Open” which means that they are allowed to leave the island only when they have their names on the list which is published everyday. Some of them had the Open Card for nearly 2 months and they are still waiting. Many waited for a week and they were allowed to travel. No one knows how the system works (if there is any).

I later passed by a summer tent, the same man I met in November was still sitting at the front of the tent smoking and looking upwards. “Amazing”, I left him in November exactly in the same position. This man has a heart problem and fled in October the siege of Assad-ISIS. He repeated the exact sentence “I fled the siege to this siege”. I had no words to answer. I only shared the situation and looked with him upwards. What an empty sky, I thought.


Few meters from his tent, we met an old Kurdish lady, in her 70s, with an 18-month-old boy. She did not speak Arabic so another Syrian Kurdish woman helped us. “This boy’s mother died and I bring him up”, the tata, grandmother, said. Is he OK? I asked. He needs milk and shoes and also nappies she said. She said that they are not receiving anything. I promised her to bring all of that tomorrow. She followed me and she asked me where I would disappear and forgot about what I promised her with. I reassured her. She saw me few times later and she kept reminding me.

The translator, the Kurdish woman, invited us to see her situation. She lost her husband in Aleppo and she traveled with her three young boys. Two of them were about to be called up to the Assad’s army so she wanted to leave and save them as she did not want to be part of this dirty war as she said. They all live in a summer camping tent where water run underneath and rain goes through the roof. The four of them are ill. Looking at her feet, she was putting plastic bags in her torn off boots and she looked so fragile. The disappointment is killing her. She suffers from several illnesses and she run out of medicine and of course money. Bought her medicines (enough for 4 months) and shoes for her and her three sons. Does that help? I am not sure. She just want to settle down somewhere. I asked her whether she did not know about what’s happening in Greece? She said no. “The smuggler told us that we will be kept in Greece for ten days and then move to Athens and then we chose the country we want”. She told me that they tried 3 times to cross to Turkey after her house was bombed and the Turkish hit them and one time they shot at them. Where can these people go!!!.

Two Afghanis (were in the videos I broadcast) told how much they are suffering. The same story, no food no milk for the little boy and no medical support. Entering their tent was shocking, the way they are living.

One of the sad stories seen today, a man with a six-year-old girl. She has a hernia and she needs an urgent operation. Hospital in Lesvos told him that the operation is urgent but it can only be done in Athens. He can not travel as he could not obtain the travel permission, even he has a “special case”. This is the most important word we heard today. A Special Case means someone has an urgent medical case or a bullet in their bodies etc. This speeds up their interviews or their travel to Athens but we discovered today that many people have Special Cases and the ones who decide are not interested in this anymore.

A man, obtained the permission to travel but they separated him from his son and gave him the permission to travel to Athens without his son and of course he refused to leave and everyday the EASO tells him “We will rejoin your son to the application”…This has been going for 26 days and he, everyday stands in front of the EASO “Fort” in despair.

Mahmoud, a young Syrian man who is living legally in Athens came to visit his family who has not seen them for 2 years and now they live in Moria. He stayed here with them for a week and on his way to Athens at the ferry, the police took his residency card and asked him to go back to the island. The police knew clearly that he is legally traveling. The police later denied that the car was with them and he is stranded in Moria after he lost his hospital appointment which he was waiting for three months. To solve this, he has to take a paper from EASO and then go to the police station to make a statement that he lost it. The EASO would not give him the necessary paper so he’s stuck. Thanks today to my friend Iphie, a Greek lawyer who is traveling with me, she went to EASO and obtained the paper and then we took him to the police station. He has to stay in Moria for TWO months to obtain a replacement to be able to go back to Athens. Iphie will try to see if there is a solution. While talking to him, his mother came and told me “I am terribly stressed and afraid about my son’s situation”. We are hoping a miracle might happen and he does not to wait for two months. He told that staying here already retriggered bad memories.

A breakthrough, we were able today to entre the underage “Unaccompanied minors” boys’ centre and we interviewed a 14-year-old boy who fled the ISIS in Sukhna, Homs, controlled area and stuck here in Moria. Even the facilities inside this Safe Zone section is much better than the rest of Moria, still the situation is very bad. Some young boys live in terrible tents because “there is not more space”. The boy told about his journey from Homs to Turkey to Greece. You feel how much he grew. He has a bullet in his belly (He was not fighting). We saw also another boy from Homs, he has a bullet gone through his chin and three in his body. He also told us how the fighting destroyed their lives. They both, and others, do not go to schools or receive any education. They told us that their dream is to be allowed to go to the mainland. Imagine a dream for 14 -year-old boys.
While talking to them, four people were laying more barbed wire on the roof of the Safe Zone.

Tomorrow, I will be taking lots of baby and children milk and nappies and also warm clothes of course in addition to the medicines requested by many people . Big request from the families we met.

The best quote of the day, a young man was telling us about recently seeing Mr. Paracetamol (the nickname of the doctor who describes Paracetamol for any problem). The doctor asked me to drink two bottles of water everyday…”We are given one bottle only”.

Many other cases we met, many of them single mothers who lost their husbands during the war criminal Assad’s bombardment.

|Terrible wind in Mytiline NOW. Thinking of these people who are sleeping tonight in tents.

The usual positive end of this update, we saw in the evening around 100 people taken to the ferry to go to Athens. The were carrying everything thing they could carry. They were so happy and overhearing them, they were expressing their joy of survival and taking selfies. We later and met them before boarding the ferry at 8pm. It was a special end to see few are happy. Why the rest could not do that.

Ghias Aljundi