Puhoiul continues to keep the media busy. The arrival of thousands and tens of thousands of immigrants is presented everywhere. Many lost their lives, all having the same goal, to reach Germany. Will there be only honey and milk? How did they all decide overnight to leave in an “unorganized” way with the same destination? Life is hard, it’s hard for us, it’s hard for them too, there’s a war in “their part of the world” but it’s been a long time… nothing has been accentuated lately.
It is strange that they do not take refuge, as would be logical in the neighboring countries, from the same faith and customs as them, but in Europe, 3500km away, in Christian countries. Only with backpacks on the back, with children in hand, they set off on the road.
A Facebook post by Adrian Grigoriu can give us something to think about.
The “refugees” from 2 days ago were cheerful, relaxed, and serene, they made jokes and sometimes laughed out loud in the group. When the groups noticed that I was photographing them, a few people, both men and women, hid their faces, but the others looked directly and without exception smiled and some raised their hands with two fingers as a sign of victory. The atmosphere was cheerful without the tension of any expectations, positive or negative, with the air that they knew exactly what was going to happen, they had the certainty of an immediate future without surprises.
Without exception, they were well dressed, some with company clothes with the insignia visible on the outside, well or even very well shod, mostly all the shoes looked like new, brand sports shoes or even elegant, some women had low heels.
The luggage, however, was the most shocking aspect, which unequivocally disqualifies them as refugees or what we understand as refugees: they all had no more than a rucksack/bag of medium size. But what was most curious, extremely curious, was what was actually missing: not one of them had taken any backup measure in case of the slightest necessity: they had no food, water, or special luggage for small children. They carried about as much as I did when I went to the park with the children. However, they were on a 3,500 km route from Syria or Iraq to Germany.
It was as if they had a different status on the ship, some inside on chairs and armchairs and others outside on the ship’s terraces, the temperature being comfortable, 28-32 degrees and clear. The journey lasted 3 and a half hours.
Very few declared themselves to be English speakers, the only language I know apart from Romanian. Finally, I approached a joyful group of young men making the victory sign. Only two stated that they speak English. A more solid one offered to answer questions.
Me: Where are you from?
Him: Iraq, Syria, Palestine, me from Iraq.
Me: Where are you going?
Me: Why Germany?
He: Germany has unofficially signaled that it is open to immigrants;
Me: Which route are you going?
He: From Syria or Iraq we pass to Turkey from where we are transported by buses with covered windows to the seashore. There we board boats of 50 people each that cross the sea to the Greek islands in about 4 hours. We take the ferry to Kavala. From Kavala we take the bus to Thessaloniki, then we will go to Skopije and from there to Germany (I didn’t ask him how they would go from Thessaloniki further, it was no longer necessary)
Me: If I go to Turkey at the border and don’t have a visa and try to cross, they arrest me. How did you enter Turkey?
EL: We have entry documents;
Me: So you entered Turkey legally as a tourist?
Me: And how did you get into Greece?
He: By boat.
Me: Without authorization?
Him: It is an agreement between the states to give us refugee status and then with that authorization, you can enter the other states along the way.
Me: Are there guides who organize these many people?
He does not.
Me: Really, hundreds of people, each on their own, leaving at the same time on the same route in the same direction?
Me: How come you are so casually dressed and above all, you have no supplies of food, or water, is someone getting in your way?
He does not. Look, I’m 27 years old, I’ve suffered years of hunger and thirst, I’m young and I can still make a sacrifice for 30 days while the journey lasts.
Me: How come so many of you are gone at once? I ask because I myself was a refugee from communist Romania 30 years ago and in my time, refugees left individually or as families, and only in case of war in more distant times, they left in large groups fleeing the front. In your case, the armed conflicts have been continuous for 4 years in Syria, for 24 years in Iraq, and for 70 years in Palestine, it is not something new that has taken you by surprise, the initial waves have long gone, what about you now, what happened?
He: Everything is destroyed here, we don’t have any future, I’m 27 years old and I’m an electronics engineer, but for 5 years I haven’t found any job in Iraq. In our country, 4 million Iraqis were killed in the first 3 years of the war.
Me: Where are you from in Iraq?
Him: From Iraq.
Me: (I pause in confusion. He spoke too good English not to have understood the question.)
Him: 5% of us are intelligent, the remaining 95% are idiots who shoot each other all day. There is nothing left to do, everything is finished, there are no houses, there is no water, there is no electricity, there are no services, the politicians are corrupt.
Me: I know that your country was destroyed in the first months after the American attack in 2003 and since then you have been expelled from the country. Here in Romania, it’s been the same for 25 years, 4 million Romanians were forced to leave for economic reasons. What do you know about the reasons why this happens?
He: Some politicians want to enrich themselves and the American dictatorship.
Me: Do you realize that while Iraqis, Syrians, and Palestinians are leaving their ancestral territories, you are being replaced by the Jewish population, as is also happening in Romania? Do they want to take your country like they do ours?
Him: (silence; with an immovable face he looks straight …. through me.)
Me: Can I take a picture with you?
Him: No, I don’t like being in photos.
Me: But is it possible with boys?
He: Yes, with them yes (photo attached)
(n.a. after taking the photo with the boys)
Me: Can I still take a picture with you?
He: (looks at the young people in the group who were somewhat surprised at my question and his reluctance, thinks a little, and decides) Fine, but only with me (attached picture).
Me: However, we cannot abandon our ancestral lands, there must be hope, something to keep you connected to your country.
He: There is nothing left to do, everything is finished, there is no hope left.
At the descent, all the hundreds of “refugees” behaved extremely disciplined, relaxed, serene, and calm, they gathered on the quays in groups of 10-20 people. In front of each group, a young man gestures. An organization in which the groups have a leader and a deputy is highlighted.
At a signal, groups, groups, start in the same direction, and a sprawling column is formed. A continuous alert and determined march of self-confident people started along the entire length of the quay and on the city promenade.
I followed them and arrived at the bus station in Kavala where they had made a big calm rush to the ticket counter and as they left the counter, they were lining up to get on the buses. Bus after bus came from somewhere behind the bus station on the street in front of the counters and without a trace of the rush they arranged their luggage at the bottom of the bus and boarded the bus in an orderly manner. The luggage hold was mostly empty. At our bus station, the luggage hold fills up before the bus does, and they just go from here to the country. When we leave the country, an additional trunk is attached to the bus, sometimes a trailer. Buses for them were prepared in sufficient quantity, they were clearly expecting the arrival of the “refugees” rush.
On one of the streets near the bus station, a group of 6-8 relaxed Greek policemen were watching the group near their parked motorcycles. Everyone knew what was happening, knew that there would be no surprises, no one was in a hurry, and the only shouts could be heard from those who appeared to be organizers.
So be it?
How can you go on such a journey with only a backpack? If you had money to go by boat (as seen in the pictures), didn’t you have other important things to take with you? How can you leave forever, with the whole family, with only a backpack on your back, taking only your pajamas with you? Is someone waiting for you with everything ready where you are going?
Why don’t Muslim immigrants go to the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain? Do you know why? Because I don’t get them. Saudi Arabia has canceled all work permits for Syrian workers since the beginning of the conflict in Syria. If their Muslim brothers with whom they share the same religion and the same values do not want them, why should we want them? After so many bombings in Europe, we welcomed them with open arms. And not a few bitter ones, but hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions at the rate they are coming. Seriously? Did we butt heads??
For those who know the legend of the Trojan Horse, don’t you think they are very similar?