I was sitting in Thessaloniki staring at my shoes, trying to decide whether I would venture towards Istanbul to help out with the olive harvest on a permaculture farm or head towards the islands in response to a call for volunteers in the refugee camps. I swayed like a chicken on a fence on a windy day as I unconsciously wallowed in my privileged freedom of choice. It is curious to think back on it, given the perspective I have been granted by my experiences in Souda Camp.
22 of my longest days were spent in Souda. This is a fraction of the time, in both body and mind, that many others donate to the human crisis currently taking place (to them my greatest gratitude) and equals but a grain of sand in the Sahara compared to what the people living in the camps have experienced. Conditions are far from ok but still people demonstrate the resilience of hope and humanity. People do people things, they build community and support one another, they sing and dance and share knowledge and laugh. The community in Souda Camp is stronger than most of the communities I know at home.
The people in the camp also sit and wait in uncertainty, in boredom. They stand in line for food, in line for a sweater, in line for a tooth brush, in line for a golden ticket to Athens.
They fear for themselves, for their families and for their future, while the folks in power play checkers with their lives and the media distracts us from the reality of our human connectedness. Clickbait articles and unfortunately savvy political marketing tailored to weave fibers of fear into our ignorance create small armies of mindless hyper-right wing slugs with no where to direct their anger but at the chosen scapegoat.
We can’t hate all the slugs unfortunately, most are victims as well, casualties of a lack of critical thought. We can, however, spread awareness, question the unconscious assumptions of those who may not have slowed down long enough to see a bigger picture, and show solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than ourselves.
— Megan Egler