Seeking refuge

It’s in every newspaper, every news broadcast and every radio show in Greece in the past few weeks earlier and after the elections. I have toyed with the idea of writing about the refugees for the past few weeks but I’ve put it off. But I had to stay true to myself and follow my moto of branching out of my comfort zone. I had to write this.

Middle East is an area that’s suffered many wars and is still experiencing conflicts now as I’m writing these few words. Every minute of every day there are people fleeing from their countries in this region using all means of transport to get to Northern Europe, a more stable country or the Middle East or wherever they believe they can have a more prosperous future. Greece has received large numbers of refugees the past couple of years and especially within 2015, with the numbers breaking records weekly. The greek authorities are unable to handle the incessant flow of humans who are trying to pass through Greece on their way to central Europe. However, in this post I’m not willing to address the issue of the chronic ineffectiveness of the greek state but the way the Greeks see the refugees.

It is obvious that a lot of citizens are worried about ISIS and speculate whether muslim extremists are being part of the refugee flow. Many of them believe that the refugees should be escorted out of the country right away. This notion cannot justify investigations or groundless arrests of refugees. The existence of extremists within the Greek territory is, of course, very crucial. But taking for granted that some of those people are guilty when they’re not even been prosecuted violates their rights. No one should be treated this way. The importance of this infringement can be proven solely by the act of the legislator to found the right of the presumption of innocence. No matter what some may think, treating those people like they’re criminals won’t help at all. On the other hand, it might even make them act like it.

Thankfully the massive media coverage will probably help us realize how close we are to these wars and why we need to be active players in international relations. Welcoming those who have fled and getting to hear their stories can put things into perspective and induce our feelings of compassion. It is not easy to experience a war. We have reached an age when the middle-aged haven’t experienced a war. As a result, peace and democracy can be taken for granted. The tragedies and stories from Syria can contribute to developing gratitude for what we are already living and thinking about the improvement of our constitutional democracy.

Having heard some of these stories first hand has changed my perspective and my outlook on life. War isn’t something you can get used to. You can’t get used to the sound of bombarding in the neighborhoods every day . You can’t get used to losing your best friends to bombs. You can’t get used to feeling hungry or helpless. When you don’t see any light in the near future, it’s not a selfish decision to flee. I would lie if I denied that I would leave my country in case of a severe conflict. To me it’s not a choice, it’s a human instinct.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter.

See you next time,